For years I've had the diagnosis of "connective tissue disease" which sounded to me like "IBS.” You know when you have symptoms that Doctor’s can't seem to put a name on....
You get this wide range diagnosis with multiple symptoms that almost every disorder harbors. My head spun with thoughts and ideas and possible diagnoses. I remember asking my Doctor, "Is this a real thing? "
I couldn't pinpoint triggers, symptoms were always changing, and I couldn't even remember when this all started because it was so sudden that I assumed it was from overuse of muscles and improper lifting.
I use to wake up with a numb arm, it would take a while to get back to its regular feeling. Weird pains would hit my shoulder and then oddly my ankle was sore. The pain would get stronger and eventually I would limp until the next day when it was gone. My hip ached so bad one day, I must have whacked it against a corner because I'm too clumsy for my own good. Why can't I open this jar, my wrist is so sore I just can't do it anymore. It's swelling from the middle of my wrist to the top of my hand. Forget it, no laundry today it hurts too f$#n much. Now, every two days the pain would travel somewhere else within my body. My left arm is numb; I can't even stand it. I can't tell if it's painful, I just know it's not right.
This stands out to me strong in memory, I was holding on to rails and walls and anything I could to make it down the next hall and the next task and the next step at work. Can't move my ankle and I'm trying not to bend my arm, not twisting at my waist, and now my damn neck I can't even turn my head.
My RA factor kept coming up negative. I would call my Rheumatologist in tears. More blood work done, okay ANA elevated again. Other factors are again negative. I would call and be in extreme pain with sausage like extremities that when I finally had the appointment everything was back to normal.
One day, both my hands were so swollen I just couldn't bend my fingers or my wrists. I couldn't do anything but cradle them against my chest while I moved. I couldn't rest, no where to put them. They hurt anywhere, any way I moved or placed them. My Doctor told me to come right down to the office. He took one look at my hands, looked up at me and said. "I’m going to have to say by the appearance and symptoms you have been experiencing that it is RA with a negative RA factor." I felt the numb all over again.
Medicine after medicine, the best results have come from Enbrel this past year.
My Rheumatologist is amazing. He listens to me, he is calm and collected, honest and true.
Right now, what RA tips would most be helpful for you?