As some of you know, my sister Tina Marie Mote will be running in the 2018 Chicago Marathon. She is doing this to raise money for a worthy cause – the Arthritis Foundation. Recently Tina posted about this and I want to share with you a story straight from her. If you can spare a donation – even if it is a couple of dollars – everything will be greatly appreciated 🙂
“This is going to be a long post and describes the main reason I am running the Chicago Marathon in October to raise money and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation. Donations are welcome of any size to help the Arthritis; donations can be made anonymously, if you prefer, and they are made directly to the Arthritis Foundation through the link provided in this posting.
Next week, a close friend of mine, who I will refer to as J, who is only in her early 30s and has rheumatoid arthritis (along with lupus and fibromyalgia), is undergoing another Rituxin treatment, which is a chemotherapy treatment that—fingers crossed—may alleviate the autoimmune response this disease has on one’s body. For those not familiar with RA, I’ve enclosed the following information:
“Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body’s tissues are mistakenly attacked by their own immune system. The immune system contains a complex organization of cells and antibodies designed normally to “seek and destroy” invaders of the body, particularly infections. Patients with autoimmune diseases have antibodies and immune cells in their blood that target their own body tissues, where they can be associated with inflammation. While inflammation of the tissue around the joints and inflammatory arthritis are characteristic features of rheumatoid arthritis, the disease can also cause inflammation and injury in other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is a classic rheumatic disease.”
Obtained from: https://www.medicinenet.com/rheumatoid_arthritis/article.htm
The reason J is undergoing a chemo treatment for RA is because all other medicines (biologics/DMARDS) for RA no longer appear to be working for her. As the description of RA above states, it may not only affect the joints of the body but also other bodily organs. Because of RA, J’s lungs have been attacked and she is symptomatic of COPD though she has never smoked. RA has also damaged her heart and lungs . In addition, because RA is an autoimmune disease, her body thinks the immune system needs to attack the joints. The way the medicine works to alleviate this response is to slow the immune system. Doing so lessens her resilience to bacteria and viruses and what may be a common cold to us could become to her a prolonged illness. The flu would be devastating for her. Because of lower immunity, she’s had sepsis twice (November 2016 and November 2017)! Thank God the hospital both times immediately followed sepsis protocol at the first sign that sepsis was a possibility and didn’t wait for further evidence!
So next week she has another Rituxin treatment (info found on the links below), which has become her only option. However, the side effects are potentially devastating and potentially fatal because it severely compromises the immune system PLUS not to mention it’s a chemo treatment that has its own nasty side effects. I wish beyond all wishes I could be down in Texas with her this week but there is no way I can juggle my commitments and be with her, too.
I cannot stand to see anyone have to endure this, particularly someone who is a beautiful and life-giving soul as J is! Because I cannot help her directly and heal her, I want to do my small part to contribute to the Arthritis Foundation, who finds research for cures to terrible ailments such as RA.
Me completing a marathon pales in comparison what J has to endure on a daily basis and because the disease isn’t visible to others, sometimes those around her don’t realize just how hard it is for her. I’ve learned so much these last few years from her and have been inspired time and time again. She is the most optimistic and determined and brave and courageous individual I know and I want her to be around for many years to come!!!”
Rituxin treatment links: