KATHY, psoriatic arthritis

I probably had depression and thyroid problems for years, undiagnosed, then menopause hit early and quickly. They tried synthetic hormones (birth control pills) and as I was doing my three mile jog one day my ankles suddenly started to hurt so bad I wasn't sure I could walk home. They swelled up and hurt.. no one could find any reason for this. Then I got a skin infection which they said was auto-immune eczema, and then my hand starting hurting so bad I couldnt work. Before you know it, other things started hurting.

The first diagnosis was psoriatic arthritis and I was put on methotrexate. During this time, my knees, feet and hip started to hurt. I was 48. My hip was becoming "frozen" and I couldn't do a lot of things like ride my horse or even walk very far. Things were getting worse quickly. The methotrexate made me sick and I had pain in my bones at night so I couldn't sleep. They gave me "ultram ER" for pain, which I found out causes insomnia (which I already had due to the menopause) AND I was told I would NOT be allowed to return to work (I am a school bus driver) as the ultram is not allowed for CDL drivers.

They didn't want me to take tylenol or the other NSAIDs because the methotrexate was causing my liver values to rise, so after just 12 weeks of MTX, they switched me to humira. I was giving myself shots in the stomach every 2 weeks and I found out it cost $18,000 a year! (thank God I have good insurance) but more than that, I would be at risk driving the bus full of kids because it lowers your immune system so much. I will admit that my pain was less on humira. But I was afraid I'd catch something and die (and we had MRSA and Mono and flu going around that year). I got on a waiting list to see a doctor 1 and 1/2 hrs away who would prescribe antibiotics. I did ask my own doctors and all said NO. I finally saw the new doctor and he ran some tests for mycoplasma and chlamydia and they came back positive (the first of any tests to be positive for me!) so I started on minocycline 200mg daily.

Well it knocked me down so badly that I had to stay home, so then we dropped to 50mg and built up slowly to 100 mg. I never could handle the 200mg but within 2-3 weeks I felt amazingly better! During this time I also got on some thyroid medicine and also bio-identical hormone replacement, and other supplements including 4000mg of vitamin D.

I stopped going to physical therapy, my hip is "un-frozen". I can ride my horse, I am walking five miles a day, working in the garden and driving my bus with NO pain meds at all, not even an aspirin!

I've been on minocycline at 100mg a day for 18 months now, I've had only one "flare up" and that, strangely enough was in one finger (I thought I'd broken it, it hurt so bad). The diagnosis was arthritis. One of the problems I've run into is that one of my family doctors now blames everything on the arthritis. I went in with an ear ache and she said I had arthritis in my jaw. When my knee hurt, it was arthritis too (forget that there was a bruise there).

I'm trying to find a doctor who will prescribe the minocycline and also the BHRT is very hard (I'm on another waiting list). I'd like to find one who doesn't act like I'm some kind of nut case when I go in with my print-outs of information I found on the web. My fiance told me later that he thought I would be in wheelchair within the year and he is now a believer in the infectious theory. We both tell our friends and anyone who wants information and I send them the links to the websites. I am so thankful I found the information and followed through on getting the medications. Hopefully I will not have a relapse, which is a fear of mine that the arthritis will come back.

Kathy age 51 now and very active!

You can email me at sunbriar@wv.net

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