Dee, rheumatoid arthritis

Back in 2000 when I heard the words rheumatoid arthritis coming from my doctor's mouth I had terrible thoughts about where I'd be today. I was afraid for myself and my husband and children, then 8 and 4 years old. I pictured myself as a liability because I couldn't do many things and I was embarrassed and afraid to admit it. Now that seems like a distant memory because I have my life back thanks to this treatment.

To back track a little here, in October of 2000 I realized something was terribly wrong with me. I would wake up in the morning and my hands were completely numb. After I got out of bed and into the shower the numbness would go away but I had trouble making a fist, opening and closing bottles, and I was constantly dropping things because I couldn't get a good grip on what I had picked up. I also began noticing pain in my feet and ankles that would come and go without reason. I was exhausted no matter how much sleep I got and I couldn't remember anything. I was always groggy and couldn't think clearly. Since you don't know me I will tell you that I'm your typical type A personality who never forgets anything. This made for chaos in my life. The kids thought I was going nuts. My poor husband must have felt like he was living with a stranger.

When I could no longer believe that all this would pass, I trudged off to our primary care doctor. He examined me, did some blood work, and sent me off to wait for the test results. At our next visit he told me that based on my blood work and his exam he believed I had rheumatoid arthritis and suggested I see a rheumatologist. I made an appointment with the rheumatologist and started doing some research on the Internet. What I read there scared the heck out of me. A future of popping drugs that couldn't cure me wasn't very appealing. I began to panic. Everything I read said each drug only worked for a limited time span and then you went to something stronger. I had just turned 36 and had 2 young children. When I thought about how long I'd be taking medication for and that the medication would get more aggressive as time went on well, let's just say I was gravely concerned.

I began looking for books that could give me some answers. I stumbled on "The New Arthritis Breakthrough". It was the first glimmer of hope I had. I read the book from cover to cover. I found the website and read everything there. I joined the support group and asked lots of questions. I printed off the protocol and went to my first rheumatologist's appointment armed and ready. He had other ideas.

After he examined me and did some more blood work, he was in agreement with my primary doctor about my diagnosis. He started me on 50mg of Vioxx a day. We tried that for a month and while it helped a little it was clear that I needed more. He began talking about 2nd line drugs since the NSAIDs alone weren't working. I reminded him that I wanted to try the antibiotic protocol. He told me that I could be "blowin the small window of opportunity" I had to get this under control before damage occurred. I told him it was a chance I was willing to take. He agreed to give it a try and see what happened.

What happened is this - it's a little more than 2 years later and I have my life back. While I'm not yet in remission, I am getting closerr. I can do everything for myself again. I no longer dread getting out of bed in the morning because I know the pain won't be there. I can actively participate in the lives of my kids and not sit on the sidelines. I am in the process of painting our home after a major remodel. There's no way I could have held a paintbrush in my hands 2 years ago. I have Dr. Brown and the support group to thank and I'll give myself a little bit of credit for having the courage to give this a shot.

I believe the biggest mistake a person can make with their health is making uninformed choices. I researched every way of attacking this disease before making any decisions. Minocin was the clear choice for me. Hopefully I have many years left in my life and I want to enjoy them. Now I can.


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