Been fighting RA for over 25 years and have been on steroids all 25. Live on a small (10 acre) walnut ranchette in rural Durham, northern CA. Used to have all sorts of livestock, but we are now down to 3 lady cats. I 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 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 1982, step daughter born in 1987. I started in genealogy because I am an adoptee who has found her birthfamily 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 tried gold shots, Humira, methotrexate, Enbrel, plaquenil and Remicade, Arava, etc. Remicade was the most effective treatment for me and I hope to convince my rheumatologist to put me back on it. I am currently on Simponi Aria and it seems to have some limited effectiveness! 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 had 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 cause 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. 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. While I wait for my dr to return from vacation, I have been just living with the pain. 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 and 4 senior lady cats! (ages 17, 16, 11, and not sure). My daughter and cats are VERY protective of me (I call them my herd of pit bulls!) and as my daughter 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 kids and cats!