Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ills that flesh is heir to, continued

Rheumatologist appointment this afternoon--made only this morning, so I suppose someone cancelled--and the tentative diagnosis is that I'm in the 30% of palindromic arthritis cases who graduate to rheumatoid arthritis.
Pretty much what I'd expected, since the second knuckle of my left hand has been swollen since February, unlike the usual palindromic thing where a random joint swells and goes down again within a couple of days (sometimes only hours). The right hand has been fine, so I wasn't symmetrical, but arthritis is just shifty and variable and unreliable. Though not as bad as lupus (It's never lupus) that way.

So, new drugs! Going to add methotrexate, which is such an exciting drug that the rheumatism website wants to show you an exclamation-marked video about it! It's on youtube! It is cooler and more exciting than me!
Methotrexate is a chemotherapy drug, but not to worry, because the doses for arthritis are teeny-tiny (a technical term) compared to the whacking huge doses you'd get for chemo. Oh, and they're not quite sure why it works for arthritis, just the way they're not quite sure why hydroxychloroquin (a quinine derivative) works for arthritis.
I think they may know why naproxen works. Maybe. It would be nice if I were taking one drug whose workings were comprehensible.
RA is a possibility I've been aware of from the first diagnosis, so I'm not upset. I'll just have to see what happens down the road, and cope with it as it comes (which is how life works anyway). Dr. Northcott seems pretty positive about the methotexate, which I keep wanting to call meths, and I tend to be lucky with side effects, so there's no point fussing.

What is more than a little annoying is that alcohol is pretty much out. One drink a week is what the pamphlet says. Of course this happens just as I've found a local cider that I like. I thought I didn't like cider (I don't like beer--it smells bad to me) until Mark got me to try a local still cider while we were in Suffolk, and it was lovely. Like what white wine ought to be (this will make no sense to you if you prefer white wine) and nothing like the fizzypop cider that comes in cases.
I stopped at Sea Cider on the way back from the ferries, caught their birthday celebration, and bought two bottles--Pippins, and Kings and Spies. Both were very nice indeed but I thought Kings and Spies had the edge.
If I can only have one drink a week, it had better be a good one.

In other news, I've almost caught up with the Transparent apples, and the blackberries have come in, forcing me to learn to make pies. Honestly, pastry intimidates me. It's one of those deceptively simple things, like gesso sottile, where the ingredients may be exactly right but all hope of success lies in having the right touch, and preferably decades of experience. So even though the pie looks okay, and the fruit sets, and slices can be cut and it all gets eaten, in some subtle way it can still be a failure.
Which is why I prefer making cookies. Pastry seems like a sneaking incursion of the imponderables of cooking into the rational world of baking, where if you follow the recipe you come through safely.
The third blackberry pie I've made in the last week is cooling on the baking centre now. This is not my fault.


avo said...

>> Pastry seems like a sneaking incursion of the imponderables of cooking into the rational world of baking, where if you follow the recipe you come through safely.


batgirl said...

Maybe this is where the the key lime pie = short story analogy comes in, with the pastry.
All this time I've been fixating on the filling. No wonder I haven't got it right. Of course, if it is the pastry, I'm snookered anyways.

Lulu said...

Sorry to hear about the RA, but glad that your rheumatologist is sanguine about the "meth". Although "chemo drug" sounds scary.

I am having excellent results with an anti-depressant called apo-amotryptilene (I think); ironically, it depresses me to tell people that I am on an anti-depressant. Like your chemo drug, the dose is so small that if I was actually taking it for depression, I'd still be depressed. But it sure stops the constant soreness.

This business of only drinking once a week? That would not fly in this household, I can tell you that.

batgirl said...

The chemo drug for arthritis is replacing the malarial drug for arthritis, so I'm not surprised at all that an anti-depressant would be used for another purpose. Antihistamines are better as sleeping pills than anything else, and I have a male friend who takes Midol for his migraines.
The rheumatologist said 'ideally no alcohol, realistically no more than 2 drinks at an occasion, 3 drinks in a week.' Given that 3 drinks puts me to sleep, this is annoying me to an unreasonable degree.