Stopping Remicade

I can’t recall if I blogged previously about my doctor’s comments about my arthritis possibly being in remission (and I’m too lazy to do a search :) ).  Anyway, I haven’t noticed any flare up in my arthritis for many many months.  I used to get some redness and swelling in one of my finger joints in my right hand about a week or two before my remicade was due, but haven’t had that for a long time.  I also used to get a really really sore back and ribs but haven’t even been too bothered with that either before my remicade.  So it is quite possible that I am in remission – which isn’t unusual for people taking biologics.  The question arises however of whether to stop taking the biologics to see if the arthritis will return.

I have read some testimonies where people who stopped biologics remained arthritis free for a year or two and then it returned, and others where they are still arthritis free.  The problem (which I know I have blogged about before) is that if one stops taking a biologic then usually they can never return to it.  I’m guessing this is something to do with the body recognizing the biologic as an invader the second time and causing a huge allergic type reaction as the immune system tries to buck it.  Or something like that.  So my dilemma is if I try and test the remission theory and I’m wrong or the arthritis returns then I’ll not be able to take remicade for it.

Previously I was not keen to take that risk since I get my remicade paid for by my employer and it works so well.  Also I’m cognizant that there is always the awful paperwork to go through if I did stop biologics and then had to apply to recommence again.  What would happen if they refused to give me a biologic!  That is a scary thought.  However to the plus side there seem to be lots of new biologics coming through so I’m sure I could find just as good a biologic to take as remicade.

Why is my general health so good now (apart from my cholesterol and nagging injuries)?  It may be because I have started replacing my breakfast with a juice drink.  My previous breakfast was in no way unhealthy however I decided to experiment with a juice drink.  I have tried this before but had terrible stomach pains.  I used to blend together a few cupfuls of kale or spinach (whichever I had on hand), protein powder and a spoonful of peanut butter to make it taste better.  It did taste quite ok but I found that it gave me intense stomach pains so I stopped it.  Recently I returned to thinking about the drink (courtesy of a Joe Rogan tweet) and decided to cut out the protein powder thinking that this is the culprit giving the stomach pains (although when I mix protein powder with milk I do not have any stomach pains).  It seems I was right.  Somehow the combination of protein powder with either spinach/kale or peanut butter causes my stomach pains.  I changed to the following – kale/spinach, whole cucumber, carrot, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger – and found that I get no stomach pain.  I need to be clear though – it tastes nasty.  Really really really nasty.  I have to hold my nose when I drink the stuff and I wince and make lots of crazy facial expressions when I drink it such that my kids laugh at me.  I burp up garlic breath for a while too so I have to chew peppermint gum.  But I don’t get any stomach pains.

The result is I have unbelievable energy afterwards and great clarity of thought.  My weight has dropped – however I think that this could easily be from my muscle wasting away since I haven’t been able to train due to my injuries.  Anyway the plan is to keep it up until I get my next LDL check, my thinking being that this healthy drink + the statins should really make it drop.  In the meantime my routine is this wince inducing healthy drink (as well as maintaining my other healthy eating throughout the day) and absolutely blow out once per week on my cheat day (currently Saturday).  It seems to be working well.

By the way, the healthy drink also makes beautiful bowel movements! :)

veges

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