Been fighting RA for over 30 years and have been on steroids all 30. Worked for many years as a medical biller and miss it very much as my Dr will not let me go back to work. My main hobby is genealogy. I started in genealogy because I am an adoptee who has found her birth family and just kept looking! I have done some consulting work in genealogy as well but prefer to help folks for free as many have done for me.
I have a small consulting business (me!) and have taught medical billing to companies wishing to start up DME & HME businesses. I have 5 adult children: a son (who is engaged to a wonderful young lady!) and step-daughter born in 1984, step-son (both parents deceased) and daughter both born in 1985, her husband born in 1981, step-daughter born in 1987.
I have tried gold shots, Humira, methotrexate, Enbrel, Plaquenil and Remicade, Arava, Simponi-Aria etc. Remicade was the most effective treatment for me. I am currently going onto Orencia and remain hopeful that something will eventually work well! I have been blessed with excellent insurance thru my husband's employer (St of CA) and have had 3 wonderful rheumatologists along the way. I have a GP that is willing to listen and try new things as I have developed Degenerative Joint and Disc Disease esp in my top 4 or 5 vertebrae. They have deteriorated to the point that surgery to fuse them is no longer possible. Obviously, this causes a lot of pain, most of which I have simply learned to live with although I do have fentanyl patches and oxycodone for breakthrough pain.
In late 2012 I had a heart attack that required the implantation of a pacemaker which helps enormously. Following the heart attack, I had a stroke which has caused some memory loss although I have recovered almost completely from it. I do walk with a cane, mostly for balance. I have broken my nose 3 different times in my life and had 2 repair surgeries for it. It seems my kidneys have gone south on me, probably due to all of the medications. I have acquired a kidney specialist due to my continuing stage 3 kidney disease. He was able to bring it from Stage 3 to NORMAL in one month and neither of us are quite sure how! I also have Fibromyalgia.
I have developed some dental problems, partly due to my birthmother's having taken Tetracycline when she was 4 months pregnant with me. I am also allergic to Tetracycline and extremely sensitive to penicillin. I have a complete plate on the bottom, but hate to wear it (excellent dentist!) and have been undergoing tooth removal followed by implantation on my upper jaw. The last round of dental surgery was the worst as my tooth roots had been very far up in the jaw and sinus cavities and became infected. This has since been cleared up and my denture and I are getting along much better.
Ask me anything and I will try to answer! I am very open to all questions and discussions, but you may find me VERY protective of my kids. My daughter is VERY protective of me and is also in the medical industry, she keeps up with my medical issues for me. She is a TRUE blessing as are all of my (adult) kids!