I saw my rheumy this morning. I swear I'm so glad that I prepare what I'm going to say prior to these appointments because, while I love my rheumatologist, his appointments are similar to a lot of doctors in the "Slam, bam, thank you, mam!" Not to be too crude, here.
He wants to up my enbrel to 50 mg twice/week instead of once/week. The only problem is my current insurance will not pay for it twice a week. So, I basically have three choices: 1) switch to an insurance company that will cover enbrel 2x/week; 2) switch to a new drug, most likely kineret @ daily injection; or 3) continue with enbrel as is and up my ultracet dose. The most desirable option for me would be to find an insurance carrier that will cover enbrel 2x/week. However, I think my job will only allow me to switch health insurance once/year in January. I'll check into that. If I switch to kineret, I have to start from ground zero yet again, and wait even longer for something to work. I'm not ready to give up on enbrel quite yet. I've tentatively decided on the third option, to simply up the painkiller I'm currently taking and suck it up until the enbrel does more. I truly wish I could take advil or motrin, or any of the NSAIDS just to supplement everything, but I can't.
Erin, you had a question regarding my having a colonoscopy in another post. I've had a couple of upper and lower endoscopies. Upper endoscopy routinely shows severe reflux, which I've been medicated for for about 3.5 years now. I had a lower endoscopy (colonoscopy) done for the first time last August. It showed multiple aphthous ulcers througout my colon. My GI doctor of that time would not diagnose IBD because the biopsies from the ulcers came back negative for crohn's. I've since learned that ulcerative colitis often has negative biopsies, and that's one of the ways they differentiate between cd and uc. Both IBDs are, of course, related to arthritis. I found a new GI doctor at a world-renowned hospital who specializes in IBD. She did another colonscopy on me in February. My scope was 100% normal--after being medicated with sulfasalazine (last November) and humira (this past January). I follow up with her in a couple of weeks, but clearly she cannot say yay or nay if my scope was normal. Honestly, I haven't had any lower GI symptoms since I've taken the Humira. AFter about my 3rd injection, the symptoms just completely disappeared. Have you noticed that Erin? In any case, IBD has not been ruled out, but it is inconclusive at this point. I'll see what this lady says in a couple of weeks.
Thanks everyone for your prayers and encouragement,
Current dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Suspected dx: Early Lupus/MCTD; Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Current Meds: Enbrel, Plaquenil, Aciphex, Ultracet, Zyrtec, Allavert-D, Zantac, Tylenol PM
Past Meds: Relafen, Vioxx, Mobic, Voltaren, Sulfasalazine, Entocort, Prednisone, Humira, Reglan