I have been on the methotrexate for 6 weeks now and have not noticed that it has helped much more then the prednisone alone did. I so miss the days when I could go to bed and sleep without waking repeatedly to adjust my knees. I am not as fatigued at work these last couple of weeks but the muscle aches and knee pain is still there. On my last Rheumy visit my blood pressure was slightly high. I am thinking now that my headaches are from blood pressure. The rheumy increased my methotrexate dose this week from 15 mg to 17.5mg. I had a horrible headache all day after taking my meds. Wish I had a blood pressure monitor at home to test my theory. I will take meds again this week and see what happens. If it happens again I guess I will have to call the doc. Seems sometimes like it is always something.View Thread
My question is how are you suppose to know the difference? I have only been diagnosed with RA for 2 mo. but started experiencing mild knee pain that progressed into barely being able to walk upon waking in less then a years time. My rheumy doesn't think that my knee pain is from the RA but from osteoarthritis instead. I know that my knees never hurt so bad until last spring and they got worse over the following year resulting in swelling of my entire lower legs. Now that I am on Pred and MTX I have significantly less pain in my knees and they really only hurt when I first stand from sitting at my desk for a long period or when climbing stairs. I have no idea how I am suppose to know the source of my pain. This week I have had a lot of back pain. As I look back over previous years I have had back pain like this from time to time. How am I to know if it is RA related or just pain from being out of shape, bad posture, or doing a little extra yard work the last few weeks? How do I know if the fatigue I am feeling is from RA, methatrexate, or because I work overnight. It seems like lately 3 - 4 hrs is my limit before I have trouble keeping my eyes open at work. Dozing off in front of the 4 cameras pointed on my work station is not good for my job. I really think it is the MTX but how do you really ever know? I take my MTX on Wednesday morning and feel like I could sleep through Friday (and have at least once). My arms, neck, shoulders, and back ache nearly every night at work but it is not actually joint pain just muscle ache. I have been having mild to moderate headaches and don't know if it is my neck, sinus, or MTX side effect. I am lucky that none of my pain is severe at this time but it does make for a terribly uncomfortable night at work. I worry that I won't be taken seriously if I point out every little thing but then again aren't we suppose to tell our Rheumys about our pain? What is the magic formula? Does anyone else struggle with these same questions? I could use some advise. HELP PLEASE!! SView Thread
Jaclee08, I am very sorry that you are so depressed but I understand. I have been told numerous times "well at least you know what it is and it can be treated". While I know that in a sense that is right it is hard for others to understand that even if we are able to manage our pains our lives have been changed forever. There will always be medications with possible side effects, blood test, and Rheumatologist visits. There will always be the anticipation of pain returning. RA is not something you can treat for a week or two and forget about. I am hopeful that I will be able to find a reasonable amount of relief and return to many of my previous activities but I also realize that my life will never be quite the same.
I also hate to ask for help or letting others see me hurt. That is another lesson that I have had to learn over the last few months. I can not completely blame others when they don't understand my situation because I try so hard to hide the pain. I am lucky enough to work alone in an office so I can take the extra time to stand from my chair or take those first few oh so painful steps without anyone seeing. How could they possibly know?
All that said, I just want to let you know that this is a wonderful site to share your concerns, questions, or just vent when you need to be heard. I find that telling someone else how you really feel (whether it is in person or just posting my thoughts here) helps me when I am really down. The contributers to this community do understand what you are going through. Hang in there. I strongly believe there will be better days to come!
Just wanted to share a thought that is turning over and over in my mind tonight. I am still new to RA and I have many many things yet to learn but my first lesson blows my mind. Before I was diagnosed and even long before my pain started I knew that RA was not like "regular" arthritis but I had no idea just how different it was. Even with my limited knowledge I still thought that RA effected older people and that it took years to effect mobility. Tonight my mind it stuck on how my physical abilities have changed in such a short time. I look at a picture of myself less then one year ago, legs crossed on the floor, baby niece on one knee and toddler nephew on the other. I distinctly remember being able to hold my niece on one shoulder while lifting myself from my position on the floor. Only days ago while holding my 8 mo old niece (different niece) in my recliner I was struck with the reality that I had to put her on the floor simply to lift myself out of the chair. I could not support her and myself at the same time. It is quite sobering to realize just how quickly RA hits and the hold it has on your body. Today just the thought of sitting on the floor is painful and sitting cross legged is out of the question. It is moments like this that I can understand how hard it is for friends and family to understand what I am going through. If it is hard for me to accept how quickly I have changed how can they possibly understand. While I want them to instantly understand when I say "I can't" I realize I have to be patient with them as well.
Does anyone else have a eye opening moment to share? I would love to hear them.View Thread
DoubleD43, I am also very much concerned about liver complications. My father had Crohn's disease and suffered liver failure after many years of treatment with other medications. I chose, however, to start the methotrexate anyway. I know that my doctors will continue to monitor my liver function and will stop at any sign of problem. To me the choice between constant pain and worsening RA vs. quarterly blood test was a simple one. I realize that each person has their own views on this powerful drug and is entitled to their own opinions. It is disconcerting to know that we are faced with so many treatments that can potentially be worse then the RA.
So far I have only been on methotrexate for 2 weeks, starting with 3 pills, then 4 and from this Wednesday I will take 5. I take it on my first of two days off just in case. I have not had any noticable side effects with my first two doses and hope that I do not on 5 pills. I do take 1 mg of Folic acid everyday as well as 10 mg of prednisone, calcium and vit D. The prednisone is actually far more scary to me then the methotrexate. I was told that once I was on methotrex I could start tapering off my prednisone but have yet to be successful at that.
I have not experienced any hyper activity, however, I did feel so much better the week following my first dose that I got far more done then I had in a very long time. I was told that it could take up to six weeks for the methotrex to make any difference so I don't know if it was all just coincidence or if it was real. I did not feel the same way after the second dose.
I wish you luck and hope that these symptoms subside for you soon. SView Thread
I am so glad that we can be of help to you. Yes, I agree, the fatique it horrible. I work overnight so I often wonder if it is made worse by that fact or if I would be just as drained on any other shift. I also find that my attitude it directly related to my fatigue level. Unfortunately tonight I have no energy. Some days I feel like I could sleep forever and if it weren't for having to be at work I suspect I would still be in bed. I know from experience that when I can get up and use the treadmill before work I feel much better but some days it is all I can do to eat before work. If I make it through tonight without falling asleep at my desk (lol) I do need to make myself go for a short walk in the morning. Excercise of any type really does help with fatigue if you can manage to get started. Believe me I know how hard that is. Good luck with your CT scan and I am also hopeful that you are able to find some relief soon! SView Thread
Happyspirit73, I love your quote. It is so fitting for this community.
Pattimead, I am happy to help where I can.
I try to be a positive person although I must admit that some days are easier then others. It is not easy finding a balance between not letting RA control our lives and learning to ask for help when we need it. I have always found it hard to ask for help but I am learning that there are some things that I simply can not do as I use to and that is okay. It does not mean that I am any less of a person.
As I type this I am listening to Martina McBride's "I'm gonna love you through it". I realize the song is about cancer but I find myself praying for a person in my life to give me the same support. RA is so invisible to those around us they don't see our need for support. That is what makes me so happy to have this community to share my thoughts. I know that everyone on here will understand where I am coming from.
Although RA is a part of me that I take to my future I refuse to let it be my future.
I leave you tonight with a couple of my favorite words : HOPE and BELIEVE
Patti, as every visit to the Rheumy is still a new experience for me as well I only have limited advise to offer. My first visit consisted of a series of joint test, meaning he squeezed each of my joints and asked me to tell him when it hurt. He also ran a series of blood test to help confirm my diagnosis as well as knee x-rays. Unlike most of you I never saw my primary before my first visit with the rheumy so you may have already had many of these test. On my first visit he simply gave me a rx for Prednisone and sent me home to wait for test results. On my second visit he tested a handful of joints again, confirmed my diagnosis, and gave me a rx for methotrexate and folic acid. I took my first dose of 3 pills last week. I take 4 pills this week and then will be taking 5 pills each week after that. So far I have not experienced any side effects that I know of. I was extremely tired the day after the first dose, however, I also spent that week moving out of my upstairs apartment so don't know which caused the fatigue. The move alone I believe has greatly helped with the knee pain. I will be returning to the rheumy in 6 wks to assess the methotrexate progress and have been told that they will be doing test about every 3 months to test my liver function as methotrexate can effect liver function. YAY!
My greatest advise is to read all you can about RA and the treatment. WebMD is a great resourse. I swear that my rheumy was quoting half of the articles I have read on this site as he explained treatment and possible side effects. LOL. Most importantly don't be afraid to ask questions!!
I completely understand about not wanting to go to work each night. I have managed to make it since last June and only called in once due to extreme all over body pain but that is not to say I haven't wanted to a hundred other times. My pain is primarily in my knees but also have days when my shoulders and neck simply ache. It is not a terrible pain but more annoying then anything as it will not go away.
Right around the same time that I started experiencing my first joint stiffness and swelling I also started noticing that my sense of taste and smell was out of wack. As it was June I didn't give it too much thought at first. I chalked it up to summer allergies and expected it to go away in a few days. Here I am over six months later and there are still many things that just don't smell or taste right to me. Some of my favorite foods are no longer desirable to me. Strawberries have been a lifelong favorite of mine and now I shy away because I know they just don't taste good anymore. I have mentioned it to the first doctor I saw reguarding my knee pain. He checked my nose thoat and ears and said everything looked good. I also mentioned it at my first Rheumy appt and that was the end of that discussion. I go back to the Rheumy on Thursday and plan to bring it up again as it has greatly effected my ability to enjoy my meals (probably not the worse thing for me but.....). I just find it odd that this all started around the same time. I have not had any problems with dry mouth or eyes, however, I always seem to have a crust in my nose instead of it running. (Yuck, but if you can't share that info here where can you share it). Nothing seems to help it. I have also started getting short lived sinus headaches. It is like a sharp pain around my nose and eyes that only last a few minutes. I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced these same problems and what helped?View Thread