Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some More Updating

I am celebrating a one-year AND a two-year anniversary around this time.  So, I thought I would mark the anniversaries with updates.


Almost two years ago, I had LASIK surgery to correct a VERY bad problem with near-sightedness.  And I'm still not unhappy that I did it.  Granted, there ARE things that I'm not happy about--mostly having almost NO ability to focus on things that are close.  (It makes doing a GREAT manicure next to impossible.)   There is a certain range that, even with reading glasses, I can't get in full focus.  But, I'm not too upset about it.  The freedom from regular glasses is WONDERFUL.  I almost have forgotten what it is like to have to wear glasses to see. 

I would do the surgery again in a heartbeat.  It is a wonderful thing.  However, I think I would be more inclined to have the surgery that corrects for BOTH near- AND far-sightedness.  I was too worried about having THE BEST distance vision, so I opted for the single correction.  Now, I wonder if I made the right decision.  I'm not sure how long--if EVER--it would have taken me to get used to having each eye being dominant for different usage.  I was very afraid that I would feel nauseous and not be able to get used to the correction.  (They showed me what it would be like--with special glasses--if they did the double correction.  I didn't like the feeling.)  

The most fun I'm having after the surgery is buying reading glasses and sunglasses.  After years and years of putting the same glasses on my face day after day, it is great to be able to wear new glasses whenever I want--and be able to afford them.  Glasses as a fashion accessory:  a very new concept for me.


A little over a year ago I made the decision to go on Enbrel for my psoriasis.  This was a decision that I didn't make quickly--actually I had been thinking about it for years.  The side effects--mainly the fact that the immune system can be compromised--was the big reason why I didn't start on it sooner.  However, I was flaring very badly and decided I had just had enough, so I began Enbrel.  And so far, so good.  

I had moderate to severe psoriasis.  At least 5% of my body was covered--and it could have been 10% or more.  Of course, most of the psoriasis lesions couldn't be seen by most people.  My scalp was bad, as well as my fingernails.  I had lesions covering a good amount of my stomach, back, elbows, and areas of my legs.  After a year, I am almost in complete remission.  My scalp is completely clear, my stomach and back are clear, and my fingernails are beginning to heal.  I have a few small spots on my elbows and knees, but the combined areas of my skin that are compromised today makes up 1%* or less of my body.  I think I can say that Enbrel has been a resounding success for me.

As for side effects.  Well, there are a few.  I still have injection-site reactions.  Almost every time I give myself an injection, I get a red, warm area around where the needle went in.  For the most part, everything is back to normal within a day, so this isn't a problem for me. The only other 'side effect' is when I have to quit my injections when I get an infection--such as when I got the swine flu in November.  I didn't have a flare while I was off of the drug for the two weeks, but I don't like taking the chance.  But, I have been lucky and haven't had an increase in infections like some people have had.

I still don't know what will happen to me now that this health care bill is in place.  So far, we still have our same prescription insurance, but I haven't seen the new contract and don't know if there are changes coming up in the next year or so.  If I have to pay full-price for the Enbrel, I will have to go off of it--there just is no way we can afford $20,000  a year so that I can have clear skin.  But, I'm trying to not think about it--and just enjoy what I am experiencing right now.

*The palm of the hand equals 1% of the skin.


meleah rebeccah said...

I am dying to have the LASIK surgery but my eye doctor tells me to wait till Im 40 years old. It must be nice to buy glasses as accessories!

And I REALLY hope you dont ever have to pay $20,000 a year for Enbrel! I want you to have that clear skin FOREVER!


cmk said...

Are you having the LASIK for reading? If so, I guess I can understand the 'waiting till you're 40.' By the time you have yours, I'll probably be needing a tune-up myself. ;)

I'm keeping my fingers crossed on the cost of the meds. Also, I'm hoping that it will continue to work for me--some people do have it quit. But, there are enough other biologics that could be tried, so I should be fine.