Sunday, December 4, 2011

Starting Enbrel

So, the doctor has decided to start Alex on Enbrel shots.  It took 6 weeks to get her medicine in our hands.  I only mention this in case you are facing the same thing.  First the insurance company denied it so my doctor fought for me to get it approved.  We also applied for financial assistance through Enbrel and got approved for 100% coverage for the first 6 months and then we only pay $10.00 after that.  Once that was all arranged it took about a week to get it in our hands.
So, the next step is meeting with the nurse to have her teach me to do shots.  I'm really praying that this will put her arthritis into remission!  The doctor really seems to think it will.

Other than that we are enjoying the holidays.  The tree is up, the house is somewhat decorated and I have bought about ......3 gifts so far..yikes!  I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Its Been A Year!

Wow, I can't believe it's already been a year since we found out about Alex's arthritis!  I'm sorry I don't update this blog more often but there hasn't been much to update......until today.  

Alex had a check up with her rheum doctor today.  As of her last appointment things seemed to be moving in a good direction.  Her swelling looked much better and we were told to just continue with her meds.  I didn't attend her last appointment (which will never happen again) and apparently the last MRI that she had had was not in her file when Ben met with her. when I took her,  the doctor was sad to see how swollen her hand had become again.  I mentioned that it was especially disappointing since her last MRI was showing improvement and that's when things got a little crazy. I guess she thought that I had never taken her in for that MRI. The doctor seemed to know nothing about this last MRI and went scrambling to find the results. She eventually did find it and seemed so confused why she didn't have it at the last appointment. 
So she begins to read the findings to me and not only was there an increase in inflammation in the joints we already knew about but now there was a problem in her seems to be moving up her hand. 

So based on these new findings the doctor now wants her to start Enbrel (the dreaded shots).  She seemed very confident that this medication will stop the progression of her arthritis and hopefully even get her into remission.  For now she is to continue the Methotrexate as well. She said that once we see that the Enbrel is working we can start tapering off the MTX.  

My next step is finding out how much the meds will cost (apparently it can be up to $2000 a month without insurance).  Luckily we do have health insurance but it could still be pretty pricey.  The doctor did mention some sort of  offset that Enbrel will provide you with if you are a new patient so she is working on getting info on that for me.  Once we actually have the meds in hand Ben and I will have to go attend training on how to give the shot to her.  I have read and heard that it's not that hard and is probably more difficult for the parent than the child.  Still this was my worst case scenario so I am not too happy about any of it.  I know things could be much worse so I am just trying to be thankful for that. 

Other than that life is pretty good.  We are in full school mode and the kids are already looking forward to the holidays ahead.  It was funny....when leaving the docs office today she said "Have a nice Thanksgiving" and I looked at her like she was crazy.  She then pointed out that our next appt would be in December.....yikes!!  
Alex and a friend at a Halloween church event. 
So, just in case it is another few months before I post again....Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!   

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MAY??? What happened to Jan, Feb, March and April!!!!!

Wow, time is truly flying by!  So much has happened since a few short months ago.  Lets see...well there was Easter, four birthdays under this one little roof (me, hubby, Alex and Ryan),  a great weekend away with Alex at the Revolve Tour (more on that later), The Royal Wedding (ok, this wasn't MY life but still fun to watch) and Osama.

Where to begin.  First and foremost an update on Alex since after all this blog is about her!  Ha Ha.....she is doing great.  Her blood labs continue to come back clear and her new MRI that she did in March came back fine.  Unfortunately I was sick and did not take her to her last appointment so I had to get a report from Alex and Ben (my husband).  For the most part the relay of information was great but what I really wanted to know was did the MRI show any less swelling.  Note to Dr and ask!   What we did learn is that as of now the doctor feels that the Methotrexate has started to work.  She felt visually the swelling has gone way down....which it has.  She did not feel that it was time to start Enbrel shots which was the best news of all.  So, we are just back into status quo I guess.  She will continue to take MTX every Friday and go in for regular blood labs.  Her doctor appointments have been changed from monthly to every other month which is nice.  She has an appointment next week for another vision test to just be sure everything looks good and that's it.  I'm happy to not have much to report.

We had a great weekend back in April at the Revolve Tour.  If you have a teenage daughter I highly recommended it for next year.  Basically it is a  Christian concert/conference.  This years theme of the tour was Dream On.  So lots of the talks were about following your dreams until the end, never to give up no matter what. God has a plan for all of us and he will lead these young girls to where they need to be.  My favorite part was the music.  We were lucky to see Hawk Nelson, Britt Nicole and Jamie Grace.  All of them are amazing.  We had a very special moment thanks to my cousin Karen.....she happens to be friends with Britt so we got to meet up with her.  The girls and moms were so happy.  She is an amazing singer.  Here is her website if you are interested.   Thank you Karen again for such a fun time!  Here is a link to Karens website too :)

Ok, ok...enough of that!  I need to go and take Alex to youth group.  Thanks for reading and take care!!  Happy May!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Arthritis and Rain Don't Mix!

I have  heard people complain about achy joints when the weather gets bad but seeing it happen is painful for me!  This morning Alex had a pre-scheduled doctor appointment but while waiting in the waiting room I decided to take a new picture of her hand.  I was so surprised to see how swollen it was!  It didn't take long for me to put two and two's the weather!  Not only did her finger joints look red and painful but her knuckles were no where to be found.  The top of her hand is swollen and puffy. 
The doctor ordered another MRI to see if there is any progress that she could not see through the swelling. 
 If the swelling is the same or worse then we will be adding the dreaded Enbrel.  Now....this is only dreaded because I (or Ben) have to give it to her in a shot! I know its not as hard as it seems and that I will do just fine but who wants to have to give their child a shot.....EVER! Here is a little info on Enbrel for those interested.  

Enbrel is used to relieve the symptoms of certain autoimmune disorders (conditions in which the immune system attacks healthy parts of the body and causes pain, swelling, and damage. .Injection may decrease your ability to fight infection from bacteria, viruses, and fungi and increase the risk that you will get a serious or life-threatening infection.

As always thanks for the prayers.  I will update you when anything changes.  If you or someone you know has experience with Enbrel I would love to hear about it.  My neighbor Shelly is currently on Enbrel and has nothing but great things to say about it so that is comforting.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Loving 2011 Already!

So far I would have to say the year is off to a good start!  Everyone is happy and healthy and I have been enjoying spending time with Alex since she has an extra week of Christmas break. 
Her doctor appointment went fine and pretty uneventful.  The great news was that her lab results all came back fine. The doctor was looking for any signs that the medicine (methotrexate) was causing damage to her organs and so far it is not.  On visual inspection though she felt that Alex was still showing a significant amount of swelling and is just stunned that she has no pain or stiffness.   She said that Alex must be blocking the pain because it would be impossible to have that much swelling and no discomfort.  I believe she must have inherited a high pain tolerance from my mom whom after open heart surgery did not complain once of being in any pain!   
She will be having another MRI in February or March to compare to the original one to see if there is any reduction in inflammation.  They will also scan her left hand and feet to get a base reading on those areas.  

Other than that life around here is getting back to normal.  The Christmas tree is still up and frankly I don't want to take it down!  I love the holidays and don't want them to end.  Maybe this weekend...sigh.....

Happy New Year once again!