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RA? Awaiting first rheumatologist appt

I was very fatigued and just wore out in Jan, figured I had caught a bug. A few days into this, I started having bilateral elbow pain. Bad enough that I could not lift a gallon of milk without excruciating pain and weakness. This went on for a month before I saw my PCP. She did labs for RA which all came back normal. She prescribed me a steroid dose pack and meloxicam. She said if this didn't help she would send me to rheumatologist. The steroids helped the first day or so when it was a high dose. As the dose went down so did the relief. The meloxicam never helped. I am now having stiffness the morning where it takes me forever to straighten my arm. I have pain in both elbows, wrists, hands and my left big toe joint?
I have an appt with a rheumatology doc that specializes in seronegative RA. My appt is not until July unfortunately. Anyone with seronegative RA that can describe your early symptoms. What you do for relief?

  1. Hi ssansoucie. Sorry you are having these issues and have this wait for an appointment with a rheumatologist, but it is great that you have sought out a place you can get information and support. I can't speak to your particular case (although we have plenty of seronegative community members, including my wife,Kelly Mack, who is a contributor here), however, this article looks at early signs and symptoms: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/symptoms/early-signs/ and this one gives an overview of treatments: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/treatment/.

    In addition, I want to share with you this article from our contributor Tamara on what to expect from your first rheumatologist appointment: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/what-to-expect-at-your-first-rheumatologist-appointment/ and this one from Kelly on questions for the doctor: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/questions-for-the-doctor/.

    Hoping you get some answers and relief soon. Please know that this community is here for you. Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

    1. Hi ssansoucie, I too have seronegative RA. My symptoms came on literally overnight. I woke up in the middle of the night with swelling so bad in my hands and fingers that they felt like balloons. I could barely close them. My lips were also swollen. I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something. But my mom (also seronegative) says that she knew right away what my symptoms were. After that I started to have problems with everything it felt like. Suddenly the trays at work were making my wrists ache. Suddenly when I crouched down there was a big chance that I would not be able to get back up without help. The swelling in my hands continued every morning. The Rheumatologist I saw didn't believe I was in any pain because my blood work always came back "normal". I fought with her to get put on meds for RA and unfortunately what she gave me did not help. Since then I have been on quite the medication journey- I found medications that were able to bring me into a drug induced remission for years. Until they stopped working now I am on a medication (Rinvoq) that works but it has not gotten rid of the morning stiffness, hand/finger swelling, or any of the "little things". But it has had a big impact on my larger joints, which is nice. When I feel like things are out of control in my body, I try to utilize heating pads or ice packs (I find that ice packs feel so nice on my swollen hands because the swelling makes them so hot and uncomfortable). Or sometimes if I feel like everything is hurting, I will soak in a hot bath for as long as I can. Temporary relief but its still nice. I know your post is over a year old now, but I think that maybe if someone else like me, was searching for posts regarding a seronegative diagnosis, they might see this and find some mental relief knowing they are not alone. I hope that the Rheumatologist you saw in July was able to help you and I hope everything is going well for you. - Kelsey

      1. thanks for sharing your story and offering support. I think it really helps sometimes to hear from others like you who have experienced symptoms but have found some light in the RA tunnel, so to speak. Really glad to hear you're doing better and thanks for supporting others with your insights here! - Reggie (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

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