Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pregnancy and RA

When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis three years ago at age 31, all of the doctors asked how old I was and if I was planning on having children. Up to that point, my husband and I hadn't really thought too much about it. Dealing with RA and all of the lovely medications associated with it really made us stop and think about what we wanted to do. After much research (aside from talking to others with RA and reading as much as I could online, I also read this book) and discussion, we decided to go for it.

Last summer, I stopped taking Methotrexate and then met with a high-risk obstetrician to go over my condition and list of medications. His conclusion was that my case was not high-risk (phew!) and that hopefully my RA would get better during pregnancy. With that huge weight off of our shoulders, my husband and I had to really decide if we were going to go through with it. Like, for real.

We finally decided that yes, we wanted to have a family, and we had better get started. My rheumatologist said I could stay on Humira until we had conceived. So, now here we are at 22 weeks. Things have been going fairly well. I had the usual bouts of nausea and extreme fatigue early on, but that has mostly subsided. Now, I'm left with "normal" RA fatigue. My obstetrician said I could still take my NSAID (Indocin) through the end of the second trimester. However, at my last prenatal visit, some fluid level was a little low, so they asked me to stop taking it. This wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that I have been feeling pretty bad for the past two weeks. Luckily, I had an appointment with my rheumatologist yesterday, and she prescribed me good old Prednisone to get through the rest of the pregnancy.

I have to say, I'm not thrilled about taking Prednisone, but it is considered fairly safe for pregnancy. What really bums me out, though, is that I haven't gone in to any sort of remission during pregnancy. I was really hoping to feel extra well for these nine months. But if I had to pick between having a good pregnancy with RA symptoms or a not so good pregnancy without RA symptoms, I'd definitely pick the former.

Now, I'm just hoping for enough relief with the Prednisone and that I don't have a major flare after giving birth. And really? Even on bad days, it's still worth it to know that I'm going through all of this so that I can meet my baby in December.

Hurricane Irene

Aside from general hurricane preparedness, be sure to note that arthritis pain will likely be bad on Sunday. Take care everyone! xo

Thursday, August 18, 2011

F is for Fatigue

Boy, have I been tired this week. Going to bed early, sleeping late, and generally feeling exhausted. I was so confused as to why this came on so suddenly.

Then, it dawned on me: RA fatigue.

It had been so long that the ugly F word showed up in my life that I actually forgot what it felt like.

I had another a-ha! moment this morning, as I rubbed my wrists and wondered why I was experiencing a flare of pain the last few days - my first flare in months.

The weather in the tri-state area over the last 5-6 days has been cloudy, overcast, rainy, etc. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it's sunny - but mostly it's just in limbo. It's these limbo-weather days that cause the greatest RA strife for me, personally. Some people say weather affects them, others disagree. But I know, for me, I can always feel a snowstorm coming by the way my joints feel. Likewise, these hazy summer days terrorize my wrists.

Mother Nature, make up your mind and make my pain go away!

But I am trying to put a positive spin on all this: I was feeling too good for too long; this was a good reminder that I do, indeed, have something wrong with me - a serious disease that deserves serious attention.

Does the weather trigger any RA pains for you? How do you put a positive spin on your flares? Let me know in the comments below!

p.s. Did you know that I am training for the NYC Marathon - and fundraising for the Arthritis Foundation? Support me with a donation! Follow my training on Twitter @zimgirl29