A Year On Methotrexate

It’s easy for someone to joke about scars if they’ve never been cut.

William Shakespeare

I’ve been on Methotrexate for a year. It’s hard to believe, because it feels like just yesterday I took it for the first time. Methotrexate is a chemo drug, but it has also been found to help people who are suffering from autoimmune diseases, it is my immunosuppressant. To make it simple, it suppresses the immune response in my body. I’ve been sick for 2 years, for the first year, I was on a different immunosuppressant that did not work for me. It honestly made me feel worse, and that contributed to my downward spiral into severe depression. So, a year ago, my doctors decided to start me on Methotrexate. I was terrified because I’ve heard horror stories about this medication, but my doctors were really encouraging, and hopeful that it would work for me within 4-6 weeks. I’m not going to lie, the first 2 months were really rough. Methotrexate can cause really bad side effects, and I was dealing with a lot of them. I was extremely tired (from both my autoimmune diseases and the medicine), horrible mouth sores, and severe nausea. I literally did not get off of my couch for a month because I was so out of it. Methotrexate is so strong, that I can only take it once a week. To help with the side effects, I was taking the highest does of folic acid. It obviously wasn’t working for me, so my doctors also put me on Leucovorin, which is basically a prescription strength dose of folic acid that they also give to chemo patients. It is the only reason that I’m still taking Methotrexate today, and I’m so thankful. After my side effects were taken care of, I really started to notice the change in my body on the Methotrexate. I know it’s hard for people to understand what my life was like before this medication, but I’m going to try to explain it anyway. Before Methotrexate, I woke up in severe pain every single morning, it would take me 5 minutes to get down the stairs because I was so incredibly stiff. My hands were so messed up by the arthritis, that they were so swollen you couldn’t see my knuckles. I couldn’t hold a pen, I couldn’t brush my hair, and I struggled to get dressed by myself. Super hot temperatures were bad for me, and super cold temperatures were bad for me. The pain from my illnesses was taking away my ability to live my life. But within the past year, I’ve gotten my life back. I find it funny that the things I’m now thankful for in my life, I never would’ve thought I’d be thankful for. I’m thankful for my access to the best doctors, the best care, and the best medications. Being on Methotrexate has given me the ability to dive again, give my all to school and work, and experience the two most amazing vacations this summer. It’s also given me the ability to get down the stairs in the morning and it’s given me back the use of my hands. Those little things are what I’m most thankful for. Of course there are some trade offs to being on Methotrexate, I can not get pregnant on it, and I can not drink a lot of alcohol on it. It has also given me constant mouth sores, I have them every single day, so I’ve just learned to live with them. Some of my fingers bend sideways a little bit because of the lasting effects of my arthritis, but it doesn’t really matter to me, as long as I can still use them. But believe me, I will take mouth sores and bent fingers over all of the other pain I’ve experienced every single time. So, this post is just a thank you to the medication that has saved my life. If you told me a year ago that I would be doing this well, I would have laughed in your face. But now I believe it, and it’s because of Methotrexate. So here’s to living life as healthy as a chronically ill person can!

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