Humira Is For...

I’m a bit nervous about jumping the gun and jinxing the whole thing, but on the other hand, your comments and support during the time I was in hell was one of the things that helped me get through it and I’m itching to make it official (because when I say it, it will be true and permanent - at least for a while, right?). So in this conflicted mood, I present a progress report of sorts.

H is for Heeding your instincts. I tried it their way and then one day, I woke up, said “fuck that” (not words to that effect, but exactly that and out loud) and informed my doctor I’d be doing it my way, scheduling the Humira shots on the schedule my body asked for. And it worked. I feel Healthier, the arthritis has largely Hied its Hiney off into Hiding and life is getting better and better. H is also for Humour, as in getting your sense of… back. Funny things have started to happen to me again – who knew that a Hallmark of Health would be that your life becomes a comedy routine?

U is for Upper respiratory tract nonsense. Like Enbrel, one of the major side effects is an Unbelievable Upping of production in that region, especially in the days immediately following the shot, accompanied by other flu-like symptoms, fatigue etc. But after spending a few days Upping the quantity of vitamin C, it pays off in another week or more of feeling just fine. U is also for gradually becoming quick on the Uptake again. In the past week, I’ve even engaged in witty repartee!

M is for muscle spasms. Remember those? The muscle clenches? Yeah, them. They’re gone. One of the side effects of Humira is described as “warmth” and it's the strangest thing. About 30 minutes after my first shot, a rush of warmth moved through my body and it's essentially stayed around since, increasing my core temperature, if you will. Which is fabulous. One of the best ways of dealing with fibromyalgia is to stay warm and being warm from the inside has relaxed muscles that haven't been relaxed in two years. Sure, things are More sore and crampy in those couple of days after the shot, but then it simmers down, leaving only tension from doing things. Which admittedly can get a bit intense at times, but is easier to deal with when it's not tension on top of a spasm on top of a clench with a cramp thrown in for good measure. There are days where I hardly take any painkillers at all (relatively speaking, naturally). M is for getting my Mind back - after months of feeling like my brain moved with the speed of Molasses in January (pre-global warming, that is), it's started to feel nimble again, which doesn't start with an M, but is the only word for it. And best of all, in the last couple of weeks, I've started to feel like Myself again.

I is for Itch. As Enbrel lost ground, the rashes faded, but once Humira really started kicking arse, they came back. The good thing is that so far, they're limited to a few places which means that I don't feel as compelled to walk down the street ringing a bell, chanting 'unclean... unclean...' like a medieval leper (it's not Infectious, it just looks very rash-y) and although they are Incredibly, Irritatingly and Insanely Itchy, it's manageable and a small price to pay. I is also for Increase in energy. A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned a little and I didn't stop at one thing. Unless you mean one pile! And the trend has continued, to the point where last week was Inundated with Intensity - I was busier that I've been since sometime last year and although I hit the wall in terms of exhaustion towards the end of the week - which required spending the last several days Inactively drooling with a book or movie - I can feel it. Every day I go another tiny step down the path towards more energy, more laughter, more life.

R is for Ravenous. Like Enbrel, Humira installs a Ravenous beast in my stomach and for those days after the shot, I eat everything that isn’t nailed down. Don’t get to keep much of it, as any and all edibles seem consumed in a lightning flash upon entry into my stomach, but after that, it gets better. The rest of the time, I eat like normal person instead of a teenaged boy (although still more than I have in like, ever) and best of all, I’m allowed to keep some, even gaining some weight to the point where my skin isn’t loose anymore. Which is a nice break – it’s incredible frustrating to look anorexic when you’re continuously eating.

A is for Asthma, which has calmed down. It’s still there, still Aggravated by the shot, but nothing like the past two years. It’s for Allergies – Enbrel made me allergic to everything, limiting my diet severely and with very few exceptions, I didn’t eat fruits or vegetables when I was on it. Now, I am. I’m taking my time re-introducing it as my body requests (nay, demands) – I’ve been scarfing down cucumbers and grapes so far and am planning to try cherries this week. It’s very exciting. The crazy improvements this past week or so, that last push over into Awesome, was Assisted by a steroid shot (no, I haven’t turned into a Romanian gymnast, they help with the tension and cracking) – seems that Humira would like just a little help to really go nuts. And finally, A for Amazing.

And then there’s G. For Grateful. And H, for very, very Happy.

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