Guys get RA

It was 2010, I was going to community college to get some education to move on in construction, hopefully a management position. I felt in my gut I needed to work smarter not harder. I was struggling in classes. I haven't been in school since '84, so it was hard. Started to feel stiffness. Played it off as sitting too much. Couldn't concentrate with the waves of pain. My wife said I show classic signs of ADHD. Went and got evaluated and diagnosed with ADHD. Started taking Strattera. It helped with concentration, but the pain was a big distraction. My hands and feet were numb, so I visited my primary care doctor, and she referred me to neurologist and told me to get new shoes. I had on new boots. Neurologist tested for carpal tunnel and came up with tendonitis and gave me ibuprofen. After the semester I decided I had to get out of the classroom and back on a jobsite. Got a job with a small company working long hours in commercial construction. Started feeling the fatigue thinking I was just out of shape and just had to adjust to working again. Had a huge flare in the peak of flu season, so treated it like the flu. Then it kept on for a month. I self medicated with OTC ibuprofen. Got let go from 3 different jobs for missing days and or not being able to work fast. Pain got overwhelming, so back to the doc. It took the physician assistant to "go out on a limb" and have me tested. Two weeks before my 48th birthday I get the news I tested positive for RA. I'm 51 now and I am early stage 3. My fingers are twisting, my toes are fused and don't bend as they should. And of course, the ankles, hips, wrists don't work as they should. My rhuematologist says I'm done working and of course, the powers that be think otherwise. My wife has my back, and not much support from family. I've actually gotten links for job apps from an aunt that I rarely see, touting she knows so-and-so with RA and they still work. My retired parents say everyone gets arthritis so quit yer b****in. I share info often almost to the point it annoys these people. These folks seem to forget I was in a severe car wreck 26 yrs ago with multiple broken bones and have worked physically demanding jobs and now my body is done. I used to pick up 12 ft sheets of drywall and run with it. I'm just an average size guy, and most guys wouldn't attempt to pick up a sheet of drywall let alone run with it. My wife now works full time for the first time in her life. I was always the provider and she worked part time for "fun" money. I try to help around the house, as I enjoy cooking. Some days I don't do much and am thankful she understands.

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