It is now late April 2014. After the small injections into my knuckles last October, the swelling subsided, and even my left hand index finger, which had been half bent for several years, is now able to straighten completely. I can curl all fingers fully and easily. I have had no relapses, and am back to just the Monday-Wednesday-Friday single capsule dosage of Minocin or Vibramycin (I alternate months).
I am now retired, and went on a two week vacation tour to Thailand, had a wonderful time and had absolutely no RA issues. I have to say that since the Thai food is rice based rather than wheat based, my diet was about 95% gluten free, which probably helped.
I still find that I have to be cautious about foods that would trigger flares or arouse the RA within. Someone told me that black pepper is bad for RA, so I am reducing my use of that spice. I am also quite cautious about eating any nuts, and only eat a bowl of popcorn once a week. I minimize the gluten in my diet. The one time that I ignored that, going out for Christmas dinner at an Italian restaurant and eating "family style" several varieties of pasta dishes, plus garlic bread, then going back to the house and eating cookies and cake....well, I paid for it with sore joints and stiff fingers the next day. Nothing major, but a definite warning that I had abused my gluten levels!
Just had another appointment with my Rheumatologist. Again, I asked him why he would not at least suggest this treatment to his patients. He seemed to feel that the FDA would frown on that. I reminded him that this treatment is a recognized treatment, just not the currently recommended treatment. Still, he will not budge. Sad, because he is following the Big Pharma protocols to prescribe what is essentially toxic to the system to his other patients, and which has a high probability of causing organ damage and allowing cancer to grow. Not sure why he does not feel comfortable letting someone know they could TRY this, if they want...especially one who is recently diagnosed and still has a chance to be in remission!
So for now, the sleeping bear is sleeping, and I am trying my best not to rouse it.
My best wishes to anyone who is reading this and looking for a better way to handle this dreadful disease. I am going into year 8 of being in remission and 100% physically "normal", using just a small amount of antibiotics to keep the RA at bay. Yes, there have been setbacks, but my faith in this treatment has never waned, and the treatment has not failed me!