In the more than 60+ years of taking medications, I never experienced “side effects.” But, since 2008, I have faced several serious health issues that related to “medication side effects.” I always knew there were side effects to medications. I just never bothered to check. Thinking, the doctor prescribed the medication, so it’s okay.
In a ten-year period, I took four different medications to treat conditions, which later turned into creating new conditions. After the first incident, I should have learned a lesson. Well, I didn’t.
First Incident – Humira
About ten years ago I was prescribed a weekly self-injection of the drug, Humira, to treat MY Rheumatoid Arthritis. The “risks and benefits” expert in the family was Hubby’s 83-year-old aunt. For more years than I can remember, she wouldn’t take a prescribed or over-the-county medication without researching the “risks and benefits”. A long-time RA survivor, I asked her what she thought of this drug. And Auntie said, “There are too many risks.” I listened. But, it didn’t change my mind.
During that time, I made bi-monthly visits, to the hospital for a four-hour infusion of Remicade to treat MY RA. The “benefits” of the weekly at-home injections of Humira versus a four-hour stay at the hospital outweighed, in MY mind, any “risks.”
Five years later, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer which according to the literature and confirmed by both MY then treating oncologist and rheumatologist was due to the “side effects” of Humira.
(Thankful for the Humira medication, which significantly reduced MY pain levels. Living this new life as a Breast Cancer Survivor opened ME up to receiving and expressing Gratitude everyday for the Gift of Life.)
Second Incident – Chemotherapy
Following a lumpectomy, I was scheduled to have 12 weeks of chemotherapy. After eight treatments, I noticed “tingling and burning in both feet.” I brought this to the attention of MY oncologist.
He diagnosed the condition as peripheral neuropathy due to a side effect of chemotherapy and immediately discontinued the treatments. Peripheral neuropathy is a chronic condition that will be a part of MY life for the rest of MY life.
(I move a little slower on feet that are continuously burning, stabbing, or freezing. But, I am so appreciative for I am still able to walk. Grateful.)
Third Incident – Orencia
For two years, after the Humira was discontinued, I relied on prednisone, plaquenil and weekly injections of methroxate to treat MY rheumatoid arthritis. MY rheumatologist and oncologist researched different medications looking for one to adequately treat MY RA condition without putting ME at “risk” for a cancer recurrence. They both felt Orencia was the answer.
In late January 2010, I had the first infusion of Orencia at MY rheumatologist’s office. The second one never happened. One week later, I was hospitalized with a life-threatening case of epiglottitis. The pulmonologist who treated ME at the hospital and MY rheumatologist agreed this newly diagnosed condition was due to a side effect of Orencia.
I left the hospital with a multitude of new diagnoses: asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, hypersensitive airways, swallowing difficulties, vocal problems, and allergies. All of these conditions are chronic and will remain with ME for the rest of MY life.
(Following such a serious and life-threatening illness, I still breathe. Thankful for God’s Grace and Mercy.)
Fourth Incident – Methotrexate
Since the Orencia was no longer an option, the prescribed medications to treat MY rheumatoid arthritis are plaquenil, prednisone, and methotrexate.
I spent seven days in the hospital in late November, including Thanksgiving Day. I was being treated for bronchitis. Because bronchitis and other upper respiratory problems had been a recurring problem since 2010, the pulmonologist performed a bronchosphy. The results showed scarring on the lungs. This newly diagnosed condition was related to a “side effect” of methotrexate. The medication was discontinued.
(Grateful for the many years, I was able to use methotrexate to reduce further joint degeneration associated with MY rheumatoid arthritis.)
With each “new side effect”, I faced a “new challenge.” And, I am grateful for each of those new challenges for I was re-directed down a new path, which re-created a better ME.
So inspired to live life to its fullest, I gladly embrace MY latest “side effect”, the “Side Effects of Kindness”. It’s AWESOME.
21 thoughts on “Awesome Side Effects”
Reblogged this on Furious Curious Cancer Survivor and commented:
As readers, we all I am sure suffer from the a bad case of severe empathy as an accidental side effect. The seasoned sistah is one of my favorite people online! Try alterative medicine. It works!
I am going the alternative medicine root to treat my auto immune disoder.. After reading this I think I am doing the right thing … The medications offered me I found really scary… Instead I am going to a functional medicine dr who treats me holistically .. We will see how I go …
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Thank you Helen for your comments. I, too, have started to look at alternative medicine more either to complement or replace some of the traditional medical treatments So far, pretty much discarded beef and chicken. Limit consumption of fish and poultry and focus on fresh vegetables and fruit. Hubby is diabetic so limiting carbs is helpful for him as well. I enjoy reading your blogposts. Happy to have connected with you through blogosphere.
Yes what a great community … I love the support it gives and the ability to share ideas… Xx
I can’t believe you can spell all of those medication terms. What a journey! I will add you to my prayer list!
Thank you for your prayers. Prior to retiring I worked in the medical field for more than 20 years. I enjoy your blogposts. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with you through blogosphere. Sorry for the delay in writing. Last week Out of five days, four days were doctor appointments. Exhausted and everything had to be placed in a “holding position.”
You are one incredibly awesome woman!
Thank you Jane Sorry for the delay in responding. Last week was crazy — doctor appointment after doctor appointment. This week nothing scheduled. Grateful for freedom of choice to do what I want to and when I want to.
I love you Mom your awesome !!!!
Luv u back, Son. So proud of you.
Kindness is not a side effect with you. It is you!
Thank you, Cebby. Life has been crazy. Doctors appointments four out of five workdays last week. This week no appointments taking time to focus on some past due tasks around the house.
You are truly one of the most inspirational woman I have ever met. I love you and pray for your health and continued love of life.
Thank you so much, Sharon. Your prayers are so appreciated. My goal during this season of my life is to stay positive, be happy, and enjoy life. Wishing these same things for you.
It is a pleasure to receive this blog from you. Your insights and senstivity is a blessing to me. I was diagnosed with raynauds and sle in the early nineties. I also have fibromialgia. Some of the flares of these annoyances are the result of stress and anxiety but I am focusing on continuing to move forward.
My best to you and your family.
ps…..your photo is lovely.
Sybil, thank you so much for your comments and compliments. I know when you have health issues compounded with pain, anxiety and stress levels are heightened. Take time to rest and relax. Wishing for you peace, joy, happiness, less anxiety/stress, and reduced pain levels.
There are many natural remedies out there to be explored. I would encourage you to look into into them. I feel very strongly that many of the so called ‘treatments’ are often worse than our original condition and as you’ve revealed, have in fact caused you a great deal of harm. I have explored and had medical intuitives work on my energy body. I too had the numbness in my feet after chemo. I found Vitamin B Complex solution taken everyday along with Cod Liver Oil very beneficial. I am exploring Oil Pulling as it is apparently great for oral health but will assist in removing a host of other toxins.
There were thing with the numbness that the Cancer Agency didn’t tell me as well. Not to have hot or cold showers was one. Keeping the feet covered…always. Preferably puffy slippers that had a lot of padding so that the nerves would not be damaged. I also came across the Vitamin B recommendation.
Cod Liver Oil of course helps pump up the immune system, and when the body is being inundated with pharmaceuticals I found it very beneficial.
Just discovering the power in certain vegetables as I began having smoothies on a regular basis astounded me. Why, I wondered had I not done this before?
In any case, be well my dear, and do look into natural remedies. They don’t cost all that much either. Many blessings to you.
Thank you, thank you for the suggestions. I will try the Vitamin B Complex solution with cod lie oil. I am not familiar with Oil Pulling but will google for additional infer. I didn’t know about hot/cold showers avoidance. Friday, when I go shopping new horseshoes on the list. Since the beginning of the year, we started to focus on improving our diet. Hubby is diabetic, so we reduced intake of carbs and replaced with more vegetables. Pretty much, eliminated beef, pork, and processed meat. We are a nutritionally challenged couple, but are pursuing healthy alternatives. Your suggestions were so appreciated. I copied them from my blog comments to a word document that I will print out for further reference.
Wonderful site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any message
boards that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other
knowledgeable people that share the same interest.
If you have any recommendations, please
let me know. Appreciate it!
Have you tried acupuncture to manage your RA? I have the same neuropathy in my feet from chemo and it will last a lifetime. It’s good you remain positive though. All we can do is go on and do the best we can with our new normal 🙂
No, I have never tried acupuncture. Though, it is a serious consideration. Especially since this latest medication prescribed, Leflunomide the generic medication for Aravaa, I believe is causing my face to break out in a rash. I continue to remain position. I continue to show gratitude for every day that is gifted to me. Oh, I enjoyed the You Tube video on your blog. Thank you for so much not only of the comment, but for the information you shared on your blog. I am a new follower.