Methotrexate Journey – Week Two

I’m pretty sure that ginger is my new hero.

This week I am moving from 2.5 mg to 5 mg of MTX. So I anticipated a lot more nausea than last week. But thankfully I planned ahead. Since I know that ginger helps manage nausea, I started with ginger tea on Saturday morning. And had about five small pieces of crystallized ginger in the afternoon and evening Saturday. I may ultimately take ginger capsules, but wanted to start with “real foods” since I could see what my dose really would be. (Can never be sure that supplements deliver what the label says.)

Sunday morning I decided to do one of my two intense yoga classes of the week. The theory was that if I’m MTX-tired on Monday, I won’t have to drag myself through a hard class again until Thursday. Normally, I have a smoothie (mostly veggies & fruit) every morning. So after yoga I made a carrot/orange/ginger smoothie. Have to say I got a little overzealous with the ginger … but fundamentally it’s a good flavor.

After the smoothie, I took my two tabs of MTX (and all my other meds/vitamins). Then I just settled down to do some laundry and watch a couple shows from the DVR. Nothing like a little laziness to make me feel better! I also munched a few ginger snaps … which was mostly just a yummy indulgence. The cookies really don’t have as much “active ingredient” as the crystallized ginger.

By 4pm I’d only had minor queasiness … nothing at all as intense as last week. However, the tiredness did start to set in and was solved by a short nap.

By 7pm I was ready to declare ginger the hero of the day! Now the next test of the 5mg will be how tired I am on Monday …

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My Methotrexate Journey – week 1

The rheumatologist says, “We have to treat your RA aggressively. We want you to feel young and stay active, plus this will keep your life expectancy up where it should be. So let’s add methotrexate next.” Okay, I’m not a hard sell … in fact I was worried that I would have to sell him on MTX. Apparently not.

Despite all the things I’ve read online about wicked MTX side effects, I’m on board with this medicine. Not willing to take any chances with my joints, which so far are in pretty good shape. The good thing is that I’ve also read some great ideas online about how to mitigate the MTX side effects. Hoping to find a good balance between benefit and downsides … and that’s really all up to my body.

I filled the MTX prescription on Thursday, along with a scrip for 1 mg daily of folic acid. Decided to start the folic acid right away, but waited on the MTX until Sunday night. (Last night.) I also have tried to add more folate-rich food into my diet – dark, leafy greens and citrus. That’s easy!

You need to know this about me … I’m not good at patience! So the days between Thursday and Sunday were full of anticipation for me. I spent more time than I probably should have wondering what my side effects would be. But I really wanted to get on a Sunday schedule with MTX.

First week, I’ll take just 2.5 mg. Next week we’ll move to 5 mg. The following week to 7.5 mg. And then the final dose of 10 mg in week 4. More weeks that I’ll have to be patiently waiting to see how the full dose affects me and my life.

Yesterday evening our family had a birthday dinner for one of the kids. Taco dinners are a favorite … and a moment of great gluttony for most of us! Considering I didn’t know how the MTX would make me feel, it kind of sucked to moderate my taco intake. (More leftovers for another day!) But I also never do well with strong medicines on an empty stomach. So … I ate up. And then had birthday cake. No wine, no coffee … which generally upset both my stomach and my sleep.

After dinner I opened the MTX bottle, and my first thought was “oh these are just little pink pills … so little … how bad could it be?” Weird thought, huh? Took the pill and went to watch a particularly engaging TV show. Thank goodness for that. I was queasy and felt yucky for most of the two hour show. But nothing particularly awful. And by the time the show was over, I felt mostly normal.

I do feel a little extra tired this morning. It was harder than normal to get out of bed. But that could be the side effects of an extremely busy and emotional week … not the MTX.

So far, so good … as we say at my house.

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Quick Update

It’s been too long since I blogged! I made it through the holidays … what I learned at Thanksgiving helped a lot. And just returned from a trip to Florida to see my Mom. Boy have I noticed the way cold weather changes the way I feel … especially when I got to have a day or two of warm weather in January!

Now I am working my way through the rheumy prescribing methotrexate. More on that soon … my MTX journey starts this Sunday!

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