It has been over a year since I entered the world of full-blown Rheumatoid Arthritis. There were signs earlier, but it was December 30th, 2009, when I sought help because of the intense pain and swelling in my hands and feet. Last year at this time I was still enjoying the benefits of a hefty steroid shot and would be begging for one every other month if I knew the docs would allow it. But steroids are not the solution and the side affects too great.
Last spring I started Methotrexate but was taken off after my blood tests showed my liver wasn't happy. Humira was the answer, one injection every other week. It worked from July to September and I felt good. I thought maybe, just maybe, I was getting close to remission. But the pain returned, the swelling came back and the NSAIDs were not controlling the pain. Also, I decided to find a new doctor. My old doctor was ok, she listened sometimes, but she seemed more interested in just my physical reports and would dismiss my concerns and questions more often than not.
Last month I visited the new doc and she seems wonderful. She spent a lot of time with me and even ordered x-rays of my hands and feet. My other doc never x-rayed anything. I'm thinking that if my hands and feet have arthritic joints then an x-ray would be a no-brainer.
She took me off Humira, and the NSAID I was on. She prescribed Celelbrex and Cymzia, after labs she added vitamin D because I'm low.
So, two weeks later I've yet to start the Cymzia because, of course, it is incredibly expensive and you just don't go to Walmart pharmacy and get you script filled. I am getting a free 12 week supply that has to be delivered and signed for. I have a "case manager" who is supposed to be calling me soon to see if the Cymzia can be delivered to my doc and then my husband can pick it up. If not then I will have to take a day off to receive the delivery.
I have seven doses left of Humira. The value of those seven shots is about $4000. Because I received co-pay assistance from the manufacturer, I paid just $5 for for each shipment of six doses. I will be donating those doses to my doctor's clinic. They give them to people who do not have insurance. Yay! I hope they help someone.
So I am waiting to see if Cymzia will change my life. I hope so. In the meantime everyday is pain and stiffness. My mornings are tough. I feel the disease invading joints that were pain free a year ago. I wonder where I will be with this disease in five years? But I don't entertain that thought for long. I have things to do!