Newcomer With Severe RA

Hey people,

Mine is a story similar to many of yours. I am a 58-year-old (tough as nails as my husband puts it) woman who was and still tries to be very active. In my younger years I was a jogger/marathon runner, a body builder, a fitness center owner, taught phys ed for 13 years, drove a school bus and participated in many physical activities including self defense/karate.

In 2009 my family doctor thought that I had RA and sent me to a specialist. We lived in Raleigh, NC at the time so of course I went to one there. She looked at me for maybe two minutes and said that I did not have it. Nothing could have been further from the truth, but I did not realize this at the time. I have since been diagnosed for RA, Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis. I am on countless medications and I just told my husband that with the life style that I lived that I would have never thought in a million years that I would in such poor physical health, but there is no prevention against this auto immune disease that strikes many of us very hard.

I cannot do most of the things that I used to do. In fact, it is difficult for me to even straighten out my hands in the morning. At times I walk with a sever limp due to the pain in my back. My hands and arms are going numb on me more and more often. The pain is so severe at times that like many of you, I want to throw in the towel for good sometimes, but I want to watch my grandchildren grow up and grow old with my husband. Still, it is becoming ever more difficult to function. My RA doctor has painted a bleak picture of gloom and doom for my future. My husband was quite upset that he did that because he feels that we need to examine as many options as possible. In other words, whatever it takes!!!

So my question to all of you is, “Is there ANY light at the end of the tunnel”??? …….. or are we fighting a futile battle against the inevitable??

I need some feedback here because I am running short on hope.

Thanks to all who read this.

Linda G.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (5)
  • jlewis09
    2 years ago

    Hello there! I was recently diagnosed with RA and just like you I thought there was no hope and sort of fell into a depression. My rheumatologist put me on the right meds and I feel almost like my old self again. I’m 26 so pretty young for someone who is recently diagnosed, but I think I actually developed this when I was 17/18. Please don’t give up hope! There are diets, exercises, supplements, vitamins, etc…that you can take to also help with the pain. I’m still learning myself, but reading up on RA and becoming knowledgable can help too! Just know you are not alone.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    Thanks for writing jlewis09 and for the positive attitude. To expound on your point about the plethora of treatments, the evolution of treatments in just the past two decades has been dramatic. This article from one of our contributors, Kelly Mack (full disclosure – I’m her husband), looks at this evolution: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/the-evolution-of-ra-treatments/.

    Also, thought you might like this article from one of our contributors on, while not easy, keeping a positive attitude can make managing RA much less difficult: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/attitude-is-everything/. Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • thegallopinggrandma
    2 years ago

    Hi Linda, I have had RA for 17 years now and I am actually better, both mentally and physically than I was in the first few years. Not only has the medication improved, but there is support from other RA sufferers that give you hints and tips on how to cope ! Myself, I write a Blog at http://www.thegallopinggrandma.com as I am going to be 71 this year and you are never too old to try something new !! Best of luck xx

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    So sorry to hear about the diagnosis Linda. First, let me say, that I am glad that you are doing research and have sought out a community that can provide information and support. Treatments for RA have advanced quite a bit in a short period of time. This article from one of our contributors, Kelly Mack (full disclosure – I’m her husband), who was diagnosed very young and has seen many of the treatment changes chronicles the evolution and improvements: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/the-evolution-of-ra-treatments/.

    Getting an RA diagnosis can be extremely difficult and the emotional aspect of this may take a backseat to the physical, but is important to deal with. This article from our editorial team looks at these aspects, with some treatment information: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/symptoms/depression-anxiety-and-emotional-problems/.

    Please know that you can lead a happy and fulfilling life with RA. As this article form one of our other contributors points out, some things may change, but happiness can still be there: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/happiness-everything/.

    You may also want to check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RheumatoidArthritisDotNet/. Wishing you the best and please keep us posted on how you are doing. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • 2 years ago

    Hi Linda,

    It really is amazing how, in an astonishingly quick amount of time, RA can turn an active, healthy person into someone that is but a few steps from a wheelchair at times. This disease is very good at what it does. It degrades our health and our bodies and even has the power to literally change who we are. Once it sets in, we are slaves to the constant doctor’s appointments and endless pharmaceutical medications that keep us afloat, but never actually get us back to shore. Or are we?

    I don’t know you, but by reading your story I can tell that you are a fighter that won’t give up. As you begin to navigate this disease, here are some things that I have found helpful in dealing with my RA.

    – I treat my RA like any other fight that I’ve fought in my life. I won’t surrender and I will fight dirty, if need be.

    – Personally, it has occurred to me that maybe this disease is not just bad luck. Maybe it’s simply part of my journey. Have you ever been around a child that was suffering with cancer? It has always amazed me how much more mature they are and how undeniably strong they become as they fight their battle. I’ve always admired that and somehow knew that that strength and perseverance that they gain are a gift. Although I am not dying of cancer, I feel that I have been given a gift as a result of my RA. A gift of understanding ‘exactly’ what it’s like to be someone with a debilitating disease. I was a lesser person with a less developed sense of empathy and sympathy for others, than I am now after experiencing RA. So, we don’t just change on the outside, we change on the inside as well. And, it doesn’t have to be all bad change.

    – Remember too that there are always more than one way to skin a cat. You can go the pharmaceutical route, which is what most people do. Or, you can go the natural route, which is what I have done. Or, you can do some of both. Whatever route you choose make sure that ‘YOU’ are making the decisions.

    Personally, I have chosen the natural route and it has been a good path for me. I wish you the best as you figure out which treatment method is best for you.

    Here is my story, which will probably sound a little like deja vu to you.
    https://healing-naturally.org/2017/04/13/my-rheumatoid-arthritis-story/

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