I had my second (spa) appointment with my new rheumatologist this past week. Happily, since it wasn't the first visit, it didn't involve as many tests or x-rays, just a normal visit with all the folks on my team. If not for the physical exam by my rheumatologist, it might have felt more like a coffee date with friends.
For the most part, I've been continuing to do well. I've been burning the candle at both ends work-wise, so it's no surprise I've been beyond tired. I think I would be tired even if I didn't have RA, so it's a little hard to tell how much of it is my schedule vs. my immune system. Probably, the RA just bumps up the exhaustion factor a few (or many) notches. Nothing has been too swollen, and most of the pain that I have is fleeting- it doesn't stick around and kill my soul anymore.
I did mention that my left knee had been bothering me some and that was new, but again, the pain was sporadic and didn't seem to be settling in and taking over like it used to do, so I wasn't feeling worried about it.
All in all, considering what I have and where I've been, I'm doing pretty bloody fantastic- something I've been thinking about more and more. I don't feel like I did before RA- I do still have flashes of pain, sometimes sharp, and occasionally, there is swelling or stiffness. Fatigue continues to be the most persistent of all my symptoms, but generally, I feel my RA most now when I hold a position too long or do something repetitively. My joints begin to take on that rusted out feeling, but if I move positions, it generally subsides.
Some people might even say I'm lucky, and in some ways, I am. My meds are working. Obviously, if I were really lucky, I wouldn't have a stupid chronic disease and wouldn't need meds to work, but considering that I do, it's hard to feel like I can complain these days, especially knowing how much worse it was and could be.
Nonetheless, when I got up onto the table for my exam, my left knee, the one that has been bothering me a little, had some fluid on it, a sure sign of inflammation. So, we are adding sulfasalazine to the mix of hydroxychloriquine, and eternacept I already take. Maybe I'll call this new cocktail the 'Eternazinequine.' Good thing I don't have a problem swallowing pills since this ups it to ten a day.
A year ago, I would have been incredibly bummed out and upset about this news. Having to add yet another medicine and two more pills a day to my routine would have made me feel angry, annoyed and scared and probably sent me into pity party mode, at least for a little while. Instead, I haven't really thought too much about it and don't feel freaked out about taking yet another weirdo medicine, I mean, what's one more at this point? I don't know if this reaction is because I am feeling so much better these days or if I am simply at a place where I am more acclimated to my new normal, or a combination of the two. Either way, it seems like a positive thing that I don't feel freaked out, whatever the reason, so I'm not going to overanalyze it.
Knowing that I have some fluid on my knee makes me feel a little uneasy- after all, for all my good 'luck,' feeling good is never something to take for granted. It could all change very quickly for the worse BUT I am not going to dwell on that. I'm going to take my meds and enjoy feeling (mostly) good while I am.
Now, it's time to go observe the cocktail hour.