Hold Up A Minute…Where Am I? An RA Story

Have you ever been on the trail and gotten turned around? Have you read a map wrong and gone way off from where you intended? Boy, I have. I enjoy hiking, when my body cooperates. My map reading skills are not as good as I think – especially as I get older. When Greg and I went hiking with his son Corey last summer, I was the map reader although I was not the leader of the pack.

Greg led after glancing at the map and understanding the terrain, elevation, and direction the map laid out. (see photo) I followed with the map in my hand forcing my brain to understand what I was seeing on the trail compared to the facets of the map. I got confused. “Hold up,” I said, “Let me get my bearings.” They patiently stopped for a while along a ridge and waited for me to get my head straight.

Slowly, I traced my finger along the path and looked at the elevation and distance to see where we were standing along the trail. We were not even close to where I thought we were on the map. I asked Greg to help me see our exact location – he looked over my shoulder and pointed to where we stood. I saw it instantly – on the ridge, facing northeast, headed back to Kings Gap Mansion where we parked. How could I not see that? It was so clear.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a piece about starting injections for treating my Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is a big adjustment. My doctor laid out the plan at our last appointment – go to injections for both Humira and Methotrexate, stop the Xeljanz.  I let her know I was unsure if Xeljanz was even doing anything and was good with the plan.

After I posted my blog about the changes, I broke down. I cried over the path I was on. I looked at Greg and said, “I feel terrible, I don’t like this. I am scared of Humira and all its side effects. Are we doing the right thing? I shouldn’t have this much anxiety over it.” He said, “I don’t know what to tell you, but you do need to reach out to your doctor.”

Put the parking brake on! Time to take assessment of this medical path!! I messaged my doctor about the anxiety, what was happening to my body and asked for a new direction.

“I think we skipped a step,” I said in my message, “Let’s take a few steps back and NOT do the Humira injections. I feel like we need to give Xeljanz another chance and still do the Methotrexate shots.”

She agreed, and reminded me I was the one who thought the OTHER medication was not working well.  So the path now – weekly Methotrexate injections and take the Xeljanz pills twice a day. Good thing too! My latest labs results showed the “bad” liver levels doubled while on Humira.

Am I on the right path once more? Pretty sure it’s a yes, but there is an ever changing landscape out there – research, nutrition and medical studies to help care for chronically ill bodies. Just this week, a report was published on the positive effects of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and autoimmune disease – yeah!

This is a journey – in need of a map and someone to help me navigate it when the map doesn’t make sense. My prayer from two weeks ago was answered – changes have been made and I pray God will continue to guide me. He is the ultimate navigator with great people willing to show me where I am on the map.

When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
Psalms 94:19 NLT

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