In the beginning of my journey with auto immune diseases, I started with just one prescription. I was inexperienced in terms of dealing with doctors, needles and the medical field. I even remember not knowing how to swallow my pills and needing my mom to show me how to keep from choking.
I’ve come a long way since then. I now take upwards to 13 medications, most being bigger than the average pill size.
But not every prescription has been given to me to help manage my diseases. Some of them are meant to treat the side effects of what my treatment plan has caused. The medications I take to control my pain and auto immune diseases have caused damage to other parts of my body, so now I have another health issue on top of the existing ones.
I’d like to think that I’m a lot more experienced now and tend to ask more questions about what I’m putting into my body. I make informed decisions about what I will and won’t take, but no matter how much I try to explain that not taking some of my medications may cause more harm than good, there are still a few skeptics who think the risk isn’t worth it.
If there was a magical pill that could fix my problems without making me sick I would be the first person in line to buy it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist. I take natural supplements and homeopathic medicines, but I still need the aid of my physician’s precriptions to manage my conditions. Even then it isn’t always enough to keep me from being in tremendous pain.
Some of the treatments I’ve already tried caused damage to my liver, but made me feel great as far as improving my mobility and reducing inflammation. Long term use of prednisone and other anti-inflammitory drugs have left me with gastritis. The list goes on and on.
But I know that if I was to get rid of these medications my body would be worse off. As much as I hate some of the things I have to take day after day, I’m also thankful for their existence because without them I would be bedridden and left to live in intolerable pain. So I either choose to eliminate any exposure that could further damage my health, or take the risk and have a more comfortable quality of life.
It’s easier for people to judge a situation when they’re not in it. They tend to believe they wouldn’t do the same thing I’m doing because they’re not left with a handful of options. But the truth is, you never truly know how you’ll handle a situation unless you’re living it. I’m proof of that because in the past I had always refused medicine, even if it was something as simple as aspirin.
Granted, needing to take a pill to reverse the effects of another isn’t ideal. But if I’ve already tried every other treatment plan available with no avail, then that’s exactly what I’ll do until something better comes along.
Sometimes the toughest diseases need to be treated with even tougher drugs.
Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.