The Arthritis Diaries of Chubby McSideboob

When I started blogging I was careful not to write purely about a specific niche…I like making people chuckle..is that a niche? laughter?

However it would appear that a ‘topic’ has found me, Im not going to call it a niche, because I’m sick of hearing the word.  Im yet to find another sufferer of Rheumatoid Arthritis who is in their mid to late thirties.. (ok late thirties) ….and male. That said, Im sure there are loads of them and I haven’t been actively looking for any.

Im certain there are Facebook groups or maybe an app  where people find other RA victims and talk about their illness, photographing their deformed joints, so that everyone can see how they are morphing into Frankenstein’s monster, but that’s not really me.

So instead I’ve decided to write a bit of a diary about my experiences…when there is something  to write about…I’ll try not to bore you with mundane everyday happenings that make me sound like Dot Cotton or that poor bariatric lady from ‘GPs behind closed doors” who rocks up every week with a different ailment….

The reason  I have decided to start writing about this, is today is a fairly big step into the world of Rheumatoid Arthritis.. the day I start taking Methotrexate.

The story up till now

I started to feel unwell about 3 weeks before Christmas, with tiredness really taking over my body, and waking up with achy and stiff joints, especially in my hands and feet. As the days passed, this became progressively worse and I really noticed the struggle when cooking Christmas Dinner, and the difficulty that came with lifting the Turkey into the oven  ..which nearly ended up being served in the cat’s bowl when my knees and wrists decided they weren’t playing.

I went to the doctor’s for the 1st time, the day after Boxing Day, this was the 1st time I had visited a Doctor in about 7  years and after a careful examination …(even the cough test…with her cold hands cupped around my manhood), the lovely lady GP referred me to a Rheumatologist.

I decided to take an open referral and make the most of my Private Healthcare…(Im glad I did, as I would probably still be waiting for an appointment now.)  When I got home I called the health company and managed to get a referral to see a Rheumatologist  at a small Private Hospital within the grounds of Mount Vernon the next evening.

To cut a long story short, after number of blood tests and a couple of  consultations, I was diagnosed as having Rheumatoid Arthritis and the doctor started me on an 8 week course of Steroids and Hydroxychloroquine , a disease modifying drug.

In basic terms, Rheumatoid arthritis is an ‘auto immune disease’ whereby your immune system is over-active and starts to attack the fluid in your joints, confusing them with a foreign body. Many people associate the disease with old people, or severe coldness, however the disease is actually genetic, and old people often get osteoarthritis which is when joints crumble due to old age.

The disease -modifying drugs (DMARDS) can take up to 12 weeks to start taking effect, so I am currently in the stage where I am waiting for something to happen, with a nice batch of steroids to take in the meantime to reduce the swelling and stiffness.

This week.

I went back for my 4 weekly check up this week and the the doctor told me that the Rheumatoid Factor in my blood had risen.  The Private Doctor asked me to come and see him the next day in his ‘NHS capacity’ at Watford General. How ironic…the Doctor who is seeing me privately has referred me back to the NHS to see him…(something to do with the insurance not covering long-term care).  So I went back the next day to see the same Doctor so that I could get an NHS prescription for Methotrexate.

I’ve never been a big fan of taking any sort of medication…. I have to be practically screaming in pain before I’ll take a paracetamol. When the Doctor said the words “methotrexate’ everything became a little bit more ‘real’.

Methotrexate is a long term drug that you take weekly. Despite being the most popular and effective treatment for RA, has a large number of side effects, including liver and lung damage, hair loss, frequent nausea and a lowering of the immune system.  “Great”, I thought

Before being given the prescription, I had to have a chest x-ray and liver function tests and I will now need to have a blood test every two weeks to monitor my liver. I also have to carry a ‘methotrexate passport’ around with me and take folic acid once a week (the day after).

The biggest concern I have with the medication is, I do like a glass of wine every now and then, however drinking alcohol with this medication, poses a much higher risk of liver damage and the instructions state..I must stay well within the recommended weekly units of alcohol.

Can I have all these units in one day?….What happens when I want to have a good drink? Do I need to give up alcohol altogether… I have so many ‘important questions.

To make matters worse…when I collected my prescription, the nosey old Doris at the pharmacy (you know the ones that think they are medically trained…but are just cashiers with an NVQ in Tixylix), said to me;

” Are you sure this is the right medication? You do know this is a cancer drug?”

Err yes thank you Doris…I have been to a doctor, I didn’t just get hold of a prescription form and decide I would prescribe myself a drug that will mean I can’t drink and I may lose my hair!

The doctor also suggested losing a bit of weight. This I already knew, but it still hurts when you hear it from someone else. With giving up smoking, I have put on a few pounds and upon last inspection, I am getting ‘side-fat’….god help me.

So today I got up extra-early and ingested my new tablets…stepping into the unknown, and Im off to buy myself a fit-bit in the vain attempt to get more active. Dieting is a whole other  post…and one that I’ll put off for as long as possible.

Do you or  anyone you know, suffer with Rheumatoid Arthritis and taking Methotrexate? How has it affected you? Would love to hear from you.

Photo source: scN0s.com

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30 thoughts on “The Arthritis Diaries of Chubby McSideboob

  1. Oh, Sweetness, I’m so sorry to hear that you have RA! On the bright side you’re a guy who doesn’t look Italian so you’d probably lose your hair to some degree anyway. The liver function tests (did they tell you you’ll have to have them) are annoying but you don’t have to study. You just have to bleed freely into a tube.If Doris gets too pushy smack her. Sure it’s illegal but it’s SO satisfying. And side fat isn’t great but at least you’re not like me with “all the way around fat.”

  2. So sorry to hear you’re going through all that! Sending virtual hugs (a real life hug may be tricky, what with your side fat and my back fat!!) 😉
    I’ve had a ton of blood tests, MRIs, and a lumbar puncture (wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!) and two years later I’m still undiagnosed! Story of my bleedin’ life lol.
    In all seriousness, it’s pretty crappy to rely on medication but if it helps your symptoms then it’s good.
    P.s. I’ve been tee-total for three years and I’m fairly sane!! 😳😳😜

    1. Thanks Shelley, you’d definitely struggle with a hug right now with my Buddha physique. Looks like we will be able to compare notes at the Bloggers bash…I’ll show you my medication if you show me yours!

  3. My aunt has RA! Your title!! I was expecting something about fatty side boobs! I’m sorry you’re experiencing this. On the bright side, you could friend me on Fitbit!!!

  4. Dang, so sorry to hear this, Matt. I was tested for RA over the summer, but it came back negative (still not exactly sure what’s causing my issues, but that’s a story for another day). I hear you on the medication thing – I’ve been on and off a number over the years (mostly for depression/anxiety) and I usually have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Sending oodles of positive energy your way, and if I think of anyone on the same med, I’ll be sure to send them over here.

  5. Hi love. So sorry to hear this. Yes I know people with RA & are on Metho. (Glad I didn’t shorten that to just Meth). Strangely, they are all female, but all got diagnosed in their 30s. Metho has been great for them & as you say have to regularly get their liver tested. Metho hasn’t stopped them from enjoying a drink though. Your liver tests will be a good guide as to how you can drink around taking Metho. When one of my friends got a negative liver test result she just cut down on the drinking a bit & now her liver is fine again. Hope this is of help xx

  6. Sorry to hear what’s been happening. You’re making moves in the right direction to tackle your weight, although what will become of Chubby McSideboob if he slims down?? Hope the medication helps you x

  7. Rheumatoid Arthritis sounds like a very difficult disease. How long will it be until you know whether or not the medicine is helping you? I hope it makes a big difference.

  8. Thanks for sharing. I don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is really similar to RA so I take the same medications as RA patients. I haven’t taken Methotrexate because I have young children and already get sick a lot so my doctor was concerned about my immunity. I do take TNF inhibitors (Enbrel, Humira, Simponi, now Cymzia) and have for almost 8 years. I’m noticing now that I’m 40, my health has been harder to maintain so I have to stay on top of it. Just keep plugging away. It’s all you can do:-)

  9. I stopped reading when you said you couldn’t have a glass or two of wine, I couldn’t cope with any more bad news lol

  10. RA is so rubbish and I’m so sorry to hear your going through it so young! That’s very pants indeed. On the upside your blog made me howl out loud so thank you for that! Comedy is certainly your strong suite xxx keep up the good work 😘

  11. Sorry to hear that you have RA. My boyfriend’s father has Ankylosing Spondylitis which is, as I understand it, fairly similar. He finds laughter to be a great remedy and it would appear that you have that in spades! 🙂

  12. Looks like you and me are in the same boat although am a little older at 63. 🙂 Just diagnosed with RA, started M around 3 weeks ago. Oh well, it will be an interesting journey for us both of us. Hope the M has started working for you, I started improving in week 2. Chin up as they say. 🙂

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