2016 RA Blog Week – Day Three

Afternoon to all you out there on the interwebs. Hope your day is treating you right. Today is a high pain day for me which is why I’m late writing my post for the day. I had to wait for the brain fog to clear a bit.

Today’s topic is biologics. For those of you that don’t know biologics are a special class of medications made from genetically-engineered proteins derived from human genes. They’re used in Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment to help suppress our over active immune systems. They can help halt the progressive joint damage done by our own rampaging bodies. They carry a long list of scary side effects but for lots of patients, they’re nothing short of magical.

I’m one of those people.

I started on Enbrel roughly 10 years ago. I had failed all the other meds that were the last steps before a biologic. Or rather they’d failed me. Methotrexate (a chemotherapy medication) made me lose entire days to the overwhelming side effects. Sulfasalazine made my liver freak out. I’d taken Prednisone off and on for so long that it wasn’t really effective anymore. There were more meds, but those were the big three that really tipped the scale for me.

My doctor let me pick the next step when those meds all proved to be wrong for my RA. I got to choose between Enbrel or Humira. My doc sent me home with literature and a follow up appointment for a few weeks later. And I did what I recommend everyone else do with possible new meds – I researched the hell out of them. I spoke to nurses and doctors about them (thankfully, I once worked in medicine so I have a great network of folks). I went to friends in support groups. I read everything I could about those two medications. I wrote pro-con lists. I prayed about it. I made sure that when that follow up appointment came I was ready.

Choosing Enbrel was the right thing for me. I don’t regret it one bit. I haven’t had any troubles on it, not once in 10 years. The only thing that isn’t fun is that it suppresses all of your immune system. Not just the part that attacks your joints. So I get sick at the drop of a hate. And stay sick way longer than other folks. I can’t give blood. I have to stop my meds for any surgeries or major illnesses. I don’t regret it at all though. Right now I’m on it and one other medication. That’s it. No other prescriptions. I take a few supplements to further support my body and control the RA, but over all, this is the least amount of medication I’ve been on since I was diagnosed way back when I was a kid.

Like I said, for some folks, biologics are magical. I’m deeply thankful that they are for me.

~Elise

PS. I have a book coming out! (Yay!) Restoration Road will be released in October. If you want to know more about it, click here. And keep watching my blog for more information on when and where you can get your own copy.