When I was first diagnosed with RA, it seemed like everybody and their brother wanted a good gallon of blood from me. They . test. for. everything. For the record, in case you’re curious, I can tell you that I’m not pregnant, do not have AIDS, do not have syphillis, do not have chlamydia, do not have herpes, do not have cancer, do not have lyme disease etc. Want to know something funny….even knowing in 100% confidence that you don’t have syphilis BEFORE you take the blood test, you’re still like “awesome, I dodged that bullet” when you get the results.
Needless to say, when I first met the rheumatologist, they had a pretty comprehensive work-up already done on me. He flew in, looked at me, wrote some notes down, and left. The nurse came back in, gave me some prescriptions, and sent me on my way. FYI: if your doctor doesn’t take the time to explain things, especially new medications, find a new one.
I was put on methotrexate (mtx), more prednisone, folic acid, and vitamin b supplements. (see bottom of post for what these are as well as what I wasn’t told about these that I should’ve been told.) I spent the first month feeling like ass on a platter. My feet actually got worse, I was covered in bruises, was totally lethargic, and I could actually FEEL when the mtx hit my stomach. Weirdest, creepiest feeling ever. I went back the next month for a checkup and they increased my mtx. This continued for several months and I continued to feel like ass although around month 3, the inflammation started to improve.
Methotrexate: actually an old chemotherapy drug. It screws around in your bone marrow making you very anemic ergo bruising and lethargy. Iron pills fix this. The folic acid helps protect your stomach– you can also take calcium to do this. You SHOULD be taking calcium anyway- see notes on prednisone. BIG NOTE: I am very vain so this is ultimately why I took myself off of it- it makes your hair fall out in higher doses.
Prednisone: anti-inflammatory drug. Makes you retain water and an appetite stimulate so get ready to pack on some poundage. I got super fat at first on this. (I am almost back down to my fighting weight- yay!) I know, I know- I already told you though- very vain. Make sure you take calcium AND vitamin D with this- Prednisone makes it hard for you to absorb calcium while vitamin D helps with it.