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From Reactive Arthritis to Rheumatoid Arthritis

In 2004 I had a SEVERE respiratory infection from a virus. As I was finally getting over it, and starting to get up and do things, my feet hurt horribly. I went from one specialist to another finally had a bone scan. Severe arthritis was discovered in my feet and since it came after my infection, they diagnosed me with reactive arthritis. I was sent to a rheumatologist. Then other joints became involved always bilateral. My rheumatologist then diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis stemming from reactive arthritis. My RA factor has never become positive, but my rheumatologist is certain it’s RA and told me it may become positive later.

In 2009 I had viral pneumonia. I then became a Type 1 Diabetic at the age of 46. I always hold my breath when I get a severe respiratory infection, wondering what else will happen. Since my diagnosis of RA, I have developed degenerative spine disease and had 2 neck surgeries in the last 2 years. I have also discovered through x-ray that my lower back has fused. Now ankylosing spondylitis?

I can’t take the IV meds like Humira due to a history of osteomyelitis. I am stuck with plaquineal. It works o.k., but I still have quite a bit of pain.

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.


  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator
    4 years ago

    Hi Cyndy –

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story. The way RA affects each individual is unique, so it is possible to have RA without having a positive RA factor. It must be very difficult for you to deal with so many different diagnoses. I would recommend trying to get your doctors to talk to each other directly as possible to make sure you are getting the best possible care for each of your conditions. In the meantime please remember that we are here to support you!

    ~Mariah~ (Site Moderator)

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