Monday, October 31, 2011

Keep on Walking . . . Same Meds for Now

Anna had appointments with both the pediatric ophthalmologist and the pediatric rheumatologist in mid-October. While I wanted to be really optimistic about the possibility of lowering some medication doses (since her eyes had been clear since June), I'm also a realist at heart. I've learned in the past twelve years to go into appointments with NO expectations (good or bad). Life just is, and we deal with each day as it comes. Good thing I didn't have my heart set on lowering the medications, because a trace of inflammation has returned to Anna's left eye. Not bad by any means, but no longer clear, as the past two appointments had revealed. We stay on the same doses of Humira and Methotrexate for the foreseeable future.

So Anna is back on Pred Forte eye drops---twice a day, in hopes to nip this new little flare in the bud. He started out by prescribing it once a day, but changed to twice a day when he had his assistant take the pressure measurement. In the left eye, it was 13. While that's a good number, it's significantly lower than the previous two appointments. One time (long ago), he mentioned that often when there's a flare of inflammation, it can be accompanied by a lower pressure number. I'm guessing that he thinks that number is more indicative of a flare of inflammation rather than a fluky, short-lived little bump in the road.

Anna's joints are fine. We're in the process of thinking about the second phase of orthodontics (braces are SO expensive, so this is long-term thinking at this point). But since we're thinking about that, we're going to schedule an MRI of the jaw in the early part of the new year. The pediatric rheumatologist wants to check for any active arthritis in the TMJ before we begin any orthodontic process.

While this news may not be the best, I find that we have so much to be thankful for (Anna has rarely experienced side effects on these very potent medications; we have wise, caring, and skilled physicians caring for her--and only 20 miles away from our home---we don't have to travel for hours to see specialits; she's adjusted to getting shots every ten days, and no longer cringes at the smell of alcohol even though she still can't stand the smell). I'm a firm believer in focusing on the positive. Every day is a gift (to each of us), no matter whether we have medications to take or some pain to live with. God loves us, but none of us was EVER promised a perfect, carefree, or long life. In fact, just the opposite. ("I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33 NLT) Nevertheless (LOVE that word!), we hold on to our faith, our anchor (Jesus--our hope). God can and does use EVERYTHING (good or bad) to show us (and others through us) His love and His presence in our lives. We continue to experience that. And we keep on walking, knowing that never once in this life have we ever walked alone.