Wandering Thoughts

May 29, 2009

The Three M’s – Methotrexate, Melbourne and Me

Filed under: Reactive Arthritis — terence @ 8:44 am

So, finally, I’ve started taking Methotrexate. This is the immunosuppresant commonly used to treat Reative Arthritis when it gets severe. I’ve held off taking it for so long. Why? Partially, because when it was first suggested to me in 2003 it was unclear I actually needed it. Partially, because I’ve been afraid of its potential side effects. Partially, because I’ve thought of it as a way of dampening symptoms rather than a cure (and I’ve always hoped for a cure). And partially, because, while the few people I’ve known on Methotrexate have benefitted from it, they’ve never done that well.

Was I right to do this? If you’d asked me that two years ago, essentially in remission and unaware of my heart problems, I would have said ‘yes’…but now…immobilised and unable to risk more damage to my aorta, the answer is completely different. So I’ve started taking it.

Last week I also returned to Melbourne to see the doctor and naturopath there. I figured they’d hate Methotrexate but they didn’t, so I’m continuing with the diet and anti-biotics as well.

More important than all that, maybe, was South Melbourne itself. Nestled against Port Phillip Bay. Two blocks back the Nappean highway chugs its way alongside cracked footpaths and carbon stained buildings. Supermarkets, delis, and chemists stand next to each other, wearing uncomfortable shapes. People shuffle around, worn,  or harried, or overweight, in in mismatched clothes. Depressing. And yet, on the morning of my appointment I wandered down to the beach. The sand is golden and mist is lifting off the sea. It’s glassy calm and the water sits quiet and clear over the sandbars. To the north and across the bay fog swallows the distance. The sun is warming the world and in South Melbourne ugly and serene seem to get on surprisingly well…

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