Pick a side…

Side effects

In my 20’s I ignored side effects.

In my 30’s I noticed side effects.

In my 40’s I experienced serious side effects.

In my 50’s side effects are kicking my butt.

As a person living with multiple diseases, I take a significant amount of medication. It wasn’t always like this. At the onset of my diagnosis, I didn’t want to take any medication. I pursued holistic measures. I changed my diet, I tried the “water cure”, the “sugar cure”, the elimination diet, and the gluten free diet. I tried acupuncture, vitamin infusions, deep tissue massages, acupuncture, meditation, and yoga. I some benefits from meditation and yoga, but not enough to combat the pain of my joints. I cried for weeks when I started taking my first DMARD, Plaquenil. For me, medication was my only means to quality of life.

Twenty years later, and am taking my millionth (possible exaggeration) biologic drug. It seems that some drugs work for 2-3 years, then quit on me. I’m currently taking a combination of an infusion drug, and a DMARD. The DMARD’s side effects were intense the first two weeks but have since settled into a constant presence.

The Good

My pain level has decreased significantly. I don’t need pain medication throughout the day and I can sleep through the night without waking from stiff joints. My joint swelling has also decreased and I’ve lost about 13 lbs. Sounds good, right? But with all medications that treat chronic illness, there is always a flip side.

The Bad

I have a tension headache 4-5 times a week. I defecate between 4-8 times a day and there are times when I am late for appointments because I have to run to the bathroom. Some days, I have a mild level of nausea that makes me not want to eat at all. Most importantly…I’m struggling with depression. If I don’t keep myself busy, my brain spirals into sadness. All bursts of happiness are followed by equal bursts of sadness.

The Ugly

So now I face a reality of another medication not being the right solution for me. My next appointment with my rheumatologist will decide the fate of this drug in my life. Living with chronic illness is a catch 22. For every step forward I take, I get sucked back 3.

My Plan

First, I will talk with my rheumatologist to see if there is anything I can do to decrease side effects. Second, I will report those side effects to the pharmaceutical company. Finally, I will continue to search for a way to improve my quality of life.


3 thoughts on “Pick a side…

Add yours

  1. Hey, my story is pretty close. Except mine started with insulin in my teens. I told Sheryl the other day. We had great fun in our 20’s and 30’s.

    Not really she said, we could have had a lot more fun if you had taken care of yourself. Oh maybe. But remember how we did not worry about shots and such? Nope she said. I recall that you abused yourself to work.

    Well I had fun anyway. 🙂


  2. Thank you for sharing your journey and your positive outlook towards finding ways to improve your quality of life despite the tough side effects. You are an inspiration to others who may be going through a similar experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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