This will be my third Christmas with an RA diagnosis.
The first year, we visited my in-laws, and I insisted on washing all the dishes so that I could soak my aching hands in hot water. I had just started my first DMARD (plaquenil), but it hadn’t taken effect yet.
Last year we got to stay home and host all the relatives who cared to come visit. It’s much easier to have twenty people invade my house than it is to travel and walk on egg-shells in another person’s home. A full year into the RA dx, in addition to the plaquenil, I was also taking sulfasalazine and methotrexate. Knowing that my ability to fight infection was diminished, I told people that we’d love to see them, but they should stay home if anyone was sick. One family stayed home, and the rest of us had a great time. I remember that my rheumatologist wanted to start me on a biologic in early December so that I’d feel better by Christmas, but I was afraid. Afraid to give myself shots. Afraid of the potential side effects (this drug might cause cancer?!). Afraid of what would happen if the biologic didn’t work. Afraid of getting sick and being unable to recover.
This Christmas it’s back to the in-laws house. I’m concerned. One year I was pregnant and someone came with two kids who had chicken pox! Every year somebody in that branch of the family is sick. Every year, when everyone arrives, they announce that the sick person stayed home so as not to get everyone else sick. And every year, a couple hours later, the sick person shows up anyhow, because they didn’t want to miss out on seeing everyone and thought that if they could just sit in the corner, the germs would sit there with them and not float around the room infecting everyone else. It never works. It will be nice to see family, but not so nice to spend all my time paranoid that I’m going to end up sick because someone else couldn’t bear to miss the festivities.
Holidays. The time of year when families get together and share germs.
I’d like to improve my chances of surviving this Christmas without getting sick: lots of hand washing, a bottle of Purell in my pocket. I wonder how offended people would be if I used Lysol to spray down all the furniture? Definitely not as much as if I spray it in the face of anyone who sneezes at me!
Have a very healthy, Merry Christmas.