I had my follow-up rheumatologist appointment today. My blood work showed some serious improvements. WBC is back to 6 (it was 1.7 when I left the hospital). Hemoglobin is withing normal limits too, though on the low end. I definitely feel a lot better.
Based on this information, he suggested that I start tapering my Prednisone by 2.5 mg at a time every 2 weeks, starting tomorrow. So, starting on Oct 15, I will take 12.5 mg of Prednisone for a minimum of 2 weeks or however long it takes for me to feel good again because my body will react negatively to the reduction in dosage, even something as small as 2.5 mg. Once my body gets used to the 12.5 mg, I should go down to 10 mg and then to 7.5 mg and then to 5 mg. He said the change from 7.5 mg to 5 mg is usually the hardest and takes the longest.
Dr. Sugai was saying that having blood work that reflects the patient's overall "feeling" is a good sign. For most patients, the blood work and their general feeling is not consistent. This means the disease will be easier to manage because my outward symptoms are reflective of what's going on inside my body, for me anyway. He said that the next time I start to feel run down or see a fever coming on, I could possibly go in and get blood work done and then call the office for a phone conversation or appointment to start the Prednisone up again to control the flare.
We also talked about my returning to work. He asked me when I was thinking of going back and I said February 2010. He agreed and said that I should talk to my employer about returning on a modified schedule. He suggested starting with 2 days a week and building it up slowly. I have a follow-up with him on November 30 and another appointment on January 8. We should be able to draw up a return-to-work plan by the Jan appointment, hopefully.
I was very pleased with today's appointment as I feel that I'm on the road to finally managing this disease. Of course, I know I still have to deal with the effects of reducing the Prednisone and coming off it completely but I'm hoping, God willing, that it's a quick and easy journey for me.
Now I just have to follow-up with York Central Hospital on that EEG test that they were supposed to schedule me for. Stay tuned.
Good news on my romance novel. I finally wrote down a plot last night. I'm very pleased with it and feel like I can finally start writing my novel in earnest. I'm going to start another blog to document this. I'll post a link as soon as it's set up.