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54 year old female

I am a 54 year old female who was diagnosed with RA in August of 2014. I just simply woke up one morning and felt like I had been hit by a truck. My entire body hurt and my hands were swollen which was very unusual for me. Went to my primary doctor who did x-rays and ran blood tests. Within two weeks I was seeing a rheumatologist. He did more blood tests and diagnosed me with RA. I started on methotrexate along with prednisone. Have been on and off prednisone several times in the last two years. When the methotrexate stopped working I went to Enbrel which didn’t help and then to Humira adding Leflunomide as well. At the end of 2015 the Humira didn’t seem to be working anymore so my RA decided to have me try Orencia injections. Also increased the Leflunomide from 10 mg. to 20 mg. Have also tried plaquenil and sulfasalazine but suffered terrible side effects so had to discontinue. Since my diagnosis, my hands, hips and knees have been my main areas of pain but a couple of months ago my feet suddenly starting hurting to the point that I can barely walk some days. I can easily feel myself slipping into a depression. It is just so frustrating not to be able to just get up and do the things that you use to do in a normal day. I have just recently stopped the Orencia and will be starting on Actemra. Has anyone else had good luck with this medication? I am so hoping that this medication is going to be the one to give me the relief I have been hoping for. I was one of those people that when someone mentioned that they had arthritis I just thought it was a few mild aches that you got from aging. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that it could be so painful and debilitating. I now have tremendous empathy for people living with this disease.

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  • Richard Faust moderator
    3 years ago

    Thanks for writing Twila. Sorry to hear that you are having these difficulties finding a treatment that works for you. The type of arthritis that comes with age that you mention at the end of your story is osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid, in contrast, is an autoimmune condition. This article from one of our contributors goes over the differences:

    You mention that you will soon be starting on Actemra. Here are a couple of articles from our editorial team looking at how it works, its effectiveness, side effects, and safety:

    One of the hardest aspects of receiving an RA diagnosis is dealing with the emotional aspects of the condition. Please consider speaking to a professional about these issues. Here is an article from the editorial team on the emotional aspects of an RA diagnosis:

    You may also want to speak with your rheumatologist about pain management. Here is an article from one of our contributors about her experiences with pain management:

    And one from our editorial team on types of pain and treatment:

    I know this probably seems like an incredible amount of information here, but when it comes to a condition like RA information is power. Please know that you are not alone and that people here in the community are here to offer support and information. You may want to checkout the Facebook community at

    Please keep us posted on your progress. Wishing you the best.

    Richard ( Team)

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