I have RA. That’s Rheumatoid Arthritis. Had I become symptomatic twenty years ago I’d be disabled by now and unable to type. Because of science and research (and insurance) I’m in really good shape. I take a handful of pills each day and an injection each month. Once in a while you’ll hear me moan about the medicine, but for the most part I love the medicine, hate the disease, love the medicine.
At my last visit with the rheumatologist we decided to add another pill to the mix. Like I said, I’m in a good shape but I’m only 41 and If I look at the other women in my family that means I’ve got another 55 or so years where I need these joints to function. Slowing the disease down is good, but we’re going aggressive, we’re looking to arrest the disease.
Here is the conversation we had.
MD: You’re still menstruating, correct?
MD: If we add this medicine I need to know that you’ve got birth control that is 100%. The birth defects would leave a baby incompatible with life.
ME: Oh I’m covered. I’ve got an IUD, this is a closed up shop [waving over my middle]
MD: And those are 100%? [he’s still writing notes in his pad and to be fair most of his patients stopped menstruating long ago] I’ll just need to contact your OB.
ME: You don’t need to contact him.
MD: [a little startled and looking at me quizzically] I just need to confirm…
ME: [interrupting] You really don’t need to confirm. I have an IUD the chances of me getting pregnant are miniscule and if I did get pregnant on that drug I’d have an abortion.
My doctor looked confused, like this wasn’t the discussion we were supposed to have but it was the discussion we needed to have. I’m 41, my “baby” is ten and I’m done having kids. If I wasn’t a pharmaceutical dumping grounds and I got pregnant I’m sure I’d be happy, or I’d find a way to be happy… maybe. But there’s a time in everyone’s life to have babies. I went on ad nauseum explaining to him why this wasn’t my time to have babies and I assured him that I wanted to be better. I want to be well and that no babies would be part of the equation. I have two great kids to raise, I wouldn’t stay pregnant just so they could watch a baby die.
I’m 41 and I didn’t want my Rheumatologist hopping on the phone with my Gynecologist to get a promise that I wouldn’t get pregnant. I’m a mother of two and a wife of one. I’m middle aged, middle income and I used to be politically moderate.
And then everyone wanted to get involved with my uterus.