Rheumatoid Arthritis

Let’s Talk Humira

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 was Day One of Humira.

HUMIRA is a prescription medicine used:

  • To reduce the signs and symptoms of:
    • Moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone, with methotrexate, or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities.

That’s me. A little background? I was diagnosed with RA in December of 2011 after 4 months of excruciating pain in my joints. At that point my Primary Care Doctor said the Rheumatologist in our town could see me in June of 2012 or the Rheumatologist in the town 40 minutes away could see me in April of 2012. I was in PAIN so I chose April. Two days later that doctor’s office called and asked me to come in right away. I literally thought I must be dying. I was supposed to see them in April and they were asking me to come see them the first week of January. I was not dying, but she said it was serious enough they moved me to the top of the list. I was initially prescribed a pretty hefty dose of Prednisone and Methotrexate. It took about 6 or 7 months to get off the Prednisone (but it was a wonder medicine, and yes I know all the reasons why we don’t want to be on it long term.)

Since 2012 and until January 31, 2023, I have been taking Methotrexate once a week. It really did the job up until about 2020. What happened in 2020? That’s right – the pandemic. What else happened was my Rheumatologist that I had for 9 years was moving out of state. So my hand was way swollen, we had the fear of Covid being spread daily if not hourly, I was between Rheumatologists and our business was so busy with people making home improvements while they were stuck at home, I barely had time to think and I didn’t have a doctor to talk to until the next appointment 3 to 4 months away.

From 2020 on, my right hand has not been the same. I waited too long to see the new Rheumatologist and the ulnar deviation had started. I’ve been to two and a half years of hand therapy and I have multiple hand braces, but the fact is that the ligaments have stretched and they aren’t going to “spring” back into place. When my Rheumatologist had her last appointment with me (June 2020), she just out of the blue said “I want you to start Rinvoq.” No real explanation and we had never really talked about adding a medicine. She set it all up, said her good byes and moved out of state. I decided to wait the three to four months and wait until I saw the new Rheumatologist and get her “take” on me starting another medicine. This is where I am tempted to doubt myself and wonder – Should I have just taken the medicine? But here’s the kicker. When I had my first visit with my new Rheumatologist, (September 2020) she said, “Well, that doctor put a lot (or almost all) of her patients on Rinvoq before she left.” Then I was like, okay wait a minute, “Was there a kick back?” “Do I even need this?” I don’t know. I still don’t know. Should I have taken it. Would this have been avoided (see photo)?

That middle finger will not hold it’s position – it shifts to the right
One of the many stylish hand braces my awesome hand therapist made for me.

The new doctor gave me shots in my hand to calm them down, set me up with hand therapy and worked with me diligently to help the ulnar deviation, but in the end those fingers have shifted. Thankfully I can still use my hand BUT the pain sucks. And I have pain in other joints too. Therefore when this doctor said, “Would you like to live without pain?” (2 weeks ago) I said YES and I was willing to try Humira. In the past, I didn’t feel like I was ever getting a clear answer for me on why to try another medicine. But that sentence, Would you like to live without pain? was the right sentence for me to make the leap.

The goal is to eventually get off the Methotrexate and just be on Humira. I think I am one of the “lucky” ones (if you like that word) because my insurance approved Humira with a 5.00 co-pay. I know of a friend who needs it way more than I do and he was denied. I’ll never understand that game, but I am thankful I am able to try it. I went and saw a nurse on Tuesday and she showed me how to inject myself and it was super easy. I maybe was a little tired on Tuesday, but that’s hard to say as I’m tired often. Other than that, no side effects. I’ll do monthly updates on here for those of you who are considering it.

Feel free to ask me questions in the comments or if you would rather keep it confidential, you can email me at pattydeters@gmail.com. I try to get back to everyone.

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