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Newly Diagnosed & Looking For Any Tips

Hello everyone! I am a 30yr old female who was just diagnosed yesterday with RA after almost a year of dealing with severe pain. Although it may sound dramatic to some, my life has changed a lot since the pain first began. It has been borderline crippling and while I'm glad to finally have a solid diagnosis and to be starting treatment soon, I am still struggling with all of it. I was hoping those of you who have experience with the condition would be willing to drop any tips or advice in dealing with it, from pain management to medications, questions I should be asking my rheumatologist, or even how to begin getting back to a "normal" life. Even the smallest bit of advice is so very appreciated!! Thank you to all who take the time to read and respond.

  1. I have had RA for 22 years. Here is my advice to all people just diagnosed. Take a deep breath and remember how you feel right now. This very moment. Or maybe the moment in the last month when you felt the worst. I want you to remember that forever because things will likely get better and sometimes worse as you start treatment. But learn to gauge progress by where you were before you started. I always want to measure my progress by where I was yesterday. So long as I am doing better, that is great. But those days when I am not? I have to recall how bad things were at the worst. In those days, I have to admit I am doing better.

    My second piece of advice is to laugh. Laugh at yourself, laugh at RA, laugh at the world. RA is a bully. Bullies are powerful because we give them the power to scare us. Guess what no bully can stand up to? It is laughter directed at them. I point and laugh at RA. Take that, RA. I hate bullies.

    1. I couldn't have said it better myself! That is the advice I would have given. The knly things I would add are:
      1) it's ok to take it easy when you have a bad day. It's hard, but a necessity. Take a nap, read, watch TV with no guilt. This will take some work.
      2) Prepare to be humbled. The last really bad day I had, I ran into a young, divorced woman with 5 children who is struggling with Stage 4 breast cancer and juggling 2 jobs. My life really isn't that bad after all!

    2. Hi . These are some great additions to Rick's excellent post. If you want a good dose of humor, tied in with plenty of humility in the face of RA (along with good info on handling those bad days) I highly recommend checking out some of Rick's articles or those of (Daniel's actually a professional humorist, Rick's of the unpaid sort 😀 ). Best, Richard ( Team)

  2. Hi . Your stress and anxiety are certainly understandable. As Rick noted, things can and will get better. Our contributor Carla wrote this article on getting the diagnosis: She says that "if I could go back and talk to me, I would tell myself just that. That an RA diagnosis is not the end of the world. It’s an opportunity to make things better." I want to note that this is the first in a ten part series she did on things she would tell her newly diagnosed self. You can access the other by looking at her archive by clicking on her name. In addition, this article from our contributor Kelly (full disclosure - I'm her husband) looks at questions for the doctor: Please know that this community is here for you with information and support and feel free, if you like, to keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard ( Team)

    1. This may sound absurd but I am happy you finally have an answer to all your pain. As previously stated getting a diagnose is hard at times. May I suggest some of the following for you to try if you have not do so already
      1) Heat or cold compresses on the areas which are aching. I prefer damp heat, tends to sink in to the joints.
      2) Over the counter pain relievers and anti inflammatory, sometimes you can take together or off-set. Please check with your doctor or pharmacist first to make sure they will not mix with any other meds you might be taking.
      3) Move. I know it can feel like you just want to lay and rest, but movement is good.
      A little walking, a little stretching off and one through out the day. Maybe just changing some of your normal movements or adjusting them a little. Example: If you are working at a desk all day, try to keep good posture and stretch one arm to the corner and then cross your body to the other corner of the desk. Switch arms. Legs under a desk, see if you are able to put something under it to have your feet up and in different position, stretch you legs out as you switch positions even if you have to push your chair back a little to do so. These little things are working those muscles and stiff joints in a little different way.
      Example for at home: When taking a warm shower, do some "finger walking", what is this? It is where in stand in the shower, first facing a wall with your back to the water, arms length, then reach out, walk you fingers up the wall and then back down the wall from where you started. (a couple times) Do the other arm. Now turn so you are sidewise to the wall and reach out and walk those fingers up and down again. Try carefully of course to do some down touches, nothing outrageous just a little stretching another way.
      4) Keep mind active. Yes, it's hard to concentrate at times, but mind over matter so to speak. Make a list of what triggers more pain, be it a movement, an activity or food even. This can be helpful to the doctor and you both. Another thing is walk around the house or apartment to see what you might be able to change so your cleaning load won't be so heavy. Such as; A laundry hamper with wheels. Instead of doing laundry over the weekend try doing a load as you get one, cold water helps you combine colors and whites 😀 With new items and mixing colors I use something called "Color Catchers" found in the laundry area, Love these things. Furniture slides so they are not so hard to move anymore.

      This is getting to be quite the book, but hopefully it will give you some ideas that might help ease your body and mind for a while. Try to think of a few or even ask more questions if you wish, I will be happy to help if I can.

      Caring thoughts to you, Doris

      1. , I'm butting in here, but I completely understand what you wrote about the relief that can come with having a firm diagnosis! And I think your suggestions for are awesome! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Best, Erin, Team Member.

    2. BriRae hi, you will not sound dramatic to anyone who as got an autoimmune problem or your general doctor and rheumatologist.
      It is like having many illnesses in the body at the same time, or coming and going creeping up on you some of the symptoms.
      I was diagnosed with psoriatic and rheumatoid inflammatory arthritis in June, after my knee swelling up and finger, wrist pain, knuckles pain. I had knee pain from around October/ November then all the other symptoms.
      Sometimes i think what if the family doctors receptionist, thinks I'm an hypochondriac, then i think it's my body something is happening in, my body that as new pain, stiffness somewhere and the doctor needs to know, so don't feel dramatic, tell them everything.

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