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RA, mononucleosis,and pancreatitis.

One year ago, I began experiencing severe fatigue. Not unusual due to RA diagnosis several years ago. Then I started experiencing stomach pains right under my ribs, all the way across. Low grade fever (99 -101) aggravated the fatigue. When I went to the doctor, not my PC, he tested for flu and diagnosed bronchitis. Several days later, not feeling better, went back to medical center feeling faint in addition to same symptoms. I passed out with BP 75/50. Started IV fluids and sent me to emergency room. Drew blood, finished IV and sent me home. On Monday, I was back at the doctor and was admitted to hospital. More blood work x-rays, CT and MRI. Diagnosis: swollen spleen, pancreatitis and infectious mononucleosis. Several days of antibiotics and liquid diet, I was sent home. Seem to be okay, though I still have flares on occasion. Recently, started feeling the same way but my mono test was negative though white count was elevated as was ESR and CPR. PC increased potassium, magnesium and calcium, after a week, I was better.

My question is; has anyone else had a similar experience and should I expect more?

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  • Barbara Vincent
    2 years ago

    Many years ago in 1970 and pregnant, I suddenly had a pain across the upper abdomen so severe that it felt like I was being cut in half with a knife. I collapsed and was rushed to hospital and as I was 5 months pregnant admitted. after almost two weeks and many tests, they diagnosed severe pancreatitis. I stayed in hospital for almost 11 weeks when they induced the baby. Healthy but small due to the restricted diet I had been on. Once the baby was born, my beautiful Marie, all seemed well. They doctors could not explain why I had suffered this attack as I almost never drank alcohol. O.k. let’s move on 45 years. My husband was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2010 and three weeks later, while he was in intensive care, I woke up one morning soaked in perspiration, with a violent headache and in pain from head to foot. wrists and fingers so swollen I couldn’t move them. O.k. Dengue fever and Ross River fever were everywhere in this tropical area, so I though gosh, must have picked one of them up. O.k. off to the doctor where I said, maybe I have one of those infections. He looked at me and said, Yes possibly, but perhaps we should test you for RA too. Well he was right, I was wrong (basically, never a good idea to self diagnose). So there I was, husband in ICU hardly able to move for the pain and stiffness feeling very sorry for myself. I sat in the surgery and cried like a baby. To cut a long story short, it took three months to get any relief from the condition, meanwhile trying to support my husband through the chemo and radiation. There were times when I crawled on the floor to get to him to help him, as I was having an acute flare. The RA did not come on gradually, but was, the specialist said, triggered by the tremendous stress of my husbands illness. I was referred to an excellent Rheumatologist who finally got everything under control, using the various meds available. Due to the sudden onset leading to an early diagnoses of the condition, I was able to begin meds right away, which means that I only have a couple of joints in my fingers badly affected by the RA, but I do still experience the occasional nasty flare, controlled by the emergency Prednisolone plan that my RA guy has set up for me. Life is good, although I miss my darling husband. However due to early intervention and a good RA guy I am able to do most things that I did before, most of the time. So for you folk out there, newly diagnosed, hang in there, work with your medical managers and life can be good. When I wake up in the morning and my fingers and wrists are very stiff, I find soaking my hands in hot water as hot as I an tolerate, helps tremendously. By the way, My specialists told me, that the pancreatitis I experienced when pregnant, was due to an autoimmune flare, which then became dormant until the stress of my late husbands illness triggered the full blown RA.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your story Barbara. So sorry to hear about your husband. You are absolutely correct about the difference that early diagnosis and treatment can make. This article from one of our contributors has the straightforward title “New to RA? Treat it. Please.”

    For everyone in the community, this article from our editorial team looks at early signs and symptoms:

    Best, Richard ( Team)

  • Erin Rush moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi and thank you for sharing with us! I am sorry you had such a rough time of it last year! I will say that our members have shared that they seem to be much more prone to picking up various illnesses and viruses, due to a compromised immune system. And, when they do get sick, they stay sick longer and take longer to recover than others that do not have RA. While no one can say for certain whether you will continue to experience episodes like this, it sounds like you are very proactive about taking care of yourself and now you know what to watch for. Hopefully, catching your illnesses early will help manage them a but better. I thought you might find this article on illness and RA relatable — Don’t be afraid to keep advocating for yourself. You know your body better than anyone else, so if you feel like something is off, make sure you let your doctors know and that they listen to you. I am glad you are not dealing with mono again, but I think it’s wise that you are staying on top of things. Thanks for sharing and good luck! Best, Erin, Team Member.

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