Over the past few weeks, I’ve had to stop my Enbrel injections twice. One week it was because I felt really ill with a sore throat and feverish symptoms, spending most of the time in bed. After a week without Enbrel, my joints stiffened up considerably, my fingers became puffy, and I needed help getting out of the bath and out of a chair. This rapid deterioration was the reason I put myself back on the medication. Enbrel had been making a difference to my quality of life. Then I had a blood test which showed low neutrophils and the hospital asked me to stop injecting. After this, I had a ‘flare-up’ with my lungs – directly linked to my bronchiectasis. So I’m on antibiotics for up to 2 weeks but cannot take Enbrel.
Pausing Enbrel worries me as I’ve heard stories of people coming off it for various reasons, then trying it again without success. I really hope it works again, as I’m running out of options to treat the rheumatoid disease/arthritis. On the positive side, this enforced break should give my neutrophils a chance to go back up to normal levels. And continuing to inject Enbrel while having a lung exacerbation wasn’t an option, as it would be counter-productive (i.e. take even longer to get better).
Apart from these set-backs with my health, I’ve managed to see a few friends and to visit a few art exhibitions to keep my spirits up. I never thought I would be craving such a powerful biologic as Enbrel when it took me a long time to even contemplate taking it. I’ve had a glimpse of how it can be life-changing (not dramatically in my case, but enough to start making a difference to my joints and fatigue). Hopefully, when I restart the drug, it will be just as effective as before.