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Not sure what I have

I have a set of symptoms that made my rheumatologist feel pretty sure I had RA. These include finger joint pain, toe pain (especially my big toes), milder elbow pain, ankle pain, and knee pain, When I wake up my fingers are so stiff I can’t bend them for like an hour. They stiffen again if I stop moving them for more than 15-20 minutes. The pain and stiffness is on both sides, but worse on my right side. She ran bloodwork and everything was normal. She got x-rays of both hands and they were read as normal. So, now she’s not so sure.

What I know: the pain gradually increased over several months, peaking in January. As it increased so did my fatigue level. It was so bad it woke me up if I moved. Now it has gradually improved and is now moderate. I seem to be losing the ability to grip things, even when I don’t have pain. Dishes and glasses are starting to slip out of my grasp even if they aren’t heavy.

I’m frantic to have some kind of a diagnosis, or really a treatment. I can’t pull up a skirt in the morning, much less brush my teeth. This dropping things is a real problem. I need advice on how to function with limited use of my hands, and how to manage the symptoms. OTC NSAIDs do nothing. Neither does either heat or cold.

Thanks for any advice anyone has.

  1. Hi Flowergarden129. Sorry that you are having these difficulties. Getting a diagnosis can often be difficult. This article from our editorial team looks at the diagnostic process: In addition, this article from one of our contributors examines the fact that blood tests don't always tell the whole story and seronegative RA: Of course, only a doctor can provide a diagnosis, but remember you are always entitled to a second opinion if you feel you are not getting answers. Wishing you teh best and please keep us posted on how you are doing. Richard ( Team)

    1. Hey, flowergarden129,

      It's my understanding that RA doesn't show up on x-rays early on. Someone correct me if that isn't right......

      I am in the same bloodwork came back fine, so now my doc is just like, take these "flare" meds and come back in a month.

      I'm like, "flare" of what?????

      I hope you can get some answers. My hormone replacement doc. told me that she feels mine sounds autoimmune.....BUT early on......that might not show in bloodwork or even clear symptoms. If there is an autoimmune issue at play, it will present itself eventually. In the meantime, we have to figure out how to manage symptoms, I guess.

      I am getting a second always have that option, also. Good luck.

      1. Thanks for the responses. My symptoms started accelerating rapidly and my rheum decided I have seronegative RA. I can’t take MTX, so she went straight to the biologics. I had my first dose of Huirá on Sunday and I think I’m already feeling a bit better. Today it’s cold and rainy. My fingers are really hurting, but overall some of my most recent aches and pains are subsiding. Yay! Thanks for the support, everybody.

        1. Hey Flowergarden129!

          I am so glad you got such quick treatment on the biologic! Did you mean Humira? If so, here is a link to more information on the medication:

          Here's to hoping it continues to work and you feel more relief soon! ~Monica ( Team)

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