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Newly Diagnosed

Hi everyone. I am newly diagnosed, found out yesterday that I have RA. I will be starting treatment next week, not sure what therapies yet. My rheumatologist started me on Prednesone today for my pain. Until now I have only been on NSAIDS from other doctors with no relief. I am scared of the steroids, I am scared of this disease. Even though I've know something is happening to me, I didn't expect RA. I've been reading about symptoms some, but I haven't read much about what this disease does to the body or what treatments are used. I just turned 42 and have children and have always loved to stay active, although remaining as active has become somewhat of a challenge as of late. I would so appreciate any insight or words of wisdom. Even though I've been experiencing pain for quite some time now, I have a feeling my journey is just getting started. Thank you for your time.

  1. Patricia, I hate to hear when someone gets a new diagnosis. So sorry about that. First of all, while your life will change, have hope and approach things with a positive attitude. Establish a strong communicative relationship with a good rheumatologist. Develop support systems at home and with others with RA (like at this site). Read all you can about RA but be careful about the sources and don't over analyze and over generalize as the disease affects everyone differently. Below are some links that will help. Get on a treatment plan quickly as research shows that early diagnosis and treatment results in better outcomes. Prednisone will help knock down the inflammation and it may make you feel better but most doctors agree that it should be avoided for the long term and it does not treat the disease processes. Most will start with a disease modifying drug (called a DMARD). Many RA patients change treatment combinations over time in order to find the best system. Your activities may need to be adjusted but stay as active as possible. Share quality information about RA with your family. It may take time for them to really understand what you're experiencing. Above all, take a deep breath and know that others are here with and for you.


    1. Hi Everybody,
      I feel like I have a strange case of RA, I want to believe I've been mis-diagnosed, sadly I know I probably have not. My first guess that I had RA was when I was diagnosed with a giant cell tumor about a year and a half ago in one finger and it was surgically removed, at that time the tumor was tested for RA and it was negative. I was happy with that diagnosis and relieved. Then I started having pain in both hands and also burning sensations, sometimes pain in my feet, achy, stiffness, sleep problems and exhaustion. I contributed that to menopause and old age, I'm 52. I went in for a full physical and was telling my general medical dr. all my symptoms. I wasn't in a lot of pain, more annoying then anything, but definitely liveable by taking advil. I'm a avid mountain biker and a hiker, I exercise 5-6 days a week so pain is more common than not after a hard work out. I do think that I woke up feeling more tired lately but always pushed myself to work out and go to work and just put mind over matter. My gen medical dr. took x-rays of both my hands and did blood work and immediately sent me to the rheumatologist after he saw my x-rays. My rheumatologist dr. graduated from UCLA & Stanford Medical school, even his dad is a doctor. He was young and seemed like he knew his stuff. After the appointment I asked him after an hour appt.and going over all my symptoms and x-rays if I had RA, he said "100% yes" due to my x-rays showing erosion and the type of bone loss and my symptoms. I was shocked, all my blood work stated I didn't have RA or inflammation, it didn't make sense, I wanted more proof. I was in disbelief, I didn't want to take the steroid shot or the DMARD, it was a chemo drug and bad for your liver. I emailed him several times over the weekend, he even emailed and called me to re-assure me. At times I still want to belief it isn't true, so I can just put mind over matter and wish this disease away. I have done tons of reading and research. I look at the blogs, everything about this disease scares me especially the unknown. I am going to continue with my meds and keep exercising and try to have a positive attitude but sometimes I have days when I say "F" RA, this can't be happening to me.

      1. Margo, your story is all too common as it can take a while to get diagnosed. I'm glad that you have quality doctors taking care of you. Hang in there and keep the positive outlook!

        1. Hey Andrew. Thanks for all your information on this forum so helpful. Have you ever experienced bloody noses or heard of that while taking methotrexate? I have informed my dr and he's ordering lab work this week and I have a appt scheduled regarding this also.

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