Returning to the rheumatology joint

On Wednesday I had an appointment with my rheumatologist. We stopped by Brad’s parents’ house first to drop Alice off. She was excited to see my mother-in-law!

Then we headed down the Columbia, an hour and 15 minutes away. We arrived a little early, so I had a chance to walk Hestia beforehand. She hadn’t pooped that morning, but she held it all in and didn’t poop on her walk before the rheumatologist either!

Brad got some good shots of us in the waiting room. In the first one I’m filling out paperwork while Hestia is on the floor. In the other two, Hestia is on my lap looking regal.

When we got back to the exam room, we did a little photo shoot! First we got pictures of Brad in his new dark floral velvet jacket that he got on the Amazon review program we’re a part of. Brad had a cool little color device with him (a CMY polyhedron). It is like a 12-sided die (a dodecahedron), but the sides are cyan, magenta, and yellow, and you can create even more colors by lining up the sides with each other.

Brad brought it to experiment with in his photography, and he had fun taking pictures of Hestia’s head using the device.

Then my doctor came in. He is an excellent doctor! He examined me and we talked about our options. The last time I saw him, he wanted me on infusions to help control my rheumatoid/psoriatic arthritis. Insurance denied them.

But since getting the power wheelchair, things have been better. I’m using the wheelchair more, so my hips hurt less. And I’m not pushing myself in the manual wheelchair anymore, so my hands hurt less. Going into the appointment, Brad and I had thought that maybe I shouldn’t be on any disease-modifying drugs for now. We thought that if my pain started getting worse over the winter (as it always does), then maybe I could call my doctor and get him to prescribe something to help.

But my rheumatologist explained why this was not a good idea for me. The first-level thing that they use to help if you have an arthritis flare is a round of steroids. But due to my mental illness, my doctor doesn’t want to give me any steroids (and I agree!). The other drugs they could give me all take 2–3 months to start working.

He said the best thing is to be proactive about these diseases. That it’s best to prevent things from getting bad earlier rather than try to fix them once they get bad.

Insurance wanted me to try methotrexate next, but my doctor didn’t think that was a good idea. My psych med is already really rough on my liver, and I am extremely prone to stomach issues from medications. So he thinks methotrexate is really not a good option for me.

Instead, my doctor wants me to try Plaquenil, which is hydroxychloroquine. Now this is the ACTUAL use for hydroxychloroquine—one of the things the drug is proven to be useful for. Unfortunately, a common side effect is that it can make psoriasis worse. Other than that, there aren’t usually too many side effects. So we decided to give that a try. Hopefully in a few months I’ll see less pain and no increase in my psoriasis.

Brad got some pictures of my rheumatologist examining me and talking with us. In case you’re wondering, he always gets permission to include medical people directly in his pictures.

Since I didn’t need any bloodwork or additional tests after this appointment, we were only at the doctor’s office for a little over an hour!

We were able to drive home and pick Alice up less than four hours after we dropped her off! Turns out we could have just left her at our place. But I think Alice was very happy that her grandma and grandpa watched her!

She has them wrapped around her little paw—all she has to do is go to the door and whine and they take her on a walk! During the four hours she was there, she went on four walks LOL! Alice LOVES being outside.

All the pictures Brad took are below. In them, I am wearing a bright pink top and purple, pink, and turquoise leggings. I have a pink butterfly in my brown curly hair. Hestia is a white and black Japanese Chin wearing a purple harness. Brad is wearing red pants, a pink shirt, red scarf, dark floral velvet jacket, blue tie, a brooch that is a red scorpion made out of roses, and a black and red floral hat.

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