Learning the Ropes

Diagnosed a little over a year ago with RA, it gave me answers for the frustration I had been experiencing with my joints and body. I’m 57 and have seronegative RA. As a nurse, my hands caused issues- unable to manipulate small items at times, I was frightened. I discovered in my journey I had a liver injury from a med I previously took, so was taken off all meds except blood pressure pills.

My struggle with depression resurfaced

Determined to forge through the six months to clear up my liver, the diagnosis made it impossible to take Tylenol or Motrin, or even my antidepressants. The struggle with my depression became very real again, and I went back to a therapist to get me over the hump.

I had to share about my diagnosis

Not wanting to share my diagnosis became impossible, as assistance with hand tasks was needed occasionally. Who knew spiking an IV bag could be so hard?? My coworker watched my face one night and asked me what was wrong. I said, “Nothing.” She then asked why do I look constipated when I’m spiking IV bags? We laughed and now she helps when necessary. Humor has been my go to. Now I admit to her that “my fingers are constipated today,” and she discreetly helps me.

It's challenging to judge if my treatment is helping

Now on medication, it’s still difficult to judge. Is it working? Is it the weather? A flare? This site, RheumatoidArthritis.net, and the forums available have helped tremendously. I find new, positive ways to deal with issues and find out the “why” of the symptoms. Everyone is different. It helps simply to know others have dealt with the same difficult to measure symptoms.

Recent events put things into further perspective

COVID descending on our community has been another learning curve. As a nurse on the front lines, I’ve been respectful of what the virus can do, and utilized the PPE and defensive self care. I’m not afraid.

I have new insight with my updated schedule

My hours have been cut drastically, and that extra time has given me new insights- I can still dig and plant; but I need to recover for two days in between. My love for reading has been renewed. Most of all, I’ve learned I don’t have to work 45+ hours a week to pay my bills. I’d like to encourage people to be adaptive- listen to your body and ask questions. I think the learning curve is lifelong, and it’s how you go about your journey, looking forward, not getting stuck.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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