No not emotionally hurt, I have not been hurt by someone else, I hurt. My hurt is as a result of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and this week my joints are in rebellion. My fingers, hips, wrist, knees and feet feel like someone took a sludge hammer and hit these body parts hard. Now I hurt almost all the time anyway. RA has robbed me of my stamina, my ability to work, to stand, walk, move, sleep or stay awake. It has robbed me the ability to travel where I love to go enjoy the park with my grandchildren or walk the dog around the neighborhood. The thing is RA like diabetes is full time job, except there are no daily injections.
I have a bit of a strange way of thinking about my autoimmune system; in both type 1 diabetes and RA it has been my autoimmune system that attacked my body. I imagine that one day back in 1974 my autoimmune system was sitting around looking for something to do. A group of my auto immune system formed a gang and for kicks they decided to go harass my pancreas. I know this is not true, but this is how I imagine it. Anyway, the gang attacked my pancreas and no one seemed to care much. In fact I masked their damage by taking insulin and pretty much went on with my life.
Well this gang, never disbanded, and for a few years they were content with causing some havoc elsewhere. Sure it was fun to focus on beating up on colds, while infection from cuts went on a rampage. The autoimmune gang had a good laugh when it allowed me to get measles 4 times, the last of which was when I was in high school. It was fun like spray painting walls in the subway. This gang painted some slogans around things like: good health go home or Kilroy was here. For the most part it was funny. Kind of a biologic side joke.
Then the gang had a meeting and they talked things over. The diabetes deal was a cool thing to cause. But they wanted another big score. After thinking about it one of the creeps suggested her now we are older let’s do an age appropriate deal. So they decided to attack my joints. They got some guns and RPG’s and a couple of inflatable boats and they attacked my joints. Oh no one noticed at first a little pain here a little there.
Then two things happened. First this guy they were messing with went on a college visit and he could barely get out of the car. His son toured the university without him. Then his older son brought home a wonderful brand new Trans Am. He was so proud of it and he was taking everyone rides around the block. Well everyone except this guy who could not stand folding his joints to sit in the car. So he passed. It was not my best moment.
Well anyway the autoimmune gang kept at it and they finally made life so miserable that I went to my diabetic endocrinologist and he did some tests, then he calmly referred me to someone called a rheumatologist. The Rheumatologist was amazed at how much mayhem this little gang had caused. So 15 + years ago I started taking TNF inhibitors. These drugs when successful were designed to hold the gang at bay.
Today I take a drug called Rituxan and since I can no longer take the TNF inhibitors, Rituxan is a CD20-directed Cytolytic Antibody. Since the TNF inhibitor no longer work, we have had to buy some more weapons. It seems every time the doctor gets a new drug, the gang gets new weapons. So today we are locked in an arms race, each side doubling up on the other. It is sort of funny really, an autoimmune gang fighting modern medicine. It seems that after about 15 weeks the gang starts to win and my joints get attacked. Thus today I hurt.
So on Thursday this week I get a new dose of Rituxan, and the gang will eventually be put back in its bottle. For a while anyway, because one can be 15 weeks from now, I will once again be hurting. After all anything mean enough to get my Islets and my joints cannot really be silenced. Yeah, today I hurt, a lot. So please don’t offer a college visit, I will have to sit that one out.