baapersonmemeDear Ms. Meniscus:

I’m a woman in my forties with a lot of joint damage from rheumatoid arthritis (diagnosed when in my twenties). I am glad that with new medications like biologics that younger people don’t have to end up with gnarled hands and other problems like me. However, sometimes I feel bitter those drugs were not around for me. Am I a bad person to feel this way?

 Just Joan 


Dearest Joan,

Madame feels your bitterness. She understands what you mean when you say that you wish those medications were around when you were young.  It’s part of human nature to wish for that which we didn’t have, so no, you most certainly are not a bad person to feel this way. We can wish for a thousand things, things we didn’t have or didn’t do when we were young but what is wishing going to change? Not a thing.

Wishing that biologics had been around when you were in your twenties is a natural reaction, especially when you have visible proof of the damage that RA wields upon the body. However, before you drive yourself mad, do you know everything there is to know about those drugs? No drug comes without some form of compromise, some kind of price.  It’s even possible that your doctor would not have prescribed a biologic for you, had they been available. As you know, not everybody is a candidate for every drug.

The website for the American College of Rheumatology explains that these drugs are used for moderate to severe cases. They have side effects as well. The WebMD webpage explains that biologic agents are used for patients whose disease, “has not responded to traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).” These drugs work by targeting the molecules that cause the inflammation in the body.

It’s impossible to look back, Joan dear, or to guess in hindsight what would, or could, have worked for you. It’s far healthier if you can concentrate on managing your symptoms now in the best way possible. Do your best to keep your mind in the present, this means not only resisting looking back, but not worrying too much about the future. In many cases we are better off when we focus on the here and now.

Madame regrets that she can’t turn back the clock for you, but she knows that you are aware of how you feel, and expressing those feelings is healthy and legitimate.  Now that you’ve done it, try your best to move on. We can’t change what has happened, but we can dispose of bitter feelings so that today is free from that shadow.

Stay strong Joan, and look ahead.




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