Newly (And Finally) Diagnosed

Last updated: May 2022

In 2012, I was hurting all of the time. Eventually one of my healthcare friends strongly encouraged me to seek treatment. My primary care physician informed me that it was just "stress."

After researching the 2 rheumatologists in town, 1 by far had the best reviews. For two years, I saw him while he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. After various medications didn't help (meloxicam - destroyed my hearing, gabapentin, duloxetine, etc.) the doc said there really wasn't anything more he could do for me.

I began using medical marijuana to handle the pain.

Major knee & hip pain with RA

Jump to 2021......boy did my knees and hips hurt! I couldn't take it any longer and sought medical care.

Well, now the damage has been done.

I was told both of my knees needed replacement due to the severe damage. I also learned that both of my hips required replacement and I have significant issues with my feet and ankles.

By the Fall of 2021 (after the second knee replacement and two cataract removal surgeries) I was in such severe pain that I couldn't function more than a few hours per day. I could only walk a block.

I had two health scares ... in October I became ill and slept for 3 straight days.

In November it happened again and after sleeping for 3 days and enduring constant chills and fevers, I finally recovered after 3 weeks. I was so ill during this time that I had decided that it was okay if I was dying ... my children were old enough and they would be fine.

By the way, my surgeon's PA informed me it was just hormones. I won't be seeing him ever again!

Finally getting my RA diagnosis

There was finally a new rheumatologist in town, so I applied(!) to be a patient.

After a month I was accepted and scheduled an appointment for 4 months from then. Throughout this time, I was in PT 2 times per week and exercised in the warm water therapy pool.

Finally!!!!! I was diagnosed with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis and have begun my first DMARD.

Improving RA symptoms

I have transitioned my diet and followed the recommendations. With a sigh of relief, I can say that I'm not in constant whole-body pain.

Am I having a hard time wrapping my head around my new diagnosis? Yep.

My family doesn't understand and I am learning to accept that my life will involve new limitations and experiences. I've read several articles and stories on this site and I find myself nodding and going "yep" - so thank you for them!

Eye issues? Yep. Nodule in lungs? Yep. High blood pressure? Yep. Brain fog? Yep. Inability to sleep? Yep. On and on ...

Not being taken seriously by HCP's

I have been so frustrated trying to get medical professionals to hear me and to help me! I've been refused any pain medication during the past several years...going as far as to write that I won't be given any. Even with tests showing that I have severe joint damage to my hips and tears, no one will prescribe anything for pain. It took an MRI and my rheumatologist to insist my hip needs to be done NOW. (It happens next week!) My pain has been minimized by male physicians for years now.....even with me advocating for myself.

I am looking forward to learning more from all of you who are further on this journey than I am!

Shannon

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