Monday, November 28, 2011

The Hap-Happiest Season of All...

I was tempted to title this post “Winning,” but just couldn’t do it.  Since I last wrote, my diabolical plan seemed to have worked!  Completely ignore being sick, to actually cease being sick.  
The past few months have been great.  I have felt great physically and mentally, which I have learned is equally if not even more important.  The incredible thing, is that what I had felt, was being miraculously mirrored inside of my body.  
Just a couple of weeks ago I began a series of appointments to prepare for a important check in with my rheumatologist.  This appointment would determine if I could begin the journey to switch to a safer, long-term medication to control my myositis.  My first appointment was the super fun 2 hour session in the MRI, the next was a blood work series - that’s no big deal.  It was the 2 letters that came the following week that had me speechless (I know!) and in tears.  Ready?!  There is absolutely NO muscular inflammation left in my body.  My counts had finally dropped; several into normal ranges, even the never-going-to-change ANA* dropped 2 entire levels!!!  That means that there are less antibodies around in my body - that’s good!  I can feel this, too.  I can blow dry my hair without having to drop my arms and rest.  I can run up and down the stairs without a second thought.  It’s amazing.
My mind is a whirlwind thinking of all the things that must have been going on in my body the past year; our bodies are truly the most incredible machine. 
So what happens next?  I just started my 6-12 week “side effect trial” of Hydroxycloriquine, or Plaquinil, an anti-malarial drug that has been found to more safely treat several auto-immune diseases more long term.  Watching for the possible side effects is a little daunting; Week 1: gastrointestinal [oooh, that sounds like fun], Week 2-4: rashes, Week 4-8: hair loss.  As much fun as the aforementioned sounds, I am excited for the idea of moving to a safer drug.  And yes, I could become pregnant on this medication.  
I am a little scared about switching though.  Amazing things have happened over the past year on Methotrexate.  What if Plaquinil doesn’t control the disease and I move backwards?  I guess that’s why I’m doing this now; I’m still on medical leave, now is the time to discover how to be healthy long term.  Hoping that this medication is kind to me and that I can have success with it.  
So why did I sort of want to call this post “Winning?”  I has been a fun month!  Not only did I get the incredible news about my health, but I had a couple other mood boosters as well.  I took home my first win at VINGO night (Bingo at the local VFW) - which was just as great of feeling as I had always imagined... Haahaha!  Topping even that victory, the Holzingers finally took home the Golden Bean Trophy at the 4th Annual Chili Cook-Off (an event that we hold with our college pals).  
My little Pronto Puppy has been feeling great too!  His liver values have come down, considerably.  He was able to discontinue taking Prednisone and has been bouncing around the house like a pup again!  We are so excited to see him feeling better!  

So much to be thankful for this time of year and always!  I am so grateful for all the love and support from my wonderful family and friends!  A joyous holiday season to you all!
Will check in again around the New Year!
Much love, 

* ANA = Anti-nuclear antibody - which indicates an auto-immune disease is present in the body