Nips, Lips, Hips, ‘N Fingertips

{February 15, 2007}   Why I hate to take Celebrex

First of all, I apologize for not writing for months! I moved my business from a way-too-time-consuming YAHOO!-hosted website to an easy-to-build eBay store; my family and I have been ill (we had the whooping cough! and a nasty cold that lasted over two weeks, including a record-breaking five and a half days and six nights of fever with yet another febrile seizure!); I bought a sewing maching (yes, me, a sewing machine!); I have been going to aqua classes at the local rec center; and we are in the process of taking classes to become certified as a foster-adoptive family. 

So I’ve been taking Celebrex since sometime in September for Osteoarthritis (OA). I finally saw a Rheumatologist, at the advice of my PCP (Primary Care Provider, not street drug) and after an extensive bone scan, some bloodwork and more X-rays, I was diagnosed with “severe, widespread OA”. It is mostly in my neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and lower back. I do not yet have painful ankle or wrist joints, which is a saving grace since I like to do a lot of things with my hands. My knuckles occasionally ache in the Winter, and used to be much more painful whenever I played the cello and guitar, two time-consuming hobbies I have since given up only because I am a full-time at-home momma now, not because it hurt too much.

Anyway, I have tried Celebrex at the lowest dose possible despite much anxiety about taking such a risky prescription drug. I once had a client who took Celebrex, plusI’ve heard in the TV commercials about the risk of liver problems and stomach bleeding, and I’m the poster child for GI problems. Call me crazy, but I don’t take lightly the risk of serious liver problems and stomach bleeding “that may occur without warning” and be “potentially fatal”. I’m a mother, and the thought of leaving my two boys behind just because I wanted to get some relief from joint pain is more than I can bear.

I couldn’t even read the Patient Information. I had DH read it and then boil it down for me as it makes me crazy with worry and I think that I tend to induce the symptoms in myself when I know what they are. So far, I’ve had threeof the less-common side effects including darkened urine, facial swelling, and weight gain (10 pounds since I started on it about 5 months ago, even though I am far more active since being on it and not being in so much pain). I started out on the twice daily dose, but I experienced heart palpitations and dizziness upon standing up. One night, I even thought I was having a heart attack and almost called 911. I called my doctor the next day and she recommended that I cut the dosageback to once daily. I did so, and I was still terrified to take it, but it helps. And even though it really does help, I hate to take it!

For the record, I have tried the following (with some relief, though not lasting): Rhus. Tox. (a homeopathic remedy), fish oil (most recently,  krill oil), Reiki, an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise (aqua classes and weight-bearing exercise/weight-lifting to strengthen the muscles that support the joints), and yoga. I have been trying to lose weight for over a year now, and I have also been diagnosed with “Metabolic Syndrome” for which I was prescribed speed (phenterfine) that had its own set of risks and which I decided was first and foremost not safe to take while I am still breastfeeding (you can find out more about by looking up the drug phenterfine in the reference guide Medications and Mother’s Milk by Thomas Hales).

I hate to take Celebrex, but here I have been off of it for only 48 hours now and I am in a great deal of pain- especially in my knees. Our house has a multi-level floor plan, with four levels and four sets of stairs, and I need to be able to ascend and descend them as needed to take care of our children and our house.

I was going to stop taking Celebrex for Valentine’s day- I don’t know why, but when I get some idea in my brain, I go all the way with it- but I gave in and called in my prescription to the pharmacy just now. I also looked up Weight Watchers and there is a meeting location “0 miles” from me so I am going to go to a meeting this evening at 6:15 p.m.

This will be my third time joining Weight Watchers. I lost a good amount of weight with WW after my first was born (and thanks to breastfeeding on demand until he was eighteen months old), and although I didn’t stick with it after my second son was born, it was mostly because the “nearest” location was just too far away in downtown Ogden, and the time of day when I could go to meetings was the worst time of day for traffic so it took me thirty minutes to get there. I also tried to go to a “Mommy and Me”  WW meeting but it was a joke- with my two boys in tow, it felt more like “Fussy Baby Brother, Mommy & IT’S ALL ABOUT ME”. My oldest was too old to be entertained by the baby toys that were provided (and wouldn’t have anything to do it the activities and books I brought along for him), and my youngest was just too loud and obnoxious, fussing the whole time and wanting to nurse which involved a great deal of exposure and juggling on my part. Nonetheless, it was the only way to keep him quiet, so I did it, and likewise suffered the consequences (weird looks, no one wanting to be my partner when we were to pair up for an activity- basically, I was socially ostracized for nursing in public.)

So tonight I’m off to Weight Watchers, because I am at least 75 pounds overweight and that has to make my OA worse. I don’t think my weight has *caused* my OA- in fact, I think it is the other way around- but I have to do everything I can to feel better. I know I’m way too young to hurt like this, and I am just.not.ready for injections and surgery for my knee pain.

I hate to take Celebrex, but I’m going to take until I am at least 25 pounds lighter, and then try to come off of it again. I will continue to do that every 25 pounds until I am at my ideal weight. If I go off Celebrex then, and I am still in a great deal of pain, I will most likely consider the injections. The older folks with OA and RA in my aqua class swear by them!


et cetera