I have a pill problem


I have a pill problem – my problem is I have too many pills and a not-what-it-used-to-be memory.  I’ve had many conversations like this with myself – “I have to take my lupus meds, wait, did I take them already, or was that my cancer meds, no, wait did I actually take any meds or am I just imagining I took them…” Checking the pills left in the bottle used to be a good way to figure it out, but now my pharmacy is giving me 90 day supplies, and I’m not about to count that many pills to figure out if I took one.  So, I tried buying one of those pill boxes, but that still didn’t totally solve my pill problem.  I needed something more – something that would say, hey! you need to take your meds now!!  Then, I figured, as the saying goes, there must be an app for that!  And, guess what?  There are many apps for that! I took a quick look at them on my phone and picked a free one called Med Helper.  It had a good user rating and seemed easy to figure out.  It lets me enter info about all my meds, including prescribing doctor, generic and brand name, pharmacy name and number, dosage, side effects, special comments, etc.  Which is very helpful to have, especially when making out those pesky medical forms in the waiting room that ask you a million questions.  But, even more helpful for me, it sets and stores a reminder alarm on my phone when I need to take my meds.  Hallelujah!  I’ve only been using it for a day, but the alarm did go off today when I was at work and I took my meds like a good girl.  I’m really hoping this is the solution to my pill problem.  It’s too bad that my phone can’t dispense my medicine along with reminding me to take it!  Maybe someone will create an app for that one day…


My meds have meds


Let me start by saying this – I take more prescription medicine than my 84-year-old mom.  While I’m thrilled that I have such a healthy and vibrant mama – especially since she’s living with me now – it can be a little discouraging taking my multitude of pills day after day.  And, what’s even more special, is that some of the pills I take are to counteract the side effects of my other pills.  My meds need their own meds.  For example, I recently started taking Methotrexate for my Lupus. When my Rheumatologist prescribed it to me, he also prescribed me folic acid. Why? According to the website arthritis.about.com, “Methotrexate (MTX) is a chemotherapy drug that prevents cell reproduction by interfering with folic acid activation. Although very effective, its use potentially may produce serious side effects including nausea, mouth ulcers, blood problems, liver cirrhosis, and hair loss. Prolonged treatment with MTX may also lead to folic acid deficiency. To reduce the risk of these side effects, without fear of interfering with its efficacy, a maximum daily dose of 5mg of folic acid is recommended for those patients taking MTX on a regular weekly basis.” Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  Another one of my meds, Arimidex, also has some fun side effects, such as bone pain and weakening, fatigue, and hot flashes.  My Oncologist prescribed me Arimidex after I completed chemotherapy for breast cancer. This medication blocks estrogen, which, among other side effects, can lead to bone loss, which can lead to Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.  I currently have Osteopenia, the precursor to full-blown Osteoporosis.  So, to make sure I don’t fall and break a hip at the ripe old age of 48, I’m taking twice a year infusions of a drug called Zometa (which, you guessed it, has side effects).  I also have terrible night sweats and hot flashes, so I take Celexa to counteract the lovely side effects of Arimidex.  I’m not complaining, just explaining (ok, there might be a little complaining going on, too).  Needless to say, my medicine cabinet is a happening place.

dancing meds

So, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will have to be on one form of medication or another for the rest of my life.  Am I happy about it?  No.  Do I sometimes skip a dose when I’m feeling fed up or rebellious?  Yes (please don’t tell my docs).  But, that’s life – my life.  And, since I want to have as healthy and awesome a life as I possibly can, I’ll keep my medicine cabinet stocked – and make sure my meds take all their meds.

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