I have what now?

I’ve always been a busy girl, someone who takes on a bunch of things at once because we only have one life on this Earth and I’m determined to make the most of it. I’ve always been the tough girl of the group. Running trail races and triathlons, dancing in musicals, falling down and getting right back up. Tenacity became my motto. No matter the injury or the obstacle I will always keep going. I hold that tighter now than ever.

In the beginning of this year I started to notice a few strange things happening with my body. Some fingers and toes had been swollen for long periods of time. My wrist would swell and be extremely painful for a few days. I was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I attributed it to the new and different stressors in my life and the fact that I still wasn’t slowing down with my training. I was in the last semester of school for my teaching credential which meant I was student teaching at a high school while going to a seminar once a week at the college. I was teaching two high school classes of general PE and one dance class. Being on my feet like that was a little different than what I was used to so my body was just adjusting, right? Besides, I had no time to see a doctor. I wasn’t allowed to miss one day of school. I was too busy to dwell on it anyway. My boyfriend had become my fiancé and I had a wedding to plan, a 50k to train for, and a teaching credential to earn. Pain was pain but it wasn’t going to stop me.
Finally, the semester was over and I was able to see a doctor. By this time my feet had been killing me for a couple months. That made it especially difficult to teach. I had a feeling something was not right. The blood tests from my primary care physician were concerning enough for him to send me to a rheumatologist. I made an appointment for the next day. After more blood tests it was confirmed. Rheumatoid arthritis. That was not what I wanted to hear. I called my fiancé as I walked to my car in tears. “I know you didn’t sign up for this but I hope you still want to marry me.” He did. When our wedding came around about two weeks later the “in sickness and in health” held a little extra weight.

The last few months since diagnosis I have been reluctant to start any drug therapies. Everybody had an opinion about what I should do. Try diet change! Try this herbal remedy! Try snake oil! Try this! Try that! It was hard to think straight. I did try a drastic diet change for a little bit but there wasn’t even the tiniest glimpse of improvement. My feet felt like they were going to shatter each time I put my feet on the floor. I got a full time job at a local high school as a dance teacher so I needed to do something that would actually help. My doctor prescribed methotrexate three months ago but I was putting it off. I am not a fan of taking pills unless absolutely necessary. The more I thought about it and researched it the more I realized I needed to do something. It’s early, I’m young, I want to be able to dance to my grave. Letting the RA go without treatment sounds like shooting myself in the foot or hands or knees…

I took my first dose of MTX yesterday. I was terrified. I still am. I was a bit nauseated yesterday and still am at the moment. My head feels like it’s not actually attached to my body and I’m incredibly fatigued. Still, I hopped on my bike this morning before church just to see if I could. I did, albeit slowly. Part of me feels like I’m taking poison while the other part of me is hopeful that this will help in the long run. I want to be the crazy old lady who teaches the youngins how it’s done during the day and goes swing dancing with her husband at night.

Time will tell. I take comfort in the fact that it’s all in God’s hands. I’m just borrowing this body, anyway.

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 (9)
  • Aldely
    4 years ago

    Hello Reesa! I have been diagnosed with RA for 3 years now and so scared to say it loud but here it goes: I have never felt this good!!!. There is hope and is possible to be pain free. I have been in several medications, including Methotrexate. The pain was always there. 6 months ago I started juicing and my Dr. Put me on Leflunomide. I think I found the right combination between diet and medication. I just juice in the mornings, do a detox juice, quit my coffee because was triggering inflammation, gluten free diet and it does work for me. So far only one flare up this year. Hang on there and find what works for you. Hugs!

  • Darlene Lonkar
    4 years ago

    Hi Reesa. Sure hope u feel better . I was diagnosed about 10 years ago and always so busy. My first med to take was methotrexate. It always made me so nauseated and weak for 2 days after taking it. Then it quit working one day. I have been on many meds . They seem to work for a while but then for some reason quit working . I hope and pray they find a good working drug for you. This is not a fun disease. I have had 4 surgeries this year related to my RA. I am lucky to have a supporting loving family.

  • Mallorie
    4 years ago

    I was feeling a little discouraged today and in reading your post I felt both inspired and reassure by your optimistic attitude. Thanks for the dose of strength to keep on fighting. We’re not alone. 🙂

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator
    5 years ago

    Hi Reesa – Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. Your path to diagnosis sounds so similar to mine – I was an extremely busy law student when I noticed one joint after another starting to hurt. And I had a similar experience with my fiancé, now my husband (and we have two beautiful sons also!). I also completely understand your reluctance to try medical therapies, but I will tell you from experience that if you can work with your rheumatologist to find the right combination of medications to treat your RA it can make a HUGE difference in your quality of life. And, taking these medications now, can prevent long-term joint damage too. In any event, I think you are being very brave and looking at a life-changing diagnosis with optimism, which I truly admire. Please remember that everyone in this community understand what you are going through and we are here to support you! Let me know if you have questions or just need someone who understands to talk to! ~;o) Hang in there!

  • Reesa Partida author
    5 years ago

    Thank you for the words of encouragement. It’s nice to know there are people out there who do understand. Keep up the good work!

  • Robin K. Blum
    5 years ago

    It is scary, but you sound like the kind of person who will adjust. I asked my doctor for the injectible form of Methotrexate right off the bat, as it does not cause the stomach issues that the pills do. It’s not difficult to inject (after the first time), you might want to try it instead of the pills.

  • Pam H
    5 years ago

    Is your rheumy recommending that you take folic acid with your methotrexate? I’m pretty sure I couldn’t tolerate it without extra folic acid. I’ve taken it for about 9 years now and it has helped with stopping damage. It does take some time to really begin to work too…

  • Reesa Partida author
    5 years ago

    Oh yes, I’m definitely taking folic acid. Things do take time…it’s a great lesson in patience.

  • Cheryl Bailey
    5 years ago

    I hope you are going to a rheumatologist… methotrexate is one thing but is normally used is conjunction with other drugs. ..I personally could not take it gave me severe abdominal cramping. ..I too as you was active. ..go getter fit, thin actually that was 14 years ago I’m 51 now. ..it gets better I think you get used to a lot of the symptoms. ..I have tried many therapies through the years you need to find what works for you everyone is different and be PRO ACTIVE about your treatment. .. You know your body what is and is not working! ! People and drs are amazed how well I do. .. some of it is stubbornness but I keep a positive outlook and don’t spend time feeling sorry for myself. ..I just keep doing all the things I love that I can do… some things have to stop but I fill the voids with the other things I love. ..Good luck to you! ! Chin up!! There’s always someone that has a lot worse stuff wrong with them! I always remind myself of this when I’m feeling down! !

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