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Posts Tagged ‘Arthritis Medications’

How has RA made you realize What is Important ??

April 11, 2011 1 comment

I was reading a post in one of my favorite online chat rooms and notice the question of the day was “How has RA made you realize what is Important” and I thought to myself, WOW that is something to think about. So many times in my life I have found myself thinking about the limitations Arthritis has placed on my life, so it is refreshing to focus on the positive aspect of RA.

In my life I have had to make many adjustments to accommodate my illness, from my career choices (reduced hours, less stressful position, time off of work) to how I do my laundry (I use a butter knife to open the dryer door). But in making these adjustments, I have discovered wonderful things about life and myself. I now practice Yoga and Meditation, which has brought a new level of peace and calmness in my life, while providing some much needed stretching for my sore joints. The time I have spent in my practice has allowed me time to focus on the positive aspects of my life and listen to my heart, which has become inner teacher.

Physically, I have had to gain a confidence in a way I never thought would be required of myself.  My surgeries have left me with scars that are a tell sign of my condition. At first, I was ashamed of my scars and never wanted them to show. I even selected my clothes around which items hid my scars. But after much reflection, I have learned to accept these scars as a part of me and accept them as things that do not define me. Now I wear what I want, without any thought if someone will see my scars, because what is on the outside is not as important as what is within me. The medications I take for RA have harsh side effects that have caused extreme swings in my weight, resulting in a transformation that have brought me in and out of my comfort zone. To the point where people have ridiculed me and made me feel very self-conscious. But I noticed that my true friends, who were aware of my illness, loved me regardless of my size and never took a harsh position. Not to say they did not show concern, but they never made me uncomfortable. They always showed their support and love, which helped teach me about the importance of real friendship and love. As a result, I make a concerted effort to nourish and support my friendships, which is something I was not the best at doing in the past.

Overall RA has made me realize that Peace, Health, Happiness, Love for Myself and True Friendships are important to me in my life. These things are staples that I must have to ensure a joyful life and I don’t think I would have learned these things this early in my life if it were not for RA.

How has your illness made you realize What is Important?

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Initial Diagnosis..What You Should Know..

I came across some information from the Mayo Clinic on how to prepare for your initial doctors appointment and what to expect. Hopefully it will help prepare those of you who are in the early stages of being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. When I was initially diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I had no clue what it meant. I was basically told it was an auto immune disease that causes my body to attack itself, primarily my joint tissue. With that information, I thought, OK, so now I understand why I am in pain. But I really didn’t understand all the other symptoms I was having and how they related to me being diagnosed with RA.  Without understanding there was a connection between certain things I was experiencing and RA, during my first few visits I only focused on discussing a few symptoms primarily focusing on pain. Why, because that is what I understood RA to about, PAIN. Now, years later after much research and discussions with my doctor, I understand a RA diagnosis is more than experiencing pain. I should have also been discussing pain management, fatigue, anxiety, appetite, exercise and various other issues. Hopefully this information will help to provide you with a more informed office visit.

Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic staff

While you might first discuss your symptoms with your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions — for further evaluation.

What you can do
Write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms, including when they started and if anything makes them better or worse
  • Information about medical problems you’ve had in the past
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

What to expect from your doctor
During the physical exam, your doctor will check your joints for swelling, redness and warmth. He or she will also check your reflexes and muscle strength.

In addition to the physical exam, your doctor might order imaging and laboratory tests to help determine the cause of your signs and symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages because its early signs and symptoms mimic those of many other diseases. And no one test or physical finding confirms the diagnosis.

Blood tests
People with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate), which indicates the presence of an inflammatory process in the body. Other common blood tests look for rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies.

X-rays
Your doctor may recommend X-rays to help track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in your joints over time.

www.mayoclinic.com

Fatigue You Can’t Hold me down..Oatmeal You are No Help..lol

March 25, 2011 2 comments

The other day I mentioned to a friend I was exhausted and was headed home early to turn in. My friend replied that I should eat Oatmeal for breakfast, as she had started eating Oatmeal and it has been giving her energy for the day, SMH!! Now, If the Quaker Oatmeal man can cure the fatigue of RA, I would have bought stock in Quaker years ago. But Oatmeal doesn’t do squat for fatigue. So I came across this article which was shared by a participant of  an online support group and decided I must share as Fatigue is one of the underline issues of RA that many people tend not to acknowledge.  However, on those days when you either just can’t get out of the bed, or you just can’t wait to get home to get in bed, you are reminded that Fatigue is part of RA. And contrary to popular belief, feeling tired and fatigue are DIFFERENT.

Mastering the Impact of Fatigue in Rheumatoid Arthritis

http://www.hss.edu/conditions_mastering-impact-fatigue-ra.asp

Hey Doc..You work for me…So join my team..

I had a chance to read an article “Five Reasons Why People Don’t Ask Their Doctors Questions” and they are the following:

  1. Fear
  2. The Doctor Knows Best
  3. Not Wanting to interrupt
  4. Not being asked by their doctor if they have any questions
  5. Patients feel rushed

Now I think these are all key reasons as to why people don’t ask their doctors questions. I have experienced all of these reasons, I was intimidated by my doctor for reason number 2 and 5.  Initially I did all the listening and didn’t ask questions, however, I would have a ton of questions later on in the day, but by then it didn’t matter because the doctor wasn’t there. Duh! I received advice to write down my questions and I followed through on that advice, except for the part of actually asking the questions (Reason#3). So again, useless…lol.

For me I had to do a paradigm shift to ensure my questions would get asked. The way I became successful at asking questions was to look at my doctor as someone who works for me and was on my team. When I changed my point of view, I didn’t care if he was in a hurry or if I thought the questions were a bit stupid. I had to remember that I am paying this person for a service, and just like the person I pay for any other service, I expect the service to be completed to my satisfaction, and the same goes for my doctor. When I began to look at my doctor as a member of my team it took the intimidation factor out of the equation and I started to ask all my questions. Now, I don’t care if he has one foot out the door, I am STILL TALKING until I am satisfied… I am paying for a service and I expect the best.. and so should YOU!

Do you have any tips you use to help ensure you get the most out of your doctor visits??

Medicine Payment Assistance Options..

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

As many of you may know I am an advocate for those struggling to afford medication. Why? Because unfortunately, medications that really help you live your life as great as possible with Rheumatoid Arthritis can be very expensive. So I have been spending some much needed time researching insurance benefits coverage plan booklets. Now a new thing the insurance companies utilize are formulary tiers for medications. Of course, majority of the RA medicines such as Remincade, Celebrex and Humira are on the higher tiers, which means they have the highest out of pocket co-payments. However, I have discovered there is hope in regards to securing better pricing options. Depending on your situation , you may be able to request a “Tiering Exception”. If the medication is medically necessary and alternatives do not work or cause damaging side effects, your doctor can make a written request to lower the medication to a more affordable tier.

Now, I do not know of the success rate, but if your medication co-payments are draining your bank account, I think this is something that is definitely worth investigating.

Also, You may want to check out the following link for other options and resources for financial assistance.

www.medicareinteractive.org