Post Edited (Beckysniko) : 6/5/2009 9:55:24 PM (GMT-6)
Do we have to choose just one of them? I voted for methotrexate, but I also take enbrel. I must say that the combination of those two drugs is what drove the RA into remission. One of these drugs alone was not enough to do that, although methotrexate alone was more effective than enbrel alone.
So sorry to hear of the pain you're experiencing. I'm sure we've all been there. I got through it with a lot of heat, support, and prayer (in addition to having a great doctor).
Becky...I know that you hate to keep calling your doctors office because you are in pain, and I have felt the exact same way! One day in the doctors office, I finally told my rheumy that on a scale of 1 to 10 my pain level had reached a 10 and it was more than I could stand. At that point I was even taking the elevator. Now he is great at listening to me when I say I'm hurting.
I also started out on the NSAIDS such as the Mobic, Suldinac and Relefin (sp?) and finally upgraded to Celebrex. My doctor never gives out prednisone unless it is an emergency. I didn't start out on the injections until I was a couple of years into treatment, but what I did use was Plaquinil and while it took a few months to get going it really made me feel so much better. I could climb stairs and for the first time in a long time had energy and a huge decrease in my joint pain, to the point where I could even go to the gym and work out. Often times it is a matter of trying more than one med to see what works and even with a combo of meds sometimes flares still happen.
As for the side effects of some of these meds, they can be harsh especially when you are first starting out. When I started the methotrexate, I felt as if I had the flu for about the first month the day after treatment, and could hardly get out of bed. I'm not sure how you are feeling with the Enbrel but when I started on that one I would feel really hot and flushed and my stomach didn't feel so well but I won't go into details! Anyway most of the time the side effects subside and our bodies get used to the medications.
I hope you find the right medications that will help control your RA pain.
I have applied for SSD and was approved. The SS office told me to apply for both and that SSI was easier to get - this is not true.. SSI is for the very poor so if you are married (as I am) and have any kind of income you will most likely be denied. SSD on the other hand is for anyone who has a disabling condition and can not work or work a full time job. Speak with a SSD attorney if possible, I was given advice over the phone. The main thing to remember when filling out the paperwork is DO NOT LEAVE ANY QUESTION UNANSWERED. Put N/A or none if the question does not apply, but answer the question. I've been told they will throw your application away if you don't. You must be disabled for a complete five months so you may not be able to receive payment for several months but apply ASAP, it takes time for SS to make a decision. Have a complete list of all doctors, clinics and hospitals along with the addresses and phone numbers. They will request copies of all medical records (you will have to sign a HIPPA form giving them permission). This takes the longest as doctors etc. are sometimes slow to reply. If you have copies offer to send them. If your caseworker is having trouble getting any records go get them for her/him and fax them; this will expedite your case. Once all medical records are received they are given to a SS doctor for evaluation. I have RA, degeneratve disc disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure along with several other health problems. I also had major back surgery and am still in pain and therapy after five months.
If you are denied for SSD, I would recommend hiring a SS Attorney to appeal for you. They only get paid if your case is approved and according to what I read get only a set amount. Your payments are retroactive back to the date of your first application so you may receive a large first time payment. Do not think you cannot afford an attorney, if you cannot work you can't afford to lose.
I hope this helps you some - I was told 99% of people are denied the first time they apply and its usually because the paperwork is not properly completed. So, make sure you take your time, read all the instructions and if contacted by your caseworker work with them. Mine was very nice and helpful; I hope yours will be as well. Don't get discouraged if this takes 2-4 months or longer. Mine took 4 months and I was getting very depressed, then I received the notice of approval. I've not received payment yet but should next month.
Sorry for the length but felt a full explanation wouldl be more helpful Best of luck to you.