Its been over a year since officially receiving my diagnosis of Psoriatric-Arthritis. I have been on a variety of medications to get the symptoms under control. It has been 9 months since I began treatment with Methotrexate, a very common arthritis treatment, to slow the progression of the disease.
In those 9 months, I have faithfully gone to my doctor bi-weekly for blood tests to monitor a variety of organ functions that can be effected by the medicine. Further, my doctor monitors my white blood cell count, which was quite high, and was a dead give-away of an infection process in my body. My doctor has faithfully called every other Saturday morning to let me know the blood test results. Every call for 9 months was "no change in the numbers, everything is stable." This past Saturday, my doctor called to deliver the results, "there was a change- the white blood cell count is near normal. After 9 months, this is a sign that the treatment is working."
I went to my rheumatologist yesterday. He too was quite encouraged by the results of my blood tests. Of course, he warned me that there is a strong likelihood that I will live with arthritis for the rest of my life. But he said that he is confident that we will at least get it under control. He also referred me to a specialist in hand surgery for people with arthritis. He feels that I may be a candidate for joint surgery in two of my fingers. I never really thought about this as an option, but I am interested to see what she has to say.
The amazing thing I have learned through this is how much living with arthritis has changed me. I vividly remember Joern telling me for years that I was the most negative person he had ever met. When I began the treatment, I remember feeling like being negative about the disease would not help me in the slightest. Because the medicine most often works within the first 6 weeks, my doctor would always ask me how things were doing, to which I would reply "no better, but no worse either. And I am happy with just that." A few months ago, my doctor told me how amazingly positive I was being about the whole thing, and that a positive outlook can only help things along. I have noticed that my positive outlook has gone beyond just the arthritis, it has found its way into all aspects of my life. I think this has helped my relationship with Joern, and has helped me with my job.
So here's to hope. Four little letters that can make a huge difference in someone's life.