Sunday, February 3, 2013
Happy Feet, Sort Of
This is not a post about my new Clarks sort of tennis shoes but aren't those cool? They were a bit tight at the strap line when I bought them at the beginning of the month but they have loosened up with more wear. I feel reasonably secure walking across snowy ground when I wear these. That is a huge plus.
This is a post about my doctor's visit. "You're in the best shape since July, really," Dr. Francis said. "You did have a flare but as long as we keep those under control, you're doing well and I don't see a reason to have you take Orencia right now.
It must be said that this caught me completely off guard. I am stiff in the morning. It takes 15-30 minutes to get going. Standing up is not something I do quickly. My knees hurt. I'd rather just sit with my legs elevated. I know that's not good from a health point of view, but my attempts at moving more get me nowhere. Pilchard loves my lap on weekend afternoons and after work. I love the no stress on the knees.
"Your knees are having trouble with osteoarthritis, not rheumatoid arthritis. I'm going to have physical therapy give you a call. They will help you with exercises to get you moving again. Once the strength is built up in your knees, it will help you feel better in your hips when you get out of bed."
Oh. It's osteoarthritis. That's what dad had in his knees. I have to give PT a call on Monday and get that process going. Orencia won't help osteoarthritis. I already knew that.
I've had some problems in my left thumb joint when I'm crocheting. It doesn't hurt when I cross-stitch, only when I crochet. I looked at my hands. How lost I would feel if I lost the ability to be crafty. This pain in the joint where the thumb met the hand had me worried.
"That's not rheumatoid, either. It's osteo. You'll have to see how much you can stand. Warmth will help get more blood flowing to that joint. If it only hurts when you do crochet for awhile, see if you can modify how you hold things. If it lingers for over an hour after you're done, take an aspirin. Aspirin was used to treat both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis for years."
Well, that doesn't merit Orencia either. I'd received a welcome packet and a welcome letter from Bristol-Myers that said I was enrolled in the Orencia program. Dr. Francis had not received a "yes she is" letter however, so she didn't know if insurance had agreed to pay for it.
My blood work looked good, except for low vitamin D levels, which I have rectified. It slowly dawned on me. I really was better than in December when I saw her last. I just can't see it because my knees are giving me so much trouble.
What does this mean, ultimately? Orencia, when or if insurance sends the "yes" letter, is going to be put on hold. I don't need it right now. "Orencia will suppress your immune system. Right now, you don't really need that. You're doing fine, really, you are." I do have moderate rheumatoid arthritis. I do need to watch and learn what triggers a flare up and I need to let her know, within 24 hours, when I'm having problems. I have to go for PT and I have to see my regular doctor for a regular check up. She wants to make sure nothing else is askew thanks to the disease.
I walked to the car. My knees hurt. It was cold and the cold seemed to heighten the pain. "I want to use the least invasive treatments possible," Dr. Francis said. "That's physical therapy for your knees, to help you get more active."
I can agree with that. Less invasive. I don't know that I'll be waltzing any time soon, but I can get behind this.
Beverage: Darjeeling tea