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Does anyone have RA??


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  #1  
June 3rd, 2012, 01:48 AM
somo_chickenlady's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Bradleyville, MO
Posts: 3,277
I was diagnosed with mild RA about 7-8 years ago or so, and since then it has been minimal. Some pain in my shoulders and hips, and my fingers. Since, at the time, my symptoms were so mild, my doctor just wanted to treat the symptoms on a case by case basis since I was already on a corticosteroid for another medical issue. I was getting steroid injections in my shoulders, which greatly helped, but I could no longer afford them so I had to stop.

In the past year or so, though, my symptoms and pain have increased significantly. My shoulders hurt pretty badly, especially at night. They wake me up b/c they hurt so bad. My hands have become pretty bad also. The most pain is in the largest joint (not the on by the nail, but the next one) on both of my ring fingers (I can no longer wear my wedding rings b/c of swelling, so I have to wear them on a necklace), but all of my knuckles where my fingers join my hand hurt pretty severely. I started crocheting again recently, and while I could do it without a problem a couple years ago, now it causes my hands to cramp up and go into the swan neck and boutonniere deformities until I stretch them out and they start to relax. I'm also starting to have issues with my feet/toes. Wearing heels is VERY painful, and will cause my toe joints where my toes connect to my feet to hurt (to the point where it makes me limp and I don't want to put any weight on my feet) for a day or two after wearing a pair of heels.

he problem is, though, that we have been without health insurance for over a year, so I haven't seen a doctor for it. We have insurance now, though, so I want to get set up with a Rheumatologist since we moved a year ago.

If anyone here has it, would you mind sharing what the treatment is like? I'm not sure what to expect. My grandmother had pretty severe RA, and ended up having to have all of her toe bones amputated b/c of it. I'm only 34 (symptoms started a year or so before I was diagnosed) so I'm a little freaked out about what is going to happen to me. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
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  #2  
June 4th, 2012, 04:28 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 43
Hi! I'm a lurker but wanted to respond. I don't have RA, but I do have Ankylosing Spondy. It's an autoimmune disease with the same symptons. It's just that it attacks my spine instead of my other joints. I have pain everywhere! Mid back, shoulders, knees, wrists, elbows, ankles, hips. My recommendation is to see a rhuemy and probably get on something like Enbrel or Humira once you get your insurance going again. That is the biggest help. They do add something methotextrate (sp?) to that sometimes as well. Sometimes one helps better than the other. I tried enbrel first then moved to humira and that worked better. I'm off it now as my insurance changed as well. So I'm hurting real bad and waiting to get back to the doctor and start over. A muscle relaxer does help my shoulders a bit as well. Eating well and exercising are key. I find that exercising takes the pain away. During exercise the body warms up and relaxes my muscles and it helps. If you don't move you'll loose it. So don't sit around because it hurts to move. You can't do any damage by moving, so keep moving. Also, you need to to sleep well. I use trazadone to sleep well and sleep deep so I'm not tossing and turning from the pain. That helps the healing process. It's all about managing the pain and find the right balance of meds and living healthy. They may run a blood test to determine your sed rate or how high your inflammation is. The key is to calm the inflammation. So eat things that calm the inflammation. Your body is attacking you, so the point is to calm that down. Do lots of research and find RA boards that you can talk to other people and find out what works for them. Good luck to you! I wish you all the best!

Nicole
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  #3  
June 8th, 2012, 06:11 AM
TTC #1
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 290
I also have RA. I got diagnosed about 6 years ago. Since I was on the younger side and wanted to have children, my doctors have tried to keep me on Plaquenil (since it does not require a long detox to remove it from your system) with occasional rounds of steroids. I do still have pain - mostly in my hands in the middle joint and my ankles. I actually just found out that I have no dorsal flexation in either of my feet, so I will be adding in PT as well. I do hurt most days, but it is so much less than without the medication.
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