My consultant's face said it all. No words were needed to interpret his thoughts: I was clearly insane. I had just told him that I had stopped taking Methotrexate two weeks previously with a view to starting a family early next year. I didn't need to ask for any clarification of the furrowed brow and shuffling papers on his desk - his face was saying it loud and clear - 'You're not well enough to embark on a pregnancy, the RA is far from being under control and you are flaring big time, how is this going to work?'...My thoughts precisely. How is this going to work?
Dr C recommends 6 months minimum off the Methotrexate and tells me that I can stay on the Enbrel (an anti TNF weekly injection) until I know that I am pregnant. I skip out of his office, (well perhaps an understated 'skip', I do have RA remember!) trying to turn the 'look' he gave me into determination to prove to him and myself that I can do this.
Shortly after this meeting with Dr C, the book Arthritis, pregnancy and the path to parenthood by Suzie Edward May arrived and I started to read it. Although it is a tough and brutal insight into coming off the medications, being pregnant and looking after a baby, the way in which Suzie writes made me realise that I am resilient, strong and not afraid of having to persevere through difficult times. The determination to try to start a family far outweighs the fleeting moments of wondering if I will be able to get though it. It is a scary prospect to be faced with increasing disability, losing my independence and my confidence, but I know that I am loved by friends and family and am not alone in this. I am fully prepared that this journey is going to be tough and I am certainly not afraid of hard work but a niggling thought at the back of my mind keeps appearing in view...will I be strong enough?