All about Kay in France

All about Kay in France

Just realised I hadn't posted anything about myself! I was diagnosed in 2000 after a almost a year of misdiagnosis. I lived in Scotland when diagnosed and was put on sulphazaline which I supported for a few years. Moved to France (Picardie) in 2003 and have several major flares and drug changes since (Leflunomide, Methoxtrate, Enbrel, Abtacept, Tocilizumab) - some due to secondary effects/allergic reactions, and some to the fact that the drug didn't do a lot. Last year, after discovering that the bones in my right wrist were fussed (therefore other treatments weren't working) was put on Rituxan (by infusion in a clinic every 6 months). Apart from feeling exhausted all the time, everything is going well but can't wait for the sun to shine this year!

22 Replies

  • Kay so glad your still here and where abouts in France do you live it would be nice if your next post you could take some photos of where you live so we can enjoy your place. You too have been through the mill as well haven't you darling.xxxxx

  • Thanks for your interest. I live north of Paris in a small rural village - nothing glamorous, but will post a couple of pics soon. xx

  • Do y find the warmer climate helps your pain and joints

  • Unfortunately, I live about 1.5 hrs north of Paris so the weather is very similar to the UK. It is a very rural setting (so lots of clean fresh air), and I don't seem to get too many colds or other infections. When the summer arrives I do feel a lot better, but not sure if that is the psychological effect! At the moment I have terrible hip and back pain, so lots of Epsom salts in use. It is still very cold here but we do have the sun today.

  • Hello Kay,

    Me too I live in France but down south in Luberon and have been enjoying a beutiful spring for a long time already. Been able to suck up loads of vit d from the sun already😊Waiting for the cherries to ripen. The warmth will soon enough reach you too and then it will be too hot down here again.

    All the best, Simba

  • Hello Simba, Perhaps I should move down South! I want to sell my house and move, but can't decide where to go. Initially, I was going to return to the UK, but when I read the stories about how difficult it seems to be getting treatment over there (plus Brexit and the weather) I think I may just move to a larger city in France.

  • Hello Kay,

    This part where we live is really quite wonderful. It is also a rural area with vineyards and lavender and small medieval towns. The climate I think is perfect for us RA folks😊The only time I would like to spend somewhere else is from mid June to end of July. Very often too hot! If you are looking for a bigger city here Aix en Provence is really a nice place. Good luck, maybe you'll be my neighbor one day. Yes Brexit must be a worry if you are a UK citizen, hope they come to a good deal.

  • Hello, where you both live sounds lovely. I spend a lot of time in France, near a beautiful town called Uzes, in the Gard region. I am wondering do you see your rheumatology consultants & receive your medication in France ?

  • Hello Pea3,

    Uzes is a lovely place! Have visited several times😊. I have really had bad experiences with my rheumy😕 Being a foreigner, without contacts it was not easy to find one. I eventually found a prof in rheumatology in Montpellier, supposedly the best. I have never been treated so without respect, he knew everything, did not listen to my well prepared questions and offered me the tripple therapy as only option. If I didn't follow his recommendations he would not help me. So that was my first and last encounter with a rheumy in France. So I started my own research and journey with the help of my lovely GP. I have been looking for a functional medicine MD here in France but without luck so far😕

  • Hello Simba

    Sorry to hear you have had such bad experiences. One of my best rheumys moved from Amiens to Carcassone, is that too far away from you? I have to admit my GP is not too hot on diagnosing problems - I usually have to give him hints as to what the problem might be, but living in rural France we don't have a lot of choice when finding a GP (good or bad!).

    I had presumed were French, where do you come from originally?

    Hope you have a good day. xo

  • I come from Finland originally. Have lived permanantly in France now for 8 years, before that only for hollidays for over twenty years. Yes it's hard to find good doctors on the country side. My GP is like yours probably. I however find this better than a know it all specialist with a bad bedside manner. My GP does pretty much what I want. So the followup of my RA is the main thing. The protocole for treatment is my own. I would however very much like to find a medical doctor who interested in the whole picture not just the symptoms. So actually I'm keeping as far away as I can from the French rheumies.😳

  • Sorry to hear you are having problems with rheumies. Just out of interest what is the protocole that you are following, is using natural products?

  • After receiving my diagnosis Dec 2015 of seronegative RA, have been controlling my illness with AIP, LDN and supplements that deficint in RA. Have not needed RA meds. Have recently reduced ibuprofen to only 200mg for the night with the help of turmeric golden paste. Am very happy that didn't choose the med therapy and hope I will not need to😊

  • Hi Pea3, I have lived in France 2003, having taken very early retirement due to my health, so yes all of my doctors are in France. When I first arrived in France we could arrange to see any specialist without going through our General Practioner, now the system has changed and you have to have a letter from your GP to see most specialists. The rheumatologist that I see is about an hour from my home, in a Clinique in Amiens, and I see her on a regular basis and it she that decides on my treatment after we discuss it together. My first rheumatologist, who was also excellent, was not based in a hospital and could not prescribe Biologics so when the time came she recommended who I should see for future treatment. I do not have to go through anyone else to see the rheumatologist. Blood tests are done under prescription and we receive the results ourselves (usually the next day), we also receive all our x-rays, CT and other scan results directly and take them with us when we see the doc when necessary.

    Are you thinking of moving to France?

  • We did live in France for a few years ( about 20 years ago) & even had my first son there, but moved back to England when I was pregnant with my second son as we wouldn't have had the medical costs covered for a second time (e112, as it was then). So moving back is something we think about, but I cannot see a way to do so now that I am on expensive biologic medication for my RA. I don't suppose Brexit is going to help either !

  • Hi Kay I am so sorry to hear that you are in pain I truly hope that you get it sorted and under control. I love the picture of the little ruby Cavalier. I also had one and lost him just over 3 years ago and it broke my heart ❤️ he and I where so close. He was a dog 🐶 in a million. I have little Ziggi now and he is also a fantastic little dog. He is a snow Pomeranian. I truly wish you well and take good care of yourself. Jan 🤗🤗🌺🌷🌹xxx

  • Hi - really interested to read this as I have long wanted to move to France. Love the country anyway and have friends and family there, but also feel that the climate in the South would be much better for my health. We would have to wait until our youngest is at university so 5 years, but if we could get a small place and spend more time in France and less time at work before then that would be perfect.

    But with Brexit it is the healthcare that worries me. While at the moment my RA is very under control at the moment, i'm having a lot of problems with fibromyalgia, chronic sacroiliitis and lower back problems, which have been more recently diagnosed. I'm not worried about the quality of care so much - I spent some time in a French hospital while I was pregnant with my second child and it was far superior to the one I was transferred to in England. But whether the EHIC arrangements will continue post-Brexit is a biggy. Any advice those already living in France have about this would be great - my friends and sister all have now have French nationality so doesn't affect them.

  • Yes Brexit may be a biggy🤔If the deal will only encompass the UK citizens already in the French system then 5 year waiting may be a problem. I. don't think the health care would be a problem for you as long as you are ok with the official protocol for treatment.

    We have our youngest studying in UK. Second year now at Uni in Southapton, and we are a bit worried too:(

    If you have any questions about living in France, I am happy to help you.😊 Simba

  • Goodness knows what will happen with Brexit, but the situation at the moment is that in 2007 the rules changed and new arrivals who are not eligible to join the French healthcare system will be expected to register with their mairie within 3 months of arriving permanently in France, to provide evidence that you have the financial resources to live here, and evidence of personal medical insurance i.e. either an E106/E121 or private medical insurance.

    EHIC does not fully cover your costs in France - you have the same rights as a French citizen, i.e. the state pays a part of the costs but he balance is paid either by an insurance/mutual or yourself.

    One of the first things you should do if you are making a move from the UK to France is to contact the Department of Work & Pensions (+44 191 218 1999) to find out if you are eligible for an E106. The duration of cover an E106 will give you is based on the level of National Insurance contributions you have made over the past two complete UK tax years, but the maximum cover it will provide is two years.

    After the cover provided under the E106 has expired if you are not yet at state retirement age, and therefore eligible for an E121 from the UK to continue your cover in France you will need to purchase private healthcare until you have either been resident in France for at least five years or you reach state retirement age.

    Because after five years or more of uninterrupted legal residency in France a person gains the 'permanent right of residence’ under France's Code de l’Entrée et du Séjour des Etrangers, but to prove you have lived here legally for this time you will need have official documents such as tax statements and utility bills.

    If you are an 'inactive' (not working) you will have to take out private medical insurance which is very expensive (2000 Euro pa minimum).

  • Thanks v much Simba - really helpful, and may well take you up on your offer of further advice. My husband will be retiring in a couple of years - for me a few years longer unless I decide, or am forced by health, to take early retirement. But approaching his retirement and 60thbday will be a big catalyst. Dawn

  • Hope to hear from you soon😊We were really happy that we made the move. The climate in Finland I think is even worse than UK. But it takes a while to adjust😉

  • Thanks for this really helpful and informative advice KayEP. Sounds like I need to spend less time researching areas and looking through estate agents listings (my escapism when I'm in pain) and more delving into the practical detail! Seriously, it sounds as we would have to factor in private healthcare - I've also been thinking about an option of keeping a property in the uk, which would limit the budget for France considerably but might mean I could come back for healthcare and also give the children a base here.

    Lots to think about and really grateful to you and Simba for your advice. Hope you're having a good day and maybe even getting some sunshine (we've had many family trips to Picardie and I love it, but as you say weather is a bit too close to the British climate).

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