Pray First, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Pray First, Snooze Alarm edition

My “pray first” idea, or at least the first thing in the morning expression of it, has been blown right out of the water by having a medication change that is part of my treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis. In response to doing very well on a new medication (Humira), an older one (methotrexate) was cut in half. Since the older one has all sorts of bad side effects, being on the smallest dose possible is desirable, and I understood at the time it was changed that we might need to increase the dose again, splitting the difference. After the first week, it was clear I was worse, and I called the doctor, and the dose will go up again, but not until Sunday.

Meanwhile, I’m frustrated by awaking fatigued, stiff and sore instead of rested and ready to pray. There’s an impact on the rest of my day, too, but the key here where prayer is concerned is the way I feel when the alarm goes off, as it does every day, at 6 a.m. Regular prayer on waking had become the foundation for my day, a conversation with God that got my inner house in order. The snooze alarm on my iPhone helped me keep track of the morning; now it’s the only thing assuring I am really awake in time to wake LP.

It’s my hope this is a temporary flurry of symptoms, not the onset of a flare. I’m looking at it that way. I fully expect that things will improve after the 3/4 dose begins to take effect. But meanwhile it’s clear how much a new and very simple discipline had been helping me, simply taking a little time before waking my daughter, and walking my dog, and checking email on my phone, simply taking a little time to talk to God.

The key is to really wake up, and to the extent that my bedtime can help with that, I will make my own changes, but some of this is just how chemicals and my immune system interact, and with that, I will have to be patient. And, perhaps, prayerful.

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