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Rheumatoid Arthritis Today
Lately I have been having a slow slide into the pit of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Today when I woke up I felt the full force. Here is the story.
I started a Routine treatment for RA on November 26 using Rituxan, a drug that suppresses the autoimmune system, of the body. Ten days after the first treatment, there was to be a second. Before I could have a second, I developed a small case of shingles. Since each RA treatment kills almost all the cells that provide general immunity from infection, it was determined I could not have the routine second treatment for fear of a larger outbreak of Shingles or some other mischievous little infection.
So let’s take a bit of a diversion. Shingles are a normal secondary infection caused by Chickenpox. If you had Chickenpox you are susceptible to shingles. I had chickenpox three times so I am betting I had three times the change. Well what I have learned is that anytime your immune system is challenged shingles can surface. Since the RA treatment suppresses ones immune system shingles thought this was a great time to show up. I mean let’s face it is the holidays, maybe I bought or would buy the shingles a gift? If not it is cold out and what the heck when you are talking about upsetting some stuff, the middle of the cold season is second only to the middle of a hot summer streak. I suppose if you are Shingles you have to pick your places. At any rate when the shingles showed up I could not have the second part of the RA treatment.
Which brings me back to RA treatments; I had to delay the second of two RA treatments from December 10 until December 26. Well a funny thing happened on the way to get the second RA treatment. It seemed shingles likes the homey environment, so I had a very small second outbreak. Well heck, even a small outbreak is a harbinger of things to come, if one further suppresses the immune system. So the doctor and I (mostly the doctor) decided I needed to put off the second treatment yet again. My new date is January 10 or two more days until I get it done. (yeah!!)
Well in the mean time I wake up feeling like a truck hit me. (if you see a truck with the letters RA painted on the side give me a call, I am looking for it this morning) It is not surprising that the RA would hit me. In fact I have been pretty fortunate that I made it this far without a good old fashion body slam. But this this morning, well this morning I woke up a little late, mind you I seldom sleep all night, and I felt awful. Even though I slept all night I am exhausted. I hurt all over and to top it off I am working on a little cold.
The good part is that the shingles are pretty much gone; I am down to scabs and some incessant itching.
The truth is this flare of RA was expected, you cannot put off the second treatment and expect otherwise. But darn I feel rough. It is time to pull the covers over my head and hope in a few hours I feel like joining society. One more day and I get the second Rituxan infusion. Oh and if you want to see what else Rituxan can do you can look at the web site for side effects. It seems like suppressing the autoimmune system to suppress its urge to cause RA, gives it a special reason to cause mischief elsewhere.
I have sometimes been compared to a little boy. Today the little boy that is RA is acting up. I think the RA could use a time out. On Friday the RA gets a good whipping the Rituxan will do that, today, it is giving me one. I guess fair is fair. On second thought I prefer to just give it a whipping on Friday. But I guess I do not get that choice.