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Getting a diagnosis took me ten years

I have always been overweight and had chronic pain. Whenever I would complain to my Drs. about the chronic pain, fatigue and depression, they prescribed anti-depressants and said I should consider losing weight. Gee what a concept, why didn’t I think of that? Once I even tried exercising and dieting just like they said. I walked 3-4 times a week around my neighborhood for 3 months and ate sensibly. I still felt like crap and everyday struggled just to get out of bed.

Finally after seeing the Dr, yet again I was told, well it just takes time. I gave up. Resolved myself to never feeling well again. Several years, moving several times, I finally found a Dr whose first response to my complaints wasn’t “well you might want to lose weight,” instead he did blood work and finally sent me to a rheumatologist.

Hooray! At least now I know what it is and I’m not just fat and lazy. While it’s not the best news to know you have a chronic illness it is nice to know there’s treatment. I was diagnosed with RA and fibromyalgia. I wish Dr’s weren’t so blind when they see a patient who is overweight to immediately assume that the weight is the problem. I could have been diagnosed and treated much sooner.


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.


  • mcadwell
    2 years ago

    I am glad you finally found a doctor that could diagnose you. It’s been 18 years for me and I still don’t have a diagnosis!

    My rheumatologist is treating me for RA but tells me he can’t yet diagnose me without the synovial test. But none of my joints are swollen enough to get any fluid. Grrrrrrrr!

    (So, should I hope for a joint that swells more so there’s enough fluid for the test? Sigh)

  • Mary Sophia Hawks moderator
    11 months ago

    Ask for the VECTRA DA blood test. It showed positive, when my other RA tests were negative. It looks at 14 different factors and determines a level of RA. I’ve never had my rheumatologist suggest a synovial fluid test!

  • BS2018
    2 years ago

    Time to get a new doctor. I’ve never had one joint aspirated for synovial fluid. All my blood tests are normal. I had to go to the Mayo Clinic to finally get a diagnosis no one will argue with. I was getting some treatment before that but it was begrudgingly—like the doctor’s weren’t really sure I was that sick. I highly suggest making the trip if you can. Depending on your insurance, you can refer yourself.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    So sorry you had to experience this Sue. I’m glad you finally found a doctor that was willing to listen. Hopefully now you will get the treatment and level of care you need. You mentioned fibromyalgia, which unfortunately, can often be comorbid with RA. This article from our editorial team looks at fibromyalgia and RA: Please know that you are always welcome here for support and information. Best, Richard ( Team)

  • tenaciousthimble
    2 years ago

    This is me. Since Fall of 2008 I had been misdiagnosed dozens of times until yesterday when the Rheumatologist I saw tells me I have RA and that it was hard to diagnose before because I’m in the 15% that doesn’t show it in tests. For years I blamed myself thinking it was my weight because that’s what I was told.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    Sorry to hear about the diagnosis tenaciousthimble and what you went through to get it, but glad you have come to a place you can get information and support. As noted in this article (and as you know), there is no one test for diagnosing RA:

    Dealing with a diagnosis is certainly not easy, but know that treatments have come a long way in recent years and now that you can get on a treatment regimen a full life is certainly possible. One of our contributors wrote a ten part series on things she would like to tell her newly diagnosed self (I recommend the whole series). Number one is on getting and dealing with the diagnosis: Please feel free to reach out to this community whenever you need a little extra support or have questions. Wishing you the best. Richard ( Team)

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