Monday, May 30, 2011


May was a lousy month.

I started out the month in a lot of pain. This time, it was in parts of my body that had not really bothered me before. I woke up one morning and my knees looked like grapefruits. Another night, I couldn't sleep because both of my shoulders hurt so much. Then there was the excruciating neck pain, making it difficult to drive and check my blindspot without wincing. I'd been taking the mtx/prednisone cocktail for a month and a half. Are you serious with this shit?

According to the Rheumatologist, this is not acceptable. "You should not be in this kind of pain", she remarked in her thick Russian accent. "We will have to increase your Methotrexate and start you on Humira injections as soon as possible". She wrote me the prescriptions, warning me that it could take a few weeks for my state-sanctioned insurance to approve it. Since I've gained twenty pounds on prednisone, I'm at risk for medication-induced diabetes---another great reason to get me the hell off the steroids. Not to mention the skin problems, puffy face, and chronic, gnawing cravings for Hostess Snowballs.

Almost three weeks later and no Humira. State insurance is horrendous. I have made countless phone calls to the doctor, the pharmacy, the state and as of today, still no approval. I understand that apparently each shot of Humira has a retail pharmacy price between $800-1000. Of course the state is going to argue that I should be prescribed something else. But why is it so expensive? What's in it? The plasma of some rare rainforest bird? Plutonium? Eye of Newt?

Thanks to some savvy investigative work on behalf of my Rheumy's medical assistant, we were able to determine that the pre-authorization was getting hung up simply because of the date. Supposedly, I have to prove that the Humira is medically necessary by trying another combination of cheaper meds for at least three months. This trial period expires the third week of June, after which they will approve the Humira. It's pretty jacked up considering that I've been taking my current med combo for more than six months now, but was only approved for insurance three months ago. Red freaking tape is what that is. In the meantime, she's going to supply me with a month of sample injections and will teach me on Friday how to give myself the shots.

I was laid off the second week of May from low-paying, uninspiring job. Considering how poorly managed the entire operation is, how little they are investing in things like marketing, and their overall ambivalence, I'm not at all suprised. Okay fine. I interviewed for a few different jobs, got very close on one I really wanted, and then choked at the second interview. I notified all of last year's clients that due to my extenuating medical issues this year, I will not be doing business this season. Sure, I could have made some money doing installations and landscape consulting this summer. The problem is that since I don't know how I am going to feel from one day to the next, or how physically mobile I will be, I just don't feel good about committing to do landscape jobs. It's just too iffy right now. I'm angry. I'm frustrated and disappointed. I've got a degree that I can't seem to use for employment right now because I can't rely on being able to do the work. The toughest part of looking for alternative work is convincing prospective employers that my skills are transferable. I've done a ton of administrative work, interviewing and recruiting, training and development, HR, tons and tons of writing (blogs/newsletters/catalog copy/articles, etc) and hardcore, one-on-one sales consultations. Extensive retail management, writing and developing presentations, class development and presentation. What is making this so difficult for me? Why does it feel so impossible to even get an interview?

I'm hitting a wall. I'm beginning to believe that I have no skills or abilities. It doesn't help that my body hurts in a million different places at once, I shake when I try to lift a bag of cat litter into the shopping cart at the grocery store, and my neck only turns half way. I'm finding it harder and harder to feel good about myself when my face is puffy, and my skin is thinning from the medications. Some days I feel like my body is a monster that has escaped the castle and is staggering about the countryside.

So for now, I wait. I file my unemployment, I send out resumes, I try to occupy my time with cleaning the house, baking a fruit tart, taking a nap. I don't know what to expect from the Humira shots or how I will react. I guess I just won't make any concrete plans until I have a clearer picture. I'm hanging around in purgatory like some lost soul deemed too virtuous for hell. Or waiting for a bus that never, ever comes.


  1. So sorry Jackie. The not finding a job has nothing to do with you. It's a stinky economy still. Sorry your RA is so bad.

  2. Sorry for this roller coaster ride! It truly does stink!!! I can sooo understand your frustration with the hoop jumping to get the meds...oh brother is all I can chorus in. About the job you have separate resumes written focusing on the specific job you are seeking - ie - admin resume, retail resume, etc. etc. with a focus objective in the beginning and your skill sets focused on those areas from each specific job over the years. Also a focused cover letter is a must. And the economy is still horrific, so do be patient and keep at it. Under normal circumstances it would be a time to get a job but in this market it will take perserverance and some canny techniques :-)

  3. Prednisone is the devil! I'm on it all the time for my asthma and it is a bad, bad, bad deal. Problem is - it's such a cheap and helpful anti-inflammatory - it just makes you look like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow man in the mean time. Hopefully the Humaria will give you some relief.

  4. Thanks for listening to my rant, ladies. Honestly, I'm not always this much of a bummer...I actually have been known to be fun and somewhat amusing from time to time :P
    I think that I've got to work on adjusting my mindset about what is going on---with my disease---my career---my feelings about myself. Probably spend more time engaged in experiencing life rather than thinking about it.
    Yeah!*snaps fingers* Problem solved!!