There’s an awful lot of “R” words. Regret. Remorse. Rage. Resentment. These are pretty harsh words- hard connotations. The word on my list?
I have been skating around this word a lot lately. In an awful lot of ways, I am starting to hate it. Remission is the golden apple doctors and advertisers seem to dangle in front of your eyes. It is the goal of RA- to be free of pain and limitation. “Settle for nothing less!”
My problem with Remission is that it doesn’t stay Remissioned. Remissed. It just doesn’t stay. The “chronic” part of chronic illness makes sure that Remission is strictly temporary. Passing. Fleeting. Longer periods of Remission? Yes, a very worthy goal. But right now, I don’t believe in “permanent Remission”. My goal, pretty much, is to achieve “chronic Remission”.
As I cruise the Intrawebs and read blogs, there is a lot of pressure on those with RA to “achieve” Remission. Almost like Remission is something that you can pick up at the store, or a reward you get for jumping through the right hoops. Maybe I am hypersensitive at the moment, but I feel like I am being pressured into chemical treatment as the only road to Remission. And those chemicals? Have some pretty serious side effects.
Now, I’ve been going down this road for a few months now. And really, I had achieved about as much as I could without heavy-duty medication (unless, of course, I’m just not eating right and exercising enough, which should clear that pesky RA right up! But I digress…). But to take that plunge despite the risks, see the beginning of improvement, and then to have those results start slipping away…
So I am rather torn. I want Remission. I want to be pain free. But my experience is limited, and when I look to see what worked for others to guess how my story may turn out, what I’m hearing is not necessarily encouraging. And, honestly, I have a really hard time believing the hype. Totally pain-free? Really? It’s so tempting, but is the cost really worth it for something that is just going to come and go anyway? And then I start wondering if maybe I WANT to be sick (oh, those voices in my head!) and just… bleargh. I need a vacation from my brain.
The actual issue, at the moment, is most likely that these amazing wunder-chemicals are throwing off my thyroid. You know, that other part of my body my immune system is relentlessly attacking. When I first started the MTX my thyroid started acting up a bit- actually doing more of its job than it has been doing. But now it looks like the other end of the teeter-totter is coming down, and fairly hard. If that’s all it is we’ll balance it again (“better living through chemistry!”), but it’s not a good sign.
I just don’t really know what to hope for right now. And I’m kicking myself that I was doing better for a few weeks there than I thought I was- it takes another downturn to make me appreciate how well I was doing when it was *only* stiffness, achiness, and poor sleep. Feh.