greater than 250

20 Jan

Before I begin, I want to genuinely thank each person who found themselves reading my first blog entitled, “The Challenge”.  Your support drives me to continue to keep a positive attitude, because at times it’s hard to not feel discouraged after a “flare up”. (Basically a flare up is when you experience an enormous amount of extra pain, excess swelling and fatigue-they are absolutely no fun and can last for days, weeks, or months).  If I can find a topic I’m passionate about, I do not have a single problem typing about it for long periods of time.  I will try my best to update my blog a few times each week as I continue the fight with RA and appreciate your comments, prayers, and encouragement!  Also, I decided to add another category, as some of you may have noticed called, “The Adventures of Braden Bradley”.  The love I immediately gained after meeting my nephew over 18 months ago continues to grow, and it will be fun for me to share with you the moments that I treasure with him.  Lastly, if any of you ever have a question about RA, my experience with RA, or any other questions regarding my medications that I take- which will be explained further in this post, please don’t hesitate to comment!  THANK YOU!

So…to bring everyone up to speed from these past few days, on Thursday at 3:30 I had my second appointment with my Rheumatologist(rheumy). Thursday I experienced minimal/tolerable pain, which is a huge blessing in itself.  As many of you can relate, just because your appt. is scheduled for a certain time doesn’t mean you actually “get in” at that time.  Dr.’s offices are like a waiting line at Cedar Point.  Though the anticipation behind standing in line for an exhilarating roller coaster doesn’t add up to the “excitement”(NOT) one experiences during the waiting process at the Dr.’s office, you’d be surprised to see the similarities.  For example, when waiting in line at Cedar Point for let’s say…Millennium Force, you unintentionally observe the people in front and behind you and take note of people’s clothing, weird laughs, or sweaty armpits.  Let’s hope there aren’t any sweaty armpits in the Dr.’s office… but I found myself observing the people around me-everyone does it.  Another example is the false hope you feel, like when the line for MF moves yet you look ahead and realize your wait is still over an hour long, similar to when the door opens at the Dr.’s office and you think your name is going to be called when in reality it won’t be.  So, as I was waiting, there were three loud yet very entertaining people.  If my guess is correct, it was a grandma, her daughter and her granddaughter.  The grandmother had a walker and from what I could tell, was probably in her late 70’s-early 80’s.  The grandmother was filling out her paperwork which asks generic questions such as: do you have trouble getting out of bed, can you bend down easily, can you lift an object over five pounds, etc.  After listening to her answer the questions as her daughter read them aloud, I learned that she deals with many pains.  I couldn’t help but wonder if this is what my future looks like.  A small amount of discouragement was creeping into my mood when out of the blue her granddaughter, who appeared to be in her late twenties jokingly said, “Grandma, maybe we could use your arthritis as an advantage…like maybe we could get front row seats to a “Lady Gaga” concert.”  Her grandmother to my surprise replied with, “Yeah, good idea, and I could even send her a telegram explaining to her all the troubles I experienced just getting to her concert.  And you know what, I could be her grandma too.”  Then her granddaughter replied with, “You know, that means you will have to wear crazy outfits!”  The grandmother replied, “Okay, I don’t mind!”  My discouraged mood seemed to have left me after I heard their conversation because I can only hope to have half the spunk that grandma has.

Finally my name was called and after getting my weight, blood pressure, and heart rate checked, I proceeded to wait for a while until my Dr. greeted me.  He right away said it doesn’t look good, you definitely have RA.  You see, in order to determine that I have RA, the blood work they took last appt. shows how many “antibodies” I have in my system that determine my level of inflammation.  The test only goes up to 250, and my tests came back >250. He then explained to me the medications I must be put on.  The first, plaquenil, a treatment more commonly used for treating malaria infections, is also a good medication for sufferers of lupus or RA.  Plaquenil has the capability of reducing swelling and pain.  Some side effects include: nausea, loss of appetite, dizziness.  The second is called Methotrexate.  Used in much higher dosages, it can actually be used to treat cancer patients.  Methotrexate’s purpose is to interfere with cell growth ultimately suppressing the immune system.  Side effects: nausea, vomiting, dizziness. I must take four pills at the same time, once a week.  Lastly, I must take folic acid every day because of the effects of my other medication.  If I fail to take it, I could have damage done to my eyes.  Folic acid has very little side effects and is a B-vitamin that is needed to form healthy red blood cells.  I was supposed to be prescribed prednisone, a steroid, but my Dr. never called in the order, which I’m glad cause there are numerous amounts of side effects that come along with it.  Bottom line, unless things change, I will be taking these for the rest of my life.  At twenty, I’m not fond of being put on medication but I keep telling myself, it can only help.

Friday I had minimal pain.  I picked up the prescriptions and kept praying that they would be inexpensive.  Prayers were answered, I paid less than $20, thanks to insurance.  I will begin treatment Saturday, after I read the large amount of paperwork that came along with my meds.  I am very thankful for a wonderful pharmacist-Kent Zellner.  He explained each medication to me and seemed genuinely interested in my well-being.  I suppose other than minimal pain, my only complaint is the fatigue that I am plagued with on a daily basis.  It’s the kind of fatigue where your eyes are heavy, your body feels weak, and you feel like you could sleep for days.  Thankfully I do not have sleeping issues at this time, I normally can fall asleep within minutes.

As I close this blog this Saturday afternoon, I ask that you please continue to pray for my brother Brad.  Ever since Monday, he’s been admitted at the Cleveland Clinic and we are going to visit him today.  He is a Lupus warrior, but unfortunately he’s now dealing with anxiety and anxiousness as he’s been there longer than he’d like.  His heart rate speeds up when he does simple activities, like getting up to use the bathroom, or walking around.  He will have a heart test done in a few days because they found a small “vegetation”/spot on his heart.  We are hoping antibiotics can clear that up.  He needs our support, and we are more than happy to comfort him in any possible way.

Until next time, keep smiling.

Philippians 4:13

“For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” (NLT)


Posted by on January 20, 2012 in My battle with RA


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8 responses to “greater than 250

  1. Linda Cantley

    January 21, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    God Bless you Becca. Praises to God for the medicine that will help you in this adventure. Also that the cost of it is low. So many times the medicine we need is out of our reach because of costs. So praises for that.
    Did the Dr. say if the weather would also effect any of your problems? With my knees I have really had a rough time of it since the weather has again changed. Lots of swelling and pain. I go back to my Dr. on Feb 1st with lots of questions.
    We are keeping Brad in prayers along with you. All of my love to the both of you. Keep us posted. I know it will be hard, but try to get Brad to know he is where he needs to be to get the strength he needs to be able to come back home and live a productive life. Don’t fight it, go with it for better results.
    My love & prayers.
    Linda Cantley

    • beccadistel

      January 21, 2012 at 10:02 PM

      Linda, you are always a constant support to me and I appreciate that so much! Yes, indeed, He is supplying my needs one at a time. The Dr. said nothing about diet or weather, go figure…I do agree with you though. In another blog, probably my next one, I will be discussing my weather correlation and my pains. We recently got home from Cleveland, and Brad is doing okay. He looks somewhat better but his heart rate is concerning the Dr.’s. After we left, I guess his lips and knee started to swell, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Thanks for the prayers! Love ya!

  2. collegegirlcooking

    January 22, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Hey Becca. I actually did a post on my experience with antidepressants. I don’t like being on medication, but I need them. I found that out really quickly when I tried to stop taking them, without even consulting my doctor (bad idea!!!). Anyways, I know the side effects can be daunting, but chances are, you will do just fine on the medication or the side effects will only be short term. Also, if the side effects or price of medication ever bother you, discuss it with your doctor. Usually you can get a generic for a LOT cheaper unless of course the medication is really new and there is no generic available. Good luck 🙂

    • beccadistel

      January 22, 2012 at 11:26 PM

      Jamie, I will have to check that out! Oh, I bet that was probably a scary point in your life when you stopped taking them because I’m sure your body wasn’t very happy with that decision! Luckily, one of my medications is generic, so the cost stayed low. Thank you, I appreciate it! You too, keep loving your body & treating it wonderfully-you deserve it!

  3. mkrawr

    January 23, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Hi Becca,
    Sorry to hear your results weren’t better. You’ll get used to the medications and hopefully the benefits will out weigh any side effects by far! Good they aren’t going to cost you too much $$ too.
    Also sorry to read about your brother, hope he is doing better…my thoughts go out to both of you, and your family.

    • beccadistel

      January 23, 2012 at 11:05 PM

      Hi, it’s alright, I’ve accepted them as is. I am very glad that the meds. aren’t crazy expensive, it’s a huge help. Thank you, it is absolutely upsetting and quite frankly I have no idea what is happening with him. I miss him and just wish this was all just a bad dream, where I can wake up from it.

  4. Whiasco

    February 2, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    I related so much to your blog posts! Will definitely be a blog I’ll check up on. 4 metho’s a week and a folic acid a day seems insane! I’m on 2 metho and 1 folic acid a week. I was taking prednisone for about 5 weeks, it’s horrible purely for the amount of weight I gained, my skin broke out and I got headaches daily (the nurse said this was normal but slightly scared me). I’ve just been put on Plaquenil (or Hydroxychloroquine sulphate) as i wrote about in a blog.

    Your blog is awesome! You said a lot of stuff I wanted to say in mine but didn’t know how to word. Feels like we’re going through this together in a weird way haha!

    Look forward to seeing more posts 🙂 Stay strong and feel free to message me if you ever need to chat to someone in the same place as you

    • beccadistel

      February 2, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      Ah, thank you so much! Wow, yeah, I almost was put on prednisone and for some odd reason it was never called in at my pharmacy. Clearly I am glad for that because I too was fearful of the numerous amount of side effects, such as weight gain and headaches. I’m so sorry that you had to go through all of that! Have you had any side effects from folic acid or plaquenil? Just last night I noticed a small rash on my cheek that itches a little, and I fear it is from the meds. I am taking. I agree, whenever I stumble upon an RA warrior I feel like we have a connection automatically. Thanks for the encouragement, I look forward to your blogs as well! Keep fighting, stay positive & strong! Thanks, I appreciate that kind offer, same to you!


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