Voltran gel. So, it’s not really called Voltran, but it’s close, so that’s what I’m calling it. On Wednesday, I got to meet with my Rheumy for a much anticipated appointment. Over the past two months, as you know, I’ve been off Enbrel and not visiting my Rheumy because of a Lyme’s Disease and Mono diagnosis. I was really worn down, frustrated, and stressed out when I showed up. The nurse who is always there and works with me (the same one who taught me how to use Enbrel) put her arm around me and led me back to the exam room. She asked me how I was doing and I was completely honest with her. She was so understanding and wonderful. She told me to take a deep breath and said that we’d figure it all out. My pulse was good (72 beats a minute), but my blood pressure was up. The last few times I’ve gone to the doctor it’s been elevated which is weird because usually it’s low and everyone is always telling me how wonderful it is.That’s for the next post.
So anyway, I got my long-awaited and needed direction from him; I can go back on Enbrel! This morning I took my first injection in over two months. It was funny because this time my mentality was, thank god I get to take it, rather than ugh another injection. It made it much easier. So basically the Rheumy said we’ll give the Enbrel two more months and if it doesn’t help, we will try something else. I’m hoping the Enbrel works. He also said that if I don’t feel any better next week to let him know and he’ll probably put me on a short term course of steroids. In addition, I will continue to be on Nambumetone and hopefully that coupled with Enbrel will do the trick.
Then he turned to my knees. I had complained about them before and how it hurts to be in the car too long, they hurt when I walk, etc. He re-examined my xrays and poked and prodded the knees for a bit and said that it appears to be osteoarthritis and that my bursae are puffy and swollen (inside of the knees). He said that he could give me cortisonal injections (to which I made a face… more injections?). He smiled and said we would try a topical osteoarthris gel first. You 2g of it on the spots of pain/tenderness 4 times a day. The gel, Voltran gel, as I affectionately call it, is another NSAID (as is Nambumetone). I’m hoping the gel will work.
So that’s about where we are. I go back in a month to follow up and get blood work done again. In addition, if nothing improves by next week, I call and go on steroids. Here’s hoping I feel better next week!
Thought for the Day:
That’s right, folks! This morning I kicked AS right in the keester. I ran not 0.5, not 1.0, but 2.0 miles. Not a run-walk, a run. Well, a run as fast as I can run which is more of a jog, but really, I don’t care. I wasn’t walking. I am continuing to deal with not being on Enbrel although I am VERY ready to be back on it. As I mentioned previously, I show up at the gym hurting and then as I work out and loosen up, the pain gets better somehow. It’s like magic (except in my knees which have really been bugging me lately but that’s a story for another day).
I feel good throughout the workout and that adrenaline… you just can’t beat it. When I started running this morning I thought, oh I’ll just run a mile. Then I got to a mile and said, oh I’ll just run a mile and a quarter and so on and so forth, until I got to two miles. Now, as I mentioned, I may not make it to running a full 13 by the time of our half marathon, but I will do my absolute best to run as much of it as I can so that the next one, I will run straight-through.
Now, I am hurting more (it’s about 6 hours after the workout). My back and SIs are stiff, my knees and ankles have given up, and I smell like sweat, but still I couldn’t be happier. Today, I kicked AS for two miles. I’ll take it.
As I mentioned in previous posts about the implications of a tick and the follow-up to that post about having to go off enbrel to take antibiotics, I am still going through the motions of lyme’s and mono. I finished up my antibiotics and was very anxious to get back on enbrel because of my increasingly painful back and si joint flare-ups. Unfortunately, when I called my Rheumy for his approval, I did not get the response I planned on. He told me that because the antibiotics are all gone, I need to now wait a couple more weeks until I restart Enbrel to make sure I don’t have any continued symptoms. Blah. I am not excited about waiting longer.
The nambumetone seems to not help as much as it had been previously- perhaps because I am not combo-ing it with Enbrel. My back pain in the mornings has gotten worse and lasts longer than before. The one thing that I did notice is that when I went to the gym the other day, I arrived in pain. I wasn’t sure if I could work out let alone jog. I decided to push through it anyway because I need to get some jogging in in light of the Feb half marathon in California. I hurt to begin with but as I kept going, I realized that my SI pain got better. It eventually came back a while after the gym, but while I was at the gym, I felt good! Guess I’ll keep exercising!
In light of everything that has happened I’m not sure if I’ll be able to run the entire half marathon in Feb, but I can at least do a run/walk. At first when I came to the realization that running the entire thing was probably not going to happen, I was sad. I felt like I let myself down. But now, I am ok with it and I know that I can work hard to get in a good run/walk and then I’ll be ready to take on the next half marathon and run the whole thing. Besides, I made it to the gym 3 times this week and I biked a total of 30 miles and run-walked about 4. That combined with some long walks outside and I’ll take it.
So, it looks like I’ll be calling the doctor to see what I should be doing in the meantime while I’m waiting to go back on Enbrel… perhaps he can suggest a stronger anti-inflammatory than nambumetone (750mg horse pills). For now, I’m going to go enjoy the beautiful day!
On Friday, we packed up our bags and headed north to my parents house for the night. As usual, we arrived after midnight. On Saturday morning we got up early and after a delicious homemade breakfast (thanks, mom!) we leisurely pulled ourselves together and reloaded the car for the drive to Red Hook, NY to visit Andrew’s Aunt Kelly, Uncle Burt, Grandmother, and a few other friends. We made the drive up in about 4 hours. I’ll write another post about the trip and all the wonderful food, conversation, people, and times we spent, but the purpose of today’s post was to talk about back pain. Everybody gets it, right? This morning was bad. Well, I guess last night was bad too. I didn’t sleep exceptionally well (and not from lack of exhaustion). I was super tired, but woke up a bunch of times with a super-stiff back that felt like I had been assaulted with a baseball bat in my sleep. I slept on and off through the rest of the evening, but this morning I didn’t think I was going to be able to get out of bed. Is it possible that someone actually did take a baseball bat to my back while I was asleep? Probably not, but I was positive that is what happened.
I did manage to get out of bed without too much pushing :0) and Kelly and Burt so wonderfully brought us breakfast sandwiches and coffee from the diner. We scarfed them down and decided that we would take Franklin for a long walk before we all headed to brunch/lunch. Kelly and Burt suggested going to Poet’s walk which is nearby and is a nice little trail leading down to the river. I have to admit, I didn’t want to go. My back hurt too much and I was really tired. That combined with the looming stress of trying to get A TON of grad school work done that’s due over the next 7 days was just too much. Well, I remember reading a bunch of articles on blogs and medical sites stating that exercise is supposed to help with the pain caused by ankylosing spondylitis. As I mentioned previously, I still haven’t had my follow-up appointment with my doctor, so I haven’t yet gotten all the advice, but I figured I may as well try something… and at least get some exercise.
The walk ended up being a lot of fun and a relatively flat 2.5 mile loop; the weather was gorgeous and it at least felt a little like my back loosened up or relaxed a tiny bit. Maybe it was all in my head, but even it was, I’ll take it. The hike was a lot of fun and it was nice to get outside for a little while. I really hope that I get some good advice and pain meds on Wednesday…mostly because I’d love to NOT feel like a baseball bat just went to town on my back.