What does the face of Rheumatoid Arthritis look like? This does.
This is me last year sometime. I am 36 (will be 37 in 3 months Ack!). I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. As you can see I am not elderly. RA is not an elderly person disease. Anyone at any age can get RA. Women have a higher tendency to get it and it may be hereditary. My grandmother and great grandmother on my mothers side both have/had it. My mother does not, she has another form of arthritis.
I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in April of 2011, but I suspect I had it way before then. I can remember back in December of 2010 I had this intense shoulder pains. It felt like my arms were being ripped from their sockets. Being the usual stubborn me, I put off going to the doctor. I hate them. I would go for my yearly physical and whenever my asthma was bothering me, but I figured I just pulled something or slept wrong.
I finally went to see my primary doctor (whom I love and have had since I was 18) in February of 2011. She didn't suspect RA at this point and thought the same as me, that I might have just pulled or sprained my shoulders. She gave me a prescription for Naproxen. I was to take 1 pill twice a day and to call her if it does not go away or gets worse. We all know how much I love the phone, so we know that never happened.
I took Matt on an over night trip to the Museum of Science in Boston with the Cub Scouts towards the end of February. I was in so much pain then. Sleeping on an air mattress on the museum floor and carrying around my purse (which is a wanna be Vera Bradly bag that I got when I worked at CBD). It's a rather large bag and I had it filled with snacks, a couple of water bottles and my usual stuff (wallet, book, Kindle (yes both a book and Kindle), planner, meds and other little things).
Next change came to my middle finger on my right hand. The middle finger joint was purple and swollen. I got a kick out of flipping people off to show them my finger. LOL. It hurt to write (I am a righty of course), eat, type, use it for anything period. This kind of freaked me out and when I showed it to my mom, she mentioned I might have arthritis.
So, off to my primary doctor I went. She scolded me for not calling her months ago. This was the end of March at this point. My shoulder was still hurting, but by this point, I got use to dealing with the pain. It was still there, but I just toughed it out. Well, when she looked at my finger, the first thing she said was that I might have RA.
Blood tests were done and the next day Dr. Rodman called me herself. She never ever calls. Normally I get my test results in a message via this system her office uses then a letter. Maybe her nurse calls, but usually not. Well, right away this had me super ass freaked out. She said that my RF factor was very high and she had already set up an appointment for me to see a Rheumatologist the next month.
April comes around and I go to my first (of many) appointments with the Rheumatologist. I felt odd in the waiting room. I was the youngest person there, well my son was, but he does not count. I meet the doctor and he goes over soooo much stuff that my head was spinning. He recommended a book from the Arthritis Foundation to get, which became my "bible" of sorts so help me get the basics of what I have. I still flip through it every now and then. He gave me a ton of pamphlets to go over and we talked about different medications out there. He was giving me 2 weeks to think about and absorb all I could. I left with a prescription of Predisone, which I have been on a ton before because my asthma.
More blood was taken, pee'd in a cup and had a bunch of x-rays done. Mostly of my hands, shoulder and my lungs. Because I am an asthmatic and RA can affect the lungs, he needed a baseline shot of my lungs.
Well, my hands are killing me now. I know I used up a ton of spoons to type this post. Read this story about the "Spoon Theory" to understand what on earth I am talking about.
First published 9/6/12