How bad will it get?

I won’t write a long list of all the usual symptoms that we all get with having RA; but I was diagnosed with facet joint RA last year and although I’d been having the pain etc, I didn’t associate it with arthritis and didn’t go to the GP because I didn’t think there was a lot that could be done for just a bit of back pain.

Over the last year, things seem to have got worse very quickly… pains in my legs, tingling in my hands/feet, and the fatigue (which is a huge part of it). I’ve had an MRI and been told that I also have a bulging disc in my lower back, which is now pressing on the nerves (hence the leg/hand pains). I’m on medication for nerve pain (amitriptyline) as well as taking codeine/paracetamol for the other pain control.

Being new to this, I have a few questions…
1) I’m currently 42 years old and up until last year I was taking the bike out and cycling 100 miles+ at a time. Twelve months later and I’m at the point where I struggle to take the dogs out for a walk or take the kids to school. How bad is my mobility going to get? Am I looking at being in a wheelchair sometime in the next ten years??

2) Is there anything I can do to improve my fatigue? I’m constantly tired even though I’m sleeping through the night with the help of drugs.

3) I no longer want to socialise with people. I wasn’t one for talking to all and everyone, but at least I’d talk to my friends. Is there anything that can be done to improve my mood? The constant pain and tiredness is to blame, I think.

4) What do people do about work? I was made redundant a couple of years ago and although I’m looking for work, I’m wondering what I’m capable of doing with the reduced mobility and constant tiredness.

5) Does the pain ever go away? I realise that it comes down to pain management i.e. drugs or surgery. But does the pain ever get to a point where you can ignore it, or is it always going to be 24/7?

Any help you can give me will be great! As I said, I’m new to this and feel as though I’m going downhill quickly.

Many thanks!
Adam

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