Wednesday, June 14, 2017

And Upgrade to Life

At my November doctor's appointment, I discussed everything with my "new" doctor. I'd seen her once before and she came across as very understanding and empathetic. I was, and still am, very impressed with her. In that November visit, we went over all my meds and all my lifestyle choices. One thing I brought up was alcohol.

Since March of 2012, this has been wine.

I like sparkling grape juice so I didn't feel I was missing out on much. Alcohol and medications go through the liver and alcohol can cause problems with the liver and methotrexate. So, depending upon how much methotrexate you take, doctors will tell you not to drink so your liver just processes the drug, and not the alcohol. There could be liver damage. I decided, when diagnosed, that my health was more important than alcohol so it was not an issue to remove this from my life. I even created a "Poor Man's Mimosa".

I don't know why I haven't ever noticed these individual orange juice bottles before. I love orange juice but can't always consume a whole carton before it get, shall we say, "ripe".

But, since the middle of last year, I'd been reading a great deal of information on how alcohol in moderation is good for those with RA. It should be noted I'd seen studies conducted in Europe, but not much in the US. One of the RA sites I frequent commented on the older studies of the general population which detail how a glass of red wine at least 3 times a week, was beneficial to one's health. There was no mention of conflicts with methotrexate. So, can I or can't I? Dr. Francis said I shouldn't be drinking, period, in spite of what studies may be saying. Okay /shrug. I can live without alcohol. There are some cool mugs out there which liven up my non-alcoholic ways. Witness the mug my friend, Pam, gave me for my birthday.

(Yes, this celebration was at Steak 'n Shake.)

Still, there was enough "noise", if you will, over the alcohol issue that I raised the point with Dr. Gierut. What did she think of all of this? She said there are three schools of thought. One, the European school, feels one alcoholic drink, per day, is okay for people on any RA meds. European studies have not shown a correlation between moderate alcohol consumption with methotrexate, and liver damage. Many US doctors feel the studies are very flawed and no one taking methotrexate should drink alcohol. And there there are doctors, like her, who fall in the middle. If I limit myself to three drinks per week, she feels that's a good middle-of-the-road answer.

I did not, dear reader, rush out and toast this news of being able to break my abstinence, with a beer or 3. Nor have I rushed to Binny's Beverage Depot and purchased a shopping cart full of beverages. My first beer since 2012 was at the company Christmas party last December.

It was a vanilla porter. I've always said I like beers I can chew. I did go to Binny's to get beverages with which to ring in the New Year.

Oh Belhaven, how I have missed you. And you now have a stout? Yes, please. And I got a beverage with which to lace my hot cocoa.

In the years since I quit alcohol, Godiva discontinued their white chocolate flavor. No matter. This will be fine. I've consumed "so much" that I have one shot glass left in the bottle before I have to replace it. I'll drink hot cocoa at any time of year. When I'm feeling a lot of stress, it's a good relaxant. But, yeah. It's taken 6 months to finish the bottle off. I'm not in any danger of overconsumption.

Currently, there is a regional stout in the fridge. I bought it in, um, March, maybe? I wasn't a big drinker before the ban and I'm not going to be a big drinker now that I can. Three glasses of alcohol a week seems like a lot more than I was drinking before, even averaging an evening out where two or three might be consumed, with weeks of nothing.

Still, I see this as a victory of sorts. I'm doing well enough that I can, with great moderation, toast my friends or relatives with alcohol. The upcoming Disney trip features brunch with "all you can drink" mimosas. I love mimosas, which was why I replicated, somewhat, the taste. "All I can drink" might be a couple, but at least I can have a real one.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


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