My life; my RA story

I’m Dayna and I was 43 when I was diagnosed 12 years ago.

Although I am convinced now that I had it for several years and didn’t know. Ironically, I was working with people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and terminal illnesses. Some of my clients had RA and one of those clients, insisted I had it. I didn’t believe her. I was in Indiana with my significant other for vacation when I woke up one morning and I could not open my hands. I forced them open. And then I noticed I looked like a cartoon character. My hands and feet were extremely swollen, prompting people to ask if I was “retaining water.” Granted it was hot and humid, but I couldn’t even wear shoes, including flip flops. And I was having chest pains. The drive home, back to Wyoming was excruciating.

I saw my primary physician when I arrived home and he thought it was RA. He referred me to a Rheumatologist. And, indeed, it was RA. I was treated aggressively with Remicade, Humira, and Methotrexate. But the side effects became so bad, worse than having RA, that I stopped all medication for several years.

My new rheumatologist was amazed that I have done as well as I have for not treating it and wanted to know my “secret.” I told him denial. And I refuse to let this disease get the best of me. It is catching up with me, however. It is in my wrists, my shoulders, my knees, my neck, my back.

I have had both hips replaced, and a knee. Shoulder surgery last summer. My hands and feet show deformity. And I have trouble tolerating medication.

Luckily, I work from home, so getting up in the morning and having to go to work is no longer an issue for me. I travel whenever possible, both for work and for fun, and have learned how to deal with the RA when traveling. I have had to make adjustments and learn to live with it. I would not say I am thriving, but I am living. And I will continue to live and work and maintain a sense of humor for as long as possible!

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Comments

View Comments (3)
  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator
    5 years ago

    Hi Dayna – Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. It sounds like you have been through a lot. I really admire your courage and positive attitude! I think you are right that maintaining a sense of humor can sometimes be the best medicine at all! I’m glad that you have found our community. Remember that we are here to support you! Hang in there!

  • Kathy P.
    5 years ago

    Dayna, I also live in Wyoming. I know of only 2 rheumatologists here, one in Casper, and Dr. Monger in Cheyenne. The rheumatologist I really liked left last year. Are there any others you know of? Thanks!

  • Dayna Bennett author
    5 years ago

    Hi Kathy.
    I saw Dr. McGuire in Casper and I would not recommend her. She did absolutely nothing for me. I was diagnosed by Dr. Monger, who is a good dr. However, I ran out of insurance shortly after I was diagnosed and I was dropped as a patient. They are the only two I know of. I am now seeing Dr. Thackor, who is in Ft. Collins, CO. If you want his information, I will gladly give it to you.

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