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How did your RA start?

Hello all! I have not yet been diagnosed with RA. However, I have not felt great for about 2 years. The fatigue and lack of energy are the worst. I do have Fibromyalgia, but it's relatively mild. However, in reaching that diagnosis, my labs showed an elevated RF of 30 (range is >14). I don't have a significant amount of pain in any certain spot. Odd things are happening though. I get random intermittent body aches, like a flu feeling, but they are short in duration. I developed trigger finer literally overnight. Also, my right thumb mc joint began hurting when I grasp something and that developed over night as well. I also now (months later) have developed some sort of bony, painful knot on the side of that joint. Sometimes my hands are swollen in the morning, but no redness, stiffness, significant pain, etc. I do tend to seem to have problems with my tendons though and have for years. I guess my question is, since this doesn't sound like classic RA symptoms, does it sound like something else? Possibly not RA? For all that have been clinically diagnosed, does anyone have a similar story as mine? It's extremely frustrating to not know what is going on, and I'm beginning to wonder if these symptoms are "all in my head". 🙁

  1. Hello,

    I have done a large amount of research in relation to my RA and autoimmune disease in general and believe that most autoimmune disease is, or can be, caused by bacterial, viral, parasitic and or fungal infections. To me, this explains why some people's illness is different than others, even though they supposedly have the same disease. It also (again to me) explains flares because of the growth and expansion rates of the invaders. So, in my humble opinion, you shouldn't get too hung up on which disease you have. If you want to read about my story and views, go here:

    1. Autoimmune diseases (AID) are unlike any other. With an infectious disease, e.g. chicken pox, malaria, etc., or something like heart or liver disease there is typically a specific map for what is likely to occur as well as a known cause. Not so with AID. Something in your immune system is acting badly and it will cause issues. It seems to me all the named AID overlap and what it is called is somewhat irrelevant. Personally, I've been diagnosed with RA, polymyalgia rheumatica & fibromyalgia but where one ends and another begins seems impossible to say or matter. Sharp pain may manifest itself just about anywhere at any time for no apparent reason. Then it goes away only to return, maybe in a few minutes or hours or weeks in the same or more likely different locations. One nasty effect I've noticed is if you have trauma somewhere resulting in an injury my system will go after that location HARD for a period of time, typically an entire night, and that is extremely painful. More prednisone for awhile is the only partial answer I've found.

      For me the fatigue is the worst symptom and if I could eliminate one symptom by wishing upon a star that would be it. (I tried; it didn't work.)

      Where it does matter is that RA will cause joint destruction over time that must be slowed or halted so if that is part of your equation it needs to be treated. So I think the bottom line is that all AID will cause a variety of symptoms and yours may not be the same as anyone else's. I suggest putting the notion that your symptoms are "all in your head" completely out of your head.

      Best of luck.

  2. For me it was toe cramps in March of 2017 now it effects all of my joints. However, in hindsight, I developed photosensitivity to sunlight last year and have had joint pains for a couple of years. Coincidence or did it flare up for the first time in March? I just attributed the joint pains to getting older and the photosensitivity - who knows, I get weird stuff. I told my Rheumatologist that I had ITP and she said once AID can increase odds for another. And it just now occurred to me - two years ago I had pleurisy and my wife teased me because "no one gets pleurisy anymore", but maybe that was an early sign of RA. Who knows really, but at this point, I don't feel it matters because it's a pain now. Get it, a pain. Haha - I try to find humor as often as possible.

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