Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Knuckle Injections

Today is not my favorite day.

OZL is cutting a tooth. I can finally feel it poking through his top gums. So he is drooling all over the place and is not a particularly happy camper.

On top of that, my hands have really been killing me for the past couple of weeks. It has been getting quite difficult to take care of OZL without a fair amount of pain. It hurts to put bottles together. It hurts to take them apart. Buckling him into the carseat or stroller is difficult and painful. And snapping all those tiny snaps makes me want to jump out a window. Though I have to admit I fumble almost as much with getting zippers started. But maybe the worst part is that OZL is starting to pull himself up and wants nothing more than to hold on to my fingers and pull himself up to standing. And how can I say no? He's so proud of himself and I am proud of him too. I want to help him learn and play with him and I don't want it to hurt anymore.

I've tried anti-inflammatories. I've tried other pain killers. I've tried ice. I've tried hot water. I've tried epsom salts. I even tried taping some of my fingers together to remind myself to try to give my hands a rest (though resting isn't very practical since I'm alone with OZL pretty much all day every day). None of it has worked, so I finally broke down and went to see my rheumatologist this morning.

Honestly I was sort of hoping for a diagnosis of tendinitis or carpal tunnel or something like that - both of which can be common post-partum and while doing repetitive tasks caring for a baby. But, no, it's my RA. My knuckles are swollen and inflamed which is causing the hand pain. Despite giving up breastfeeding to go back on my medications, my RA is still not completely under control. 

This information is both depressing and frustrating. Because we do want OZL to have a sibling in the not-too-distant future, my options for treatment are actually quite limited. Though I know it did help control my RA in the past, I've made the decision to stay off methotrexate until I am finished having babies. Methotrexate takes a while to start working and then takes at least 6 months to get out of your system before it is safe to get pregnant, and that's a timeline I just can't commit to right now. Not to mention that weaning off it in the first place is an experience I'd rather not have to repeat. And I'm pretty sure I've made my personal feelings about taking prednisone abundantly clear.

So, for the time being, I've opted for prednisone injections straight into my knuckle joints. Which, as you can probably imagine, is about as much fun as it sounds like. I got them in both hands this afternoon. They are supposed to take effect in a day or two and last two or three months. Hopefully this will help me regain the use of my hands for taking care of OZL (and, you know, anything else I might want/need to do).

In the meantime, now that we know my RA isn't being completely controlled despite all the meds I'm on, we may need to seriously consider how long we want to wait before trying for another baby. It seems completely crazy to think about having a second one when I'm already having trouble caring for the first one, but the reality is that my RA is uncontrolled and will probably continue to get worse. So the longer we wait, the harder the second one will be.

And I guess I have to acknowledge that a third one just may not be physically possible for me.


Brittany said...

Hi-I just recently found your blog. I was diagnosed with RA in December, and just so feel your pain. Literally. I am so sorry your hands are bothering you so much, I can't imagine trying to take care of a baby when my hands are flaring up. I think thats my least favorite place to hurt! :( I hope the knuckle injections help, because as awful as they sound, I know how debilitating it is to be in so much pain in joints you cant easily "rest".

Mandy said...

I've had injections in my fingers and they have really helped! Hoping it helps you!! Hang in there.

Christina said...

Hand injections sounds miserable, but I hope they help! My hands and wrist have been giving me problems more than anything since having my little guy and daily tasks can be a huge issue.

I was glad to hear you and your hubby are considering trying for #2 despite every thing. My husband and I have talked about it a lot too and came to the same conclusion as you...the longer we wait, the worse my JRA will be and #2 may never happen. I'm just looking forward to the days when Jimmy becomes a bit more independent & I don't have to carry & lift him so much. Plus, pregnancy remission is sounding pretty good right about now. :D

Well I hope the injections help! May be something for me to consider too. Take care!