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Only beginning

Until recently I work the past 10 years as an underground coal miner in WV. I didn’t have any problems until about 2 years ago. At that time, I had no idea what was going on with my body. I thought it was just me getting older and the wear and tear on my body from my job. It started hitting me at the age of 48. Well, 6 months ago I moved to Tampa, Florida, and my flare ups had gotten worse, so I went to a Rheumatologist who diagnosed me with RA. My grandfather had it as a young man, which in time, deformed his entire body and left him in a wheelchair.
So far, the only medication I have tried is Methotrexate…. But I still have flare ups on occasion that leave me unable to walk. Hopeful I don’t suffer the same fate as my grandfather.

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.


  • Eebtool
    2 years ago

    First off, thanks to you, to your friends and community for the hard work that you all do to help keep America’s lights on and industry moving.
    I wish you well and hope that you can move forward on an enjoyable life with as little RA related issues as possible.
    My thoughts are this, Listen to your body, It can tell you a lot of things if you pay attention. Don’t blow off any new twinge, increased fatigue, ache or pain as just part of getting old or that’s just RA, but file that information for future reference for the next time you have the same or similar feeling. If you see a pattern forming, by all means let your doctor know. Having a battle plan to act fast to resolve any RA issues will help in the long run.

    May the only chair with wheels in your future be the one you keep under your desk.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    3 years ago

    Sorry to hear about your diagnosis ktbearpaws, but glad you are reaching out to a community that can offer information and support. Know that your fears about what may be to come are understandable and not uncommon, but also understand that RA treatments have changed/advanced considerably since your grandfather was battling it. My wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here) was diagnosed at two years old and she does use a wheelchair, but she has an extreme case and most of the joint/bone damage she has occurred prior to many of today’s best treatments. With modern treatments she lives a happy life and continues to work full-time.

    Here is an article from our editorial team on RA Myths and Facts, including looking at damage and disability:

    You mention that you are currently using methotrexate, so here is our write-up about it: Since you are still having pretty extreme flares you may want to talk to your rheumatologist about additional treatment options.

    Finally, as newly diagnosed it is important not to neglect the stress and emotions related to dealing with the new diagnosis. This article discusses this:

    I know I’ve given you several articles here (they are short, honest) and the last thing you may be thinking about is reading more about RA, but remember in figuring out how to best fight it, knowledge is power. If you haven’t already, you may also want to check out our Facebook page at

    Keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard ( Team)

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