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Marcia’s RA Story

As a young mother and wife I frequently had sore muscles and stiff joints. At that time I didn’t think much of it.  As I approached 50 I began having more aches and pains but thought it was due to my job which was physically demanding. When I was 49 my shoulder became very painful to use and hurt all the time. After a year and many doctor appointments, test, PT, and cortisone shots later it was decided I needed an Acromioplasty for impingement.

At my post opt appointment the surgeon told me that I had a lot of arthritis in that joint. Again I didn’t think much of it because my shoulder was much better. Within months of that surgery I began having troublesome aches and pains. My feet where the worst of my joints. It felt like I was walking on marbles. I also developed a terrible skin condition called psoriasis on my feet that would crack and bleed. After seeing a dermatologist I saw a podiatrist who put me on a short regime of steroids that did the trick. But it was short lived so I saw my GP who sent me to a Rheumatologist. She did some labs and a quick exam and told me to take a yoga class.

I was having a lot of difficult functioning because of the pain so I went back to my GP for another referral. This time the Rheumatologist took my symptoms seriously, and did all the appropriate blood work and diagnosed me with RA. He treated me with all the routine meds that somewhat worked for a while. He put me on biologics along with cortisone shots in my right knee (my worst joint) pretty quickly which kept me going for seven years.

I was then diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma and had to stop taking the biologics. My treatment for my cancer was Rituxan which helped my RA. But my right knee never really improved so 2013 I had a total knee replacement. My last Rituxan infusion was 10 months ago and at present I am having flares in a number of joints that are not being helped by DMARDs, NSAIDS or Prednisone. I will be talking with my doctor about getting back on the Rituxan even with the risks and side effects.

In 2012 after being sick 3 months I had a bowel resection due to diverticulitis that wouldn’t respond to antibiotics. I believe it may have been a side effect of the Rituxan. Life is a struggle everyday. I eat healthy, exercise and am compliant with my meds. All I can do is take each day as it comes (some are better than others) and enjoy the blessings in my life. I am 60 years old.

Websites I find helpful:

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.


  • Marcia Parker author
    5 years ago

    Andrew, I continued with my Rituxan maintenance every two months for two years after my initial 4 week treatment for my lymphoma. I am only guessing that the Rituxan could have been the cause for having my colectomy. Rituxan is an incredible drug that has me in remission at the moment and gives life back to those suffering with RA. I had never had a problem with diverticulitis and have always eaten health. Lots of fiber. This came on quite quickly. Of course my immune system was compromised because of the Rituxan which kills your b cells. All the meds we take have risks but without them we can’t function. I hope I have answered your question.

  • Andrew Lumpe, PhD moderator
    5 years ago

    Marcia, so sorry for the time it took to get diagnosed. Unfortunately, this is not all too uncommon with RA. Did you stop taking Rituxan because of the bowel issues? I currently am on Rituxan and it seems to be working pretty well.

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator
    5 years ago

    Hi Marcia – Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story! I think many of us understand what it is like to find reasons for each noes symptom until they just build up to be too many. And dealing with multiple diagnosis’s is never easy, but it sounds like you have really been through a lot. In the face of all of that it is so brave of you to stay positive and keep looking forward. Best of luck to you!

  • Marcia Parker author
    5 years ago

    Mariah, Thank you for your support. It’s been a rough couple of years but I take it one day at a time and focus on the many blessings in my life. I am so thankful for sites like this that helps me connect with people who really understand RA struggles. God bless you.

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