Med Changes

Chemotherapy. One of those words with plenty of weight. Plenty of assumptions attached to it. For example, only Cancer patients receive it, this is a  myth. It is only a word. Only a medication designed to assist an individual in some way. Autoimmune diseases are treated with low dose chemotherapy. Chemo suppresses the immune system and helps inflammation.

Personally, I have encountered three chemos to date to attempt to control my illnesses. First I did methotrexate self-injection. Than Mercaptopurine was added. (This combination is not advised.) I couldn’t handle that for long so we made the switch to  just Mercaptopurine.

I stopped Mercaptopurine the end of last month. Medication changes are challenging. Needless to say, it can increase pain and symptoms. It is a difficult medication to start and to stop. Though I am not a fan it did suppress my immune system some, therefore, stopping it increased pain. However, it was worth it because I have begun my journey with Remicade.

Remicade is a biologic which is received through an infusion. It can be used to treat Chrons, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Plaque Psoriasis. Remicade suppresses the immune system, similar to other medications used to treat autoimmune disorders. Most times, to qualify for a biologic an individual must fail other treatments or have difficulties getting off steroids. The Remicade web page provides additional helpful information.

The first three infusions are loading doses and are given every two weeks. I had my first Remicade infusion November 8th (but I have been on another biologic and received other medications via an infusion). Personally, I pre-medicate in the car on my way to the infusion center. An hour before I take Prednisone, Benadryl, and Tylenol. The infusion lasts a total of three hours. I had nurses and a PA adjusting the speed of the Remicade every few minutes. In addition, they monitored my vitals.I felt beyond wiped out afterward as if the life was sucked out of me.

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That evening I was extremely achy. In addition, I had high pain in the lower right side of my abdomen. I was in bed by nine pm. However, that is the extent of the side effects I experienced. The joint pain was slightly better for a few days. I get my second loading dose soon. Eight weeks is the time frame that an individual should start to encounter improvement.

My next infusion is in a few days. I am extremely tired. The pain levels have returned to preinfusion. The weather isn’t helping any. The pressure is dropping. Additionally, we are expecting a mix of rain and snow. All in all, I am ready for my second infusion. Things feel much more hopeful on Remicade.

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Author: Victoria

Welcome, it is an honor you dropped by. I am Victoria. A twenty-something-year-old battling multiple chronic illnesses while learning how to thrive. Chronically Hopeful was designed to educate others and to provide support to those who are chronically ill. Proving encouragement to others is essential to me. I share my health on here. My major illnesses are Lupus, Hyperadrenergic Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, EDS, Mast Cell, Endo, and Ulcerative Colitis. I want to share my story with you hoping you will experience support; that someone else understands your pain, struggles, and frustrations. God has chosen not to heal me but to hold me. The more intense the pain the closer his embrace”. My faith, as a Christian has sustained me through the stormy waters of the past few chapters of my life. I desire to grow closer to God and lead others closer to Him. I help lead two online women’s Bible studies. I also post devotionals. I am pursuing my bachelor’s degree through Liberty University’s online program. Despite my illnesses, I have thrived in school. I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Psi Chi the International Honor Society, and Tau Sigma Honor Society. Abby is my service dog in training. I also have three cats Gracey, Fluffy, and Sadie Rose. I am looking forward to hearing your precious story. Sending hugs, prayers, and spoons. Have an amazing day!

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