This is the advice my rheumatologist gave me last night thus giving me hope in dealing with my condition. I am generally an optimistic person; however, my rheumatoid arthritis has somehow taught me to be less optimistic. For those of us with RA, we know quite well that there is no cure for RA and it is amazing still how much unsolicited advice we receive from non-medical professionals and non-suffers that, if we do this or that, we can control or “cure” our condition. I am will frown upon those people later. Right now, I am feeling quite optimistic about the information I have received from my doctor.
The goal of combination treatment in patients with active, yet early, moderate to severe RA is to improve remission chances and stop progression of the disease within one year, this compared to single treatment with one drug. The treatment also increases the ability of patients to continue to do their jobs – this according to The Lancet (Volume 357, Issue 9266, Pages 1418-1418 K. Senior).
So what defines remission? According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria for determining clinical remission include:
• morning stiffness less than or equal to 15 minutes
• no fatigue
• no joint pain
• no joint tenderness or pain on motion
• no soft tissue swelling in joints or tendon sheaths
• erythrocyte sedimentation rate (a blood test which measures inflammation) less than or equal to 30 in females and 20 in males.
I am hopeful and I am strong and I will continue to be. Finding out I have RA was a life turning experience for me. It has taught me not to take life for granted, to appreciate everything in my life and mostly, not to sweat the small stuff. Of course, some days are tougher than others, but I know what I am capable of and what I am capable of is living with RA and making the best of it.