RA & 2014: Something Old Becomes New

Vanessa Collins Health Guide
  • We are only weeks into a new year.  It is winter.  It is cold. I feel like hibernating, but it is time to do something new.


    Somewhere along my RA journey, I stopped moving forward and just “marched in place”.  I am in a rut, but I intend to drive myself out of that rut before I become stuck.


    After all, it is a new year.  I am starting a new biologic.  There are things to learn.


    My rheumatologist told me that I am a “problem patient.”  She smiled when she said it, so I guess that is okay.


    Dr. M went on to say that she prescribes Actemra for all of her “problem patients.”   I told her that I may be a “problem patient” now, but that one day I would be a star.

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    I start Actemra injections next Tuesday.  I am a bit excited, and a bit scared.  I must admit that I have always had a fear of Actemra and Rituxan.


    I will be injecting Actemra in my PCP’s office.  I have a history of allergic reactions to medications, so my PCP thinks this is the prudent thing to do.


    Actemra has just recently become available in shots.  Previously, it was administered by infusion only.


    This change does give my worried mind some comfort. After all, the drug maker must feel it is “stable” if they are going to offer it as a self-injection.


    I hope Actemra works for me. I belong to a few online RA support groups, and I have read wonderful stories about Actemra giving people their lives back.


    Dealing with changing biologics, and trying to talk myself into the “right” state of mind, made me realize how lazy I have become.  I used to read every article I could find about RA diagnosis and treatment.  Lately………..not so much!


    I don’t really like “resolutions”.  I can never keep them.  I think I will just call my new mindset an attitude change. 


    It is time for me to become more active in my own care.  I need to get back to advocating for myself, and for others.  I will start with researching treatment options.


    One of the best places for me to exercise my new attitude is right here at HealthCentral.  I intend to read at least one article from our archives every day.


    I know that Lisa Emrich, one of our writers, has both RA and MS.  Rituxan has worked very well for her.  This sounds like a marvelous place to start.  Lisa has written many articles for HealthCentral.


    How are you handling your healthcare?  Do you advocate for yourself?  Are you aware of the wide range of treatment options now available for RA patients?


    Maybe it is time for all of us to change our “attitudes”.  There is so much to learn.  The more we learn, the more we can share and help others.  I am starting here.  Where are you starting?

Published On: January 22, 2014