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After weight loss surgery, I knew that my body absorbed medicines differently than it had before. I had problems with extended release medications because they wouldn’t stay in my system long enough to release all the medicine they needed. I also knew that taking NSAIDs put me a higher risk of an ulcer since I only had a sleeve left for my stomach. What I didn’t realize at the time was how difficult it would be should I get a chronic illness that required medication to keep it under control. On top of my body absorbing things differently, I also can’t take medications that alter chemicals in your brain. For example, I can’t take any medicine that alters serotonin levels in my brain because it does the opposite to me than it is supposed to. That makes treating the Fibromyalgia almost impossible as most medications alter brain chemistry and the two I tried did cause me to have a personality change and increased depression.

Since being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I have had a hard time finding a medicine that will work with my body. I’m not sure if it is due to absorption or just the nature of the beast with this disease. I was first told to take NSAIDs which I’m not supposed to take a lot of. I can take Aleve for now but have noticed it doesn’t do much good and what little relief it does provide does not last 12 hours. I was first started on 5 mg of Prednisone daily and 15 mg of Methotrexate once per week. I began the prednisone and didn’t really get a lot of relief from it other than some side effects that are not so pleasant such as increased hunger, weight gain, and lack of patience (being cranky). The Methotrexate knocked me out for two days like I had the flu in the beginning and then began to irritate my stomach so bad that I felt like I had a stomach virus on top of the flu for several days after taking it. On top of that, it didn’t work to relieve my pain.

I did have some relief from the pain for about a month because I got sick with a respiratory infection that wouldn’t go away. I went through two 60 mg tapers of Prednisone and that provided me some relief finally. However, when it wore off, the pain came back double! I have been in constant pain again for the last month and it is frustrating to say the least. I’m now on my second medicine, Arava, and waiting on it to start working. So far, I take 20 mg a day and the side effects have been minimal. I do have a decreased appetite which is great to counter act the Prednisone. No stomach upset so far and no other side effects at this point. However, why do these drugs take SO long to start working. Seems like an eternity when you are in pain.

I made the decision to have weight loss surgery so that I could be the Mom that I wanted to be with my kids – be active with them and have fun. Now, I’m facing Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia and though I try to have fun with my kids it usually winds up with me being in so much pain in the evening that I can hardly move! After a recent trip to a water park with my children, for the first time I was wishing I had a cane to assist with getting up and down from the couch, the chair, the toilet even. Climbing the stairs was almost impossible and I crawled up a few times.

I’m hoping that with the right medication combination, eventually, I will be able to live as normal life as I can with the least amount of pain. At least that is my hope – some days I begin to wonder.