I was told four days ago that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am choosing to get a second opinion because I don't have all of the symptoms that I read about and I am not comfortable starting DMARDS or steroids or anything until I am sure. I am seronegative, but have other CRP and ESR blood tests that are concerning to my doctor. I don't have morning stiffness that is unbearable and I am not fatigued all the time. I don't have "flu like" symptoms or a low grade fever. My VectraDA was moderate, but that is not supposed to be a diagnostic test. Although, I have no idea why all of those numbers would show up that way if it isn't RA. My doc said my RA is in very early stages and I am very lucky because my x-rays and ultrasounds don't show any damage yet, but they do show the beginning of "the red angry stuff" (he pointed to one of the pictures of RA in his office as he said that). According to one of the reports he sent home with me, I have "markedly decreased radoiocarpal joint space and soft tissue swelling" and mild - moderate synovial hypertrophy in my hand and wrist (he didn't ultrasound other areas). When I have flare ups, they are symmetrical and I take a lot of Advil to deal with it and wait for it to go away (which at the longest has taken two and a half weeks). It isn't pleasant, but I go to work, use heat and ice, and I continue to function. The flare ups have been more present since July of 2016, but there are days and even weeks at a time that I am totally fine!
I get that the word "denial" applies here in obvious ways, but I do not want to start taking massive amounts of medication that could actually make me feel worse and have a possibility of serious side effects if I am not 100% sure that RA is what I am dealing with. And yes I realize that 100% surety is not always possible with RA. I have also read START TREATMENT EARLY in bold letters on many websites and in many pamphlets because it can prevent damage and increase quality of life, which is a HUGE deal if I am actually dealing with RA.
So, my question is this: Is it possible that my rheumatologist is wrong? (oh, by the way, he did tell me he ruled out lupus, showgrens (sp?), gout, and other issues). He has 40 years of clinical experience and told me that he felt confident in his assessment and that I should be relieved that we caught it so early. He told me he didn't feel any more testing was necessary and told me to feel free to get a second opinion when I was clearly unsure about his assessment. He said given everything he has reviewed, I could go 6 months to a year before I have any damage that occurs (I don't know how he knows that?), so I have time to research and think about what I want to do.
I am a very analytical person and I have been reading and researching almost non stop since my "Diagnosis Day". I understand that everyone's situation is different, but I am looking for opinions from a community that has "been there, done that". Thank you for reading my post.