After I spent yesterday perusing the blog carnival about pain scales, I came to the conclusion that a) my pain level, regardless of scale, is usually only about 2 or 3 in a few joints, with occasional forays into 4s and 5s when I’m in a flare. So when I had my 6 month check-in with the rheumatologist today, I decided that instead of asking for the next big gun treatment, I was going to ask for another stop-gap measure, something I’d read about on other people’s blogs that had never been offered to me: a pain relieving, anti-inflammatory gel.
I didn’t start off with that, of course. I told him about my last few months, about how I only flare when I’ve got big things going on (of the stressful variety. ie. Thanksgiving or Christmas) or I do something exceptionally stupid (moving furniture, driving long distances, trying to do all the Christmas crafting in one week, etc.). I told him about my prednisone tapers and how they’d helped. I told him about my in-between days when I’m feeling all right and the days that I can barely move my fingers and I’m not fine. He told me my next option was the IV drugs and physical therapy. I said “No, thank you” and then mentioned the gel. He said the only reason they hadn’t offered it was that it doesn’t always work and that it was kind of expensive. “More expensive than IV drugs and physical therapy?” No, not at all.
And so that’s what I’m doing. More prednisone when I’m flaring (with a phone call in to the office to let them know), anti-inflammatory gel for the in between pain, working on my PT at home from my PT Folder o’ Goodness, and follow up in 6 months.