Tag Archives: Enbrel

Good News?

I’ve been on Remicade more than three months, now.  Before that, I was on Humira and Enbrel (not simultaneously) for nearly a year.  Because of my high deductible, I didn’t get an MRI when I was first diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis.  Remicade obliterated my deductible so I finally had an MRI on my sacroiliac joints this past Monday.

My doctor advised me that it’s possible that the test wouldn’t show any inflammation, but today I received the news that I have inflammation consistent with ankylosing spondylitis. This is good news.  I don’t carry the HLA-B27 gene, so this shows that we are treating the right disease, we just haven’t found the treatment that works for me.  For starters, we are increasing my Remicade dose to 8 mg.

I don’t know if that will help as I think my problem lies in my superhuman metabolism.  Medication doesn’t stay in my system long.  The dentist has to give me extra novacaine and the symptoms still have nearly completely subsided when I get home–only a ten minute trip.  It’s the same with surgery.  I’m not aware of waking up in the middle of a procedure but I came close when I was ten.  I was at the oral surgeon pumped full of nitrous oxide. I remember hearing the nurse telling me to breathe deeply right as I was waking up so that more nitrous could be administered.  I’m sure it’s not very pleasant waking up in the middle of surgery.

If I could take Humira weekly I’d be in pretty good shape.  I remember around seven days out of fourteen where I was pretty normal.  The problem is that the medicine isn’t approved for weekly dosing to treat my illness.

All in all, it’s good news.  A pastrami on rye would be better, but I’ll take what I can get.

Just Like Paradise

The old David Lee Roth tune comes to mind this morning, yet it is antithetical to how I’m feeling since Thursday’s Remicade infusion.

This visit ended with a twist of sorts as my hips were injected with steroids in an effort to curb some of the pain.  Instead, at least for now, they are stiff and achy; it is reminiscent of having to chisel and pry and hammer a worn out strut.  (I am no mechanic, so any repair I make involves pry bars and hissy fits.

As soon as I complete my shift at work, I’ll be back in bed like the past couple of days.  This is only a bonus from my typical searing pain in my lower spine. My upper spine feels like it has been contorted by a gorilla.  I think farmers give their sick horses better treatment when they lead them out to a pasture, gun in hand.  And no, I’m not implying anything as I’m against euthanasia.  I’m not above whining, though.

I’ve been feeling pretty horrible the past six weeks or so.  I have had my share of hiding in the bedroom.  I’m just frustrated today.  

(Cue DLR) — THIS MUST BE JUST LIKE LIVING IN PARADISE.

Consider It Pure Joy…

It’s not all fun and games dealing with chronic pain. It can also be quite expensive. After years of pain, I was finally diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis a few months ago.

At first, I was prescribed Humira. I had one injection that showed promise. Two weeks later I sprayed the shot all over the room because I forgot how to operate the injection pen. Brilliant, right?

Due to insurance problems I was switched to Enbrel. My rheumatologist is a schemer that likes to stick it to the man. Enbrel and Humira have discount cards where you can pay as little as five bucks a month for your medication. The credit from the discount cards applies to your insurance deductible. I thought everything was going to be rainbows and unicorns until I learned that I still have to pay 40% for my medication until I have paid $5000 out of pocket. I know, it’s a terrible plan. Especially since we have private insurance and pay close to $700 a month for family coverage.

I’m switching back to Humira later this month because it seemed to work. Enbrel does nothing for me. After the discount card is applied, I’m going to start paying $426 a month for my medicine. It’s money we don’t have so we are going to eat more beans and rice. It will be money well spent if it relieves me of this pain, though.

I’m sure I’m not being very clear regarding this insurance debacle, but I really don’t have a clear understanding to begin with. Apparently, there is the deductible and there is a separate copay for medications. In a nutshell, it’s a lot of money with little return. Thank you Obama. This Affordable Care Act seems to make health care very expensive for families that work. In my case, my wife works 50-60 hours a week. I’m unable to work, so I’m essentially a housewife who does the cooking. The cleaning…not so much.

I’ve been shuffling like an old man the past few weeks. I try not to whine too much about my ailments, but I’m irritated when friends who have little to complain about start crying about not having a spouse. I could be wrong but I think women are a little turned off by desperation. Advertising your desperation on Facebook is a double turn off. At least he has the potential of finding a mate. I’m sure there is at least one woman in 1000 who are attracted to sensitive men who cry into their bosom every night. I can soak my wife’s bosom with my tears all I want, but I’m still going to be shackled with chronic pain.

I’m comforted by the fact that the Bible never says God promises happiness. With Him, you can be joyful which transcends all circumstances. James 1 teaches that trials of all kinds develop perseverance.

Besides, there’s something much more important than anything I endure. I was going to quote Romans 8:18, but I realized I already did that here.