I’m relishing three days off from the bustle of the office. I will say that it appears I have made some progress on my RA flare this week. Monday was such a terrible morning that I called the rheumy at 9:06am and was told that he could see me at 10:45. I hurried up a client meeting and headed to the office. The doc took one look at me, my hands and knees and I felt his empathy. He knows I don’t complain so he knew that I was having a tough time.
We both agreed that the Enbrel has stopped being effective. Eight years is a long time to have a successful experience with Enbrel so it was time to move on. Which answered my question from writing last weekend – when do you know it’s time to switch. He suggested I try Xeljanz, by Pfizer. It’s a pill that you take twice a day and he has had some patients that have had some success with it. He gave me a 30 day supply and said if it worked, we can figure out the health insurance and get it prescribed. The health insurers will pay for it only if you’ve been on a few biologics that have stopped working. Enbrel was my third (I’ve been doing this since 2001).
He told me to start Thursday which is my usual Enbrel day, but I cheated and started Monday night. Tuesday I felt worse than I’d felt Monday, but I persevered, even going to the gym.
Wednesday when I woke up, the painful stiffness I’d been experiencing in my fingers wasn’t there and my knees felt better. Thursday was even better, and my boss saw me walking around commented how well I was moving. I walked the dog that evening when I got home. First time I’ve done that in at least a month.
I have read online that it works quickly. However some patients get inital relief from it and then it loses it’s effectiveness quickly. It also is one of those medications that has the long list of side effects. It suppresses the immune system, so I will have to continue my diligence with illness. But for today, I think that I can get outside and do some yard work and the rest of the long labor day weekend will be spent clearing the kitchen cabinets to prepare for the renovation that starts in a few weeks. Oh Joy!
My takeaways from this week are that I am fortunate to have a doctor that can see me on the same day. I was so happy that within a 2 hour time frame, he could see me. I’m also happy that there are alternatives. As he said, 8 years ago there were only about 3 products to choose from. I’ve used all three, so fortunately there are newer alternatives on the market. I’m also fortunate to have gotten almost 8 years of remission with Enbrel. And I put my fitbit on this morning for the first time in months. Onward and upward – enjoy the weekend folks.