Was It Really Just Growing Pains?
Many of us wonder about the cause of our RA.
I know obsessing over the cause of my lupus and RA is not the answer.
But I’d be lying if I said that I never think about the cause, especially when I read about others with RA taking their children to doctors regarding “growing pains” that they fear may be the beginnings of arthritis in their children.
Growing up, I suffered from “growing pains”.
I had severe knee pain a lot. It was so bad at times that I would wake up crying. My parents would either massage my knees with lotion, give me children’s aspirin, or both.
I know that my parents mentioned the knee pain to doctors, and I know that it was always attributed to “normal growing pains”.
I never thought much of this because “growing pains” seem to be a natural effect of growing.
But what if the supposed “growing pains” weren’t normal? What if they were the first signs of RA, catching us unaware, so many years ago?
There are also a few other pieces of my early medical history, aside from being born almost three months premature, that point to things that only make sense now.
My eye doctor used to ask if I had ever been diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) because of the quality, or lack thereof, of my eyesight.
When I was about four years old, I developed a very strange rash. Ultimately, it was deemed heat rash. However, I was told that at that point, they suspected that I may have lupus, but I was tested and it turned out to be negative. I only found out recently that lupus was suspected. At the time, I was too young to really know what was going on.
So what does this all mean?
Does this mean that I have really been sick for decades?
Or were these just coincidental occurrences that now seem like a big deal?
When I was first diagnosed, my rheumatologist was stunned that, in the past year, I had suffered with multiple bouts of strep throat and pink eye, and that no doctor seemed concerned about it.
He seemed to think that such infections (and multiple ones, at that), in an otherwise healthy person, suggested that there were issues with my immune system that should have been paid attention to earlier.
But it wasn’t until I had many symptoms all at once that any medical professional really took notice, even when I realized that there was definitely something amiss happening to my body.
At first, these were things that I attributed to being a senior in college, applying to graduate school, etc. It certainly wasn’t at the top of my list to think that I might be suffering from, not just one, but multiple chronic, incurable illnesses.
So six years after diagnosis, while I am not letting it plague me, I do have questions about how my earlier medical history might have contributed to my illnesses today.
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?