We bought a new car last week, and, as exciting as that is, that wasn’t the best thing that happened. It was one of two best things.
I had my annual rheumatologist visit July 22. This office visit is the check-in to see that the prescribed medications are working, that you are not having too many side effects, and to offer a general wellness check. I came with documentation — all the months of blood work since February, including the final lab work in late May, the one with sed rate at 15, platelets at 366. I knew it was good news then, but it was time to see what the rheumatologist thought of all of this.
He asked me how I was feeling. I said great. “Really? What changed?” he asked.
I told him: “I quit taking Methotrexate. I went vegan and I exercise every day. And I feel fantastic. No pain.”
“Really!” he seemed surprised. Then he whispered, “You found the cure.” I’m not sure whether he was being sarcastic. But he kept staring at the numbers on the page. Then he asked what my cholesterol was before the test. Sadly, I didn’t do a before/after comparison for cholesterol. I was focused on inflammation and sed rates. He laughed. “Oh, that’s the payoff! That may have been dramatic too! Now you’ll never know.”
He cautioned that vegan food wasn’t necessarily anti-inflammatory, so I told him I was focused on foods that were. He asked where I got my B-12 and iron (no protein questions!) and then, seemingly satisfied with my answers, admitted he “really didn’t know much about nutrition,” but that “this appeared to be working for me.”
I asked him if he had any other patients who had done this. “Only one. And he was a physician. And he had a different issue, not RA.” He didn’t elaborate.
He concluded with, “Well, I think we’re on an as-needed basis relationship for you now. You can call us if you need something.” He also cautioned that I “was on a thin wire.” And I could not cheat on this. He said that RA has loud and quiet periods, and perhaps this was just a quiet period coinciding with my diet change. But, overall he seemed satisfied with the results. He also said I could continue to use his standing order for blood work, originally designed to monitor my reactions to Methotrexate, to now monitor inflammatory markers.
What this means is, I never have to see him again.
He had one final bit of advice: “You realize that no one will do this,” he cautioned. “People by and large generally don’t change their diets.”
But I did.
And as far as the Methotrexate and Prednisone, my little friends in the fight against RA?
I can throw them away.