On the bright side…

hand My hand looks deformed.  It hurts to use it and aches when it’s still.  I’d say it is an 8 on a 1-10 pain scale.  My ankles, knees and hips are also hurting.  Nothing severe (probably a 5 out of 10 on a scale), but enough to make me limp and struggle with stairs.

Three weeks ago, I started my 6th biologic drug after almost a year of roller coaster health.  Since then, life has been fairly busy and insane: A concert after work, parent/teacher conferences, a part-time job, multiple doctor appointments, constant errands after work, and attending the American College of Rheumatology’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington DC.  Before starting this latest biologic drug, I would not have been able to get out of bed after these two insanely busy weeks.  Honestly, I’d never be able to do 1/2 of these activities.  Since starting this new treatment, I still feel pain, but it’s not making me feel sick.  Instead of having both hands swollen and achy, I have one hand in rough shape and the other is hanging in there.  My ankles and knees are swollen, but the pain is manageable.  I’m definitely seeing a reduction in pain, and a slight reduction in swelling.  Dare I hope that this drug is working?  Is feeling so-so the best I can hope for?  I guess time will tell.  Until then, I’ll keep looking on the bright side, because it can always be worse.

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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

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