My checklist of pre-infusion tasks for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) has been completed. Orencia has been approved by my insurance company, TB and chest X-ray results are negative, an application for Orencia copay assistance has been completed, and I’ve educated myself on the biologic.
Neither Humira nor methotrexate did enough to lessen my symptoms. Severe joint pain in most of my joints is still occurring on a consistent basis, causing me to shuffle a heating pad between various joints throughout the day, at work and at home. Somewhat amusing, but troubling.
Orencia is a change in treatment strategy. It can be administered by infusion or injection. My doctor has recommended the infusion method to begin the treatment. It works at the T cell level, reducing the activity of T cells, which reduces activation of B cells, and subsequently reduces the inflammatory effect on the synovial lining of joints. Humira is a TNF blocker and targets the tumor necrosis factor, which can also be a source of inflammation in RA. In my case, it doesn’t seem to be the problem.
I admit to being anxious about this infusion process. My daughter has an autoimmune disease and for over 15 years I’ve accompanied her to numerous medical procedures and treatments. Each treatment carried unique risks, side effects, and discomforts. I’m burned out, stressed out, and weary of all these medical procedures. And now I’m on my own journey through the land of medical unknowns.
Part of me is hopeful, strong, and stubbornly willing to plod on through everything necessary to fight the RA that is limiting my life.
And part of me wants to curl up in my bed and say “Infusion today? No, thank you.”