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Deb’s story

Hello all. My name is Debbie Robinson & I am new to the group. I felt that joining would be valuable, since we can all gain new understanding of this terrible illness by reading about each other. Being around those who know what I am living with will be a big help.

I have quite a few chronic pain illnesses. But the R.A. is by far the toughest, as it has destroyed so many joints over the years. I have RA, Fibro, myositis, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, osteo arthritis etc. I started having joints replaced 8 years ago. Started with my right hip. 5 years ago, the right knee. That was so badly damaged, that it never healed correctly. My hands are stuck, that I am no longer able to open them all of the way, nor close them without agonizing pain. It spread to the backs of my hands, palms. Ankles and bottoms of my feet. Also, has moved into my neck & spine.

I try my best to just keep going. But when I suddenly lost my husband just 4 months ago, my symptoms really amped up. I can no longer use a cane or walker due to my hands. I frequently lose my balance, & have been known to fall. Finally, when I was at my RA specialist last week, he ordered me an electric wheelchair. Not happy about this. Was in a normal wheelchair before & hated it. I wonder if the pain & stress of losing my dear hubby has anything to do with the fast getting worse of the illness. I know that stress can play a big role. Does anyone have an opinion? I would welcome some feedback.

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


  • Alice
    1 year ago

    Deb,I know that stress is a major factor in how my RA is acting.Everyday with this disease is a challenge,but when we suffer a loss as you have or have any extra burdens all my joints infact my complete body has more pain. The flares are much worse and harder to control.

  • Mary Sophia Hawks moderator
    1 year ago

    Absolutely!! When my husband died, my symptoms continued to ramp up until I had a complete flare which required 4 months in bed. I suggest you see a counselor and find a support group specific to grief. GriefShare helped me a great deal. I am so sorry for your loss. I promise, the blackness does not last forever. The light will return.
    While the electric wheelchair seems to be such a hard consequence, it may bring you freedom you can’t imagine. Please know you are not alone.
    Hugs to you.


  • JJ
    2 years ago

    I am so sorry you lost your husband. Please know that having lived with arthritis for 35 years Just know thatabsolutely the loss of your hubby can cause a negative affect on rheumatoid arthritis Or any chronic illness for that matter. I situation was a little different, as my husband walked out as I was going to experimental treatments for RA. I became bedbound for a short time until I made the decision I have two choices, either lay here in this bed and die or get up and do the best I can and volunteer.

  • Erin Rush moderator
    2 years ago

    I am so sorry for the loss of your husband, Debbie. I can say that stress can definitely have a negative effect on conditions like RA. You can read more about the link between stress and RA flares here — While certain kinds of stressful events are unavoidable, it’s good to have a plan for helping our bodies and emotions weather the storms as best as possible. If you have a support system to be there for you, that’s one way to minimize the effects of stress on your body. Losing a loved one will never be easy, nor will the pain fully go away, but I hope you have people you can call on when you are having a tough day and just vent or even ask them to help you with physical tasks you may not be able to do on certain days. And I don’t blame you for being unhappy about the order for an electric chair. Not to sound too “Pollyanna”, but you can view the new chair like any other aid; something that is designed to help you live your life to the fullest. And like any aid, some days you may need it and other days, you may be fine using your non-electric chair. It doesn’t have to be that once you start using an electric chair, you will never be able to go back to the old one. I know it may feel that way. And it’s okay and normal to feel that way. And that can be another important tool in dealing with stress — go ahead and have all those feelings. If you’re mad; be mad. If you’re sad, go ahead and be sad. Letting those feelings out can definitely help your body. As both your body and soul recover from the loss of your spouse, you may notice improvements in your pain and mobility. And maybe you won’t. I wish I could tell you for certain what will happen in the future. No matter what the future holds, please know you are welcome here anytime you want to share, learn, or even just vent. Thank you for sharing a part of your story with the community! We’re glad to have you here. Best, Erin, Team Member.

  • kiddthejack
    2 years ago

    I am new, too! Diagnosed in 2015, live in a rural area, I feel the same way, I hope to benefit from the knowledge of other people, that have a better understanding than I do. Seems like this disease is so different for each of us. Best wishes to you

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