It''s now just short of a week since I had the first of four Rituxan infusions. As I reported, after the infusion I felt pretty darned good. No pain for the first time in weeks, months. Almost complete freedom of movement. A lingering twinge now and then but the feeling of release from pain and restricted movement was magical.
It lasted three days.
Friday, I started noticing moderate joint pains and a dull throbbing pain in my lower back; in addition, there were signs of pain returning to my left hip, along with numbness in my left leg -- sciatica returning.
I took a Flexeril muscle relaxant as a precaution, and the pains seemed to diminish. But Saturday, they returned, focusing in different spots -- the way RA pain does, leading me to believe that I was having or trying to have another RA flare (for many weeks, weekend flares were routine). But then, almost magically, the pain of a flare seemed to disappear, and by late Saturday morning, I felt well enough to start mowing some of the out of control herbage out back.
Mistake. The pain came on again. I didn't take another Flexeril, but I did have to rest. I stayed up quite late Saturday night, monitoring my condition. When it seemed like the pain was not going to worsen, I went to bed.
When I got up Sunday morning, pains in my hips and shoulders were noticeable. Wrists and finger joints were painful as well. It was flare all right.
Later in the day, however, the pains diminished until they were almost gone. That never happened with previous flares. My neighbor Wes came over to help with the mowing, and though I didn't do much, I was able to take care of picking up some of the branches downed by the wind. No noticeable pain. Later in the day, however, when Ms Ché and I went for a supply run, I started experiencing sharp pain in my left shoulder, somewhat less pain in my right shoulder and wrist. Both knees were periodically painful as well.
So the flare isn't over. It's modified. Is that due to the Rituxan? I don't know. I'm supposed to talk to one of the nurses at the Rheumatology department tomorrow about what's been happening. On Thursday I sent an email to my rheumatologist describing my trip to the ER and what seemed to be miraculously pain free days since the Rituxan infusion.
Twice, nurses from rheumatology called me Friday to find out if I was OK. I said yes, but the flare really got going on Saturday.
So, we'll see where this latest episode goes. Right now, I'm feeling pain in my left shoulder, twinges elsewhere. But it's not nearly as bad as previous flares.
UPDATE: (Monday May 15, 2017) Word came from my rheumatologist that my "good feeling" last week was not likely due to the Rituxan -- effects don't generally kick in for several months -- but was from the high dose of steroids included in the infusion.
I reported my current symptoms -- various joint pains -- and was told that's to be expected. For the time being anyway...