Don’t get too excited; I’m not 100% sure how much I’m “back” in my blogosphere. But I have been getting the desire to revive this space and come off of my hiatus. In saying that, when I officially do come back, I want this blog to branch out into more of a lifestyle space. I think my break from blogging stemmed from burn out of “Chronically Kristin.” What I mean is that I spent so much time and energy last year in physically dealing with my health, that virtually speaking about it, taking on freelance work speaking about it, and organizing more opportunities became too much. I honestly just got sick of my chronic diseases and talking about them. Don’t get me wrong: that has always been one of the main goals of this blog, and I envision it staying that way somewhat, but as much as my diseases are a part of me, they aren’t nearly the only parts. And I want to highlight and talk about that more. So! More to come on that.
One thing I did want to do is publish a true-to-form health update. So many things have changed for me in the past 8 months that this seems like a logical place to start if I’m going to be back in the blogging game.
As most of you know, I spent 2016 in a state of flux when it came to my health and diagnoses. After a second opinion, a detox off of all my medications, new symptoms, new treatments, tests, etc., I did finally receive a new diagnosis, and ultimately, a much better path of care and disease management. At the end of 2016, I was officially diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis instead of Ankylosing Spondylitis.
I honestly can’t explain the relief and happiness that comes with that official distinction. That probably sounds strange to be grateful and happy about something that isn’t necessarily “good” news. But the fact of the matter is, this diagnosis has answered dozens of questions that have been inexplainable and unanswered for the past 5 years. To have a name to EVERY symptom I’m experiencing is something I thought I would have to give up on attaining. It’s unbelievably calming just to have a name, a diagnosis, and the right one, finally.
In addition to that, I have a treatment (a new biologic/anti-TNF blocker injection specifically for RA) that is working. And legitimately working, not just taking the edge off. My inflammation levels are 10 and below; to put that into perspective, a healthy person’s inflammation levels should be 3 or below. Before this, mine were over 200. Suffice it to say: we’re officially in the positively managed disease range. Most importantly, I’m feeling better than I have in an entire year. That’s not to say I have zero symptoms and I don’t still have bad days: let’s be real, these diseases aren’t going to hibernate that well. But I can’t ask for better management than I have currently.
Another plus is that because the treatment is working so well, I’m able to ween off of the chemo injections too. I’m already down to a half dose for those shots, and depending on what my blood tests show in a couple weeks, I will come completely off of chemo. By June 15, I will more than likely be chemo-free!
All rambling aside, that’s about where we’re at in this health journey of mine. I honestly couldn’t be happier about where I am right now. I just cross my fingers that my body will allow Actemra (current biologic I’m using) to work for years to come. Fingers crossed, folks!
As always, xoxo