Steve Koerber's Old Blog

Remuera's house sold name since 1998 – 021864166

Living with Psoriatic Arthritis

Posted by Steve Koerber on November 30, 2008

Click here to view a NZ Herald article about my experience with the arthritis drug Humira.

As a postscript to the above story, Humira started to lose its effectiveness in early 2008.  Inflammation was slowly returning to my body.  Luckily I switched to an Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) funded similar TNF-Inhibitor called Infliximab (sometimes known as Remicade).

I am essentially pain free.  Blood tests show that I have no inflammation.  Life is great!  I am an active, hard-working, successful real estate salesperson and a proud father of three young children.

I feel that I have chosen a good path managing  arthritis and I am in a very good space both physically and mentally.  I welcome questions from anyone with arthritis (especially psoriatic arthritis – closely related to rheumatoid arthritis).  I may be able to help you if you are trying to navigate a path out of pain.  With respect, I don’t welcome questions from people offering magnetic mattresses and herbal pills!

Getting on and off various arthritis drugs can be a minefield.  I was on methotrexate for about 5 years and it didn’t agree with me at all.  I interviewed virtually all Auckland Rheumatologists until I found one I could relate to and who I felt was best equipped to help me navigate the minefield (Fiona McQueen).  Being persistent, not taking “no” for an answer, searching for solutions, I arrived in a good place.  Other rheumatologists I interviewed were too quick to prescribe, too slow to listen!

(PS  – after writing the second last para above I deleted the word “my” from in front of “arthritis”.  Part of my disease management process is to “not” take ownership of the disease.  A simple shift in thinking.  Works for me!)

UPDATE JULY 09 – Pharmac is likley to approve Humira for RA from 1 August 2009.  Check this link from the Arthritis New Zealand website for more details.  Interestingly though for me, even with this breakthrough, unless my DHB was kindly funding Infliximab, I would still be in pain today…but luckily I’m not!

UPDATE Mar 2010 – Going great guns.  No pain.  No inflammation.  Wow!

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4 Responses to “Living with Psoriatic Arthritis”

  1. Lesley said

    Hi Steve, I am really pleased for you, that you are so well, and gutted that I cannot get the biologics. Is the Auckland DHB the only one that funds Remicade? I live up north, have been on Methotrexate for about 4 years and it is losing its effectiveness, in my opinion. I now have certain joints that are simply not responding to treatment. How did you manage to go from paying for the biologics to getting a DHB-funded drug? Any advice you can give me about dealing with PsA would be welcomed. I’m on Mtx, Plaquenil, Naproxen, Nortriptyline. Regards, Lesley

    • Hi Lesley and thanks for your message. Probably best to talk to your Rheumatologist and ask if your local DHB will “temporarily” fund the TNF inhibitors while we all wait for across the board funding for PsA. Feel free to give me a call on 09-5241659 or 021864166 anytime. Best luck…I know how you feel!

  2. Laurie Lowther said

    Steve,
    I’m with Raoul and about to go on Humira… anything i should be aware of that is not talked about? Am sick of mtx 20mg and Arcoxia and hoping I will come off these successfully. Like you ive had this since 28yrs and PsA, Part of the rationale for Humira is to clear the skin.. any comments?
    thanks… Laurie

    • Hi Laurie, good on you. When I first went on Humira it had immediate good effects for me for both skin and pain. Apparently many don’t get the relief I experienced, so best luck with it.

      Other than tiredness – which probably comes from working so much and staying up too late, the infliximab seems to be the perfect fix for me, touch wood!

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