Every part of me hurts. It was torture getting out of bed and back in this morning. My hands are stiff and my fingers ache. Yesterday I ran out of steam in the old way, finding myself only able to sit and look. I have been on increased doses of prednisone for two months with no relief from this flare. This is how it used to be, the long flares I was accustomed to before I started taking rituximab.
When I began rituximab, we quickly determined that six month intervals between treatments allowed my flares to recur. My treatments were scheduled for every three to four months, and I had some blissfully better years. I was making progress with my life, enjoying some social activities, working much more capably in my home. I could see this concretely in better meal preparation, housekeeping and mental function. Then my rheumatologist decided that every six months was better for me. My last treatment was August. I am an angry mess. I don't know why I had to go through this again. Frankly, if there are long-term consequences to taking this medication more frequently, I am willing to trade them for the short-term life that it brings me.
I saw my psych guy this week. I can't call him a therapist. He is a drug manager. He gets a 30-minute update every three months and decides of my medications should be changed. No therapy involved. I realized after the visit that I must have sounded angry about everything - my health, my finances, my family, politics, injustices my daughter has recently suffered at school. I was a smiling, angry person.
I think what I was feeling was impotence. I am sick and I know it could have been avoided and I can't make the decisions that control that. I am in the typical patient position of being afraid to contradict the doctor too strongly, for fear that I will never get what I want and need. I need to be "good" and let him do his six-month experiment, and then be grateful that I am finally at the end of it this week. This sucks.
I have seen other patients in this position, and I encouraged them to go shopping. I may need to do the same. I have pushed others to treat the medical office like they treat a grocery store - if you feel that you are being mistreated, if your needs are not being met, if your questions are not answered - try somewhere else. Now I am looking at it with limited financial resources and the insurance least desired in physician offices, and trying to decide if I should do the same. I will speak to my doc first. We've always had good rapport, and I think a conversation is preferable to defecting without warning. I hope I won't have to shop. But I can't endure this again.