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bloodwork initially fine?

I was evaluated for RA (and other autoimmune issues) in 2012. Everything came back fine at the time. I initially went to a rheumatologist due to late onset Raynaud's, knowing that late onset RS is a red flag for other autoimmune problems.

At the time the dr. told me I only had osteo arthritis in my toe, although I had no symptoms. Fast forward a few months and the toe became a huge issue. I now have shoe inserts.

Fast forward a few more years and now I am dealing with multiple joint pains. At the moment, hip joint pain, worse in left. Knee pain, worse in left, and elbow pain, worse in right. Also have had what feels like sciatica in right leg for a year now.
And fatigue, some days not so bad, others extreme.

Went to a chiropractor who told me I have tennis elbow. Did regular xrays (knees, hips and elbow) which showed a narrowing of space in left knee only. Nothing big.

So I have an appointment with rheumatologist again in a month.

My question is......given the fact that my bloodwork was clear in 2012......am I wrong to suspect this is not an autoimmune issue? I'm thinking that since x-rays looked ok by chiro and bloodwork was good a few years ago, I most likely don't have RA? Can bloodwork change that fast? Would RA show on regular x-ray?

I am 51. Thin, healthy otherwise, and work out. I am having to severely cut what I do exercise wise because everything hurts.

Not that I want RA.....but I'm beginning to feel a bit crazy. I have all these pains that no one can seem to find an answer for. I had a hysterectomy a year ago....maybe it's just hormones? Although I am doing hrt, so you wouldn't think so. I am at a loss and tired of feeling like crap.

That was a lot longer than I intended! Hope someone has some insight. Thanks!

  1. I hear you when you say you don't want RA...But. I felt the same way.

    My issues weren't as severe. I had a lot of achey stuff over a period of years and a lot of fatigue. We always figured it was fibro as I have a family history. When I had a major flare with almost all my joints swollen, my Family Doctor seemed almost happy when he said "It's RA. Let's do this simple blood test." It came back no RA factor. So he sent me to the Rheumy anyway.

    It took her a while to decide on sero-negotive RA. It is strange to be relieved to be diagnosed with an incurable degenerative disease, but it is better than limbo.

    I hope you get a diagnosis soon, so you can have some treatment. I also hope it's something like your hormones that can be treated and cured and you don't have to join our ranks.

    1. Thanks, Merry. I appreciate it. Do you think my bloodwork could have been ok as recent as 2012 and change by now? I did get my appt. moved up to March 12, so not that much longer to see someone who knows about this stuff, thankfully.

      1. Your story is very similar to mine, including, possibly sciatica now. Some osteoarthritis, swollen, stiff and painful hands and feet, and various other travelling stabbings. Fatigue! X-rays show little change. I am a 60 yr old female and this started up shortly after going off hormone replacement, about a year ago. All bloodwork is normal but the rheumy diagnosed RA based on symptoms alone. My worst fear is that it is not that but something worse. But at least I have a diagnosis so I can start getting some help. The RA meds have helped some...

        1. Thanks, everyone.

          NPEOttawa, your story makes me wonder if there is a hormone component to it. I feel like I have aged 20 years in the year plus since my surgery--even with hrt!

          My hormone replacement dr. has auto immune issues herself and deals with the hormone aspect with autoimmune stuff. She said it does sound autoimmune in nature to her.....if it is, it will present itself eventually.

          In the meantime, my rheum. diagnosed me with hip bursitis (got cortisone injection and said to get more sleep. He ran RA and ANA bloodwork which was normal. That's enough for him to dismiss autoimmune disease. He prescribed me pain meds for a week for the flare. Flare for what, he didn't say.

          The meds helped a bit. I can still feel my issues but they are not as bad. Hip may take awhile. Doing PT for that.

          Also, my hormone doc increased my estrogen, saying that many autoimmune issues respond well to a higher level of estrogen. Fingers crossed.

          So I still really don't know the why of things. I have a follow up with the rheum. on April 1st. But don't expect much more to come of that.

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