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My RA story

My journey with RA started about 25 yrs ago. I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia a couple years before, so at first I just thought it was getting worse. Not the case! Numerous tests determined that I had RA. My grandmother had it, and she was very deformed, so at first I was very afraid of what was to come, then my family physician who was very informed about RA started me on Celebrex and Plaquinol and got me an appointment with a rheumatologist. The Celebrex was a lifesaver. The Plaquinol took quite a while to kick in, but finally did ( 3 months). I was relatively pain free for just over 17 years.

First the Celebrex started kicking my kidneys down, so I had to stop taking that. A couple months later a yearly eye exam showed abnormalities in my eyes, so I then had to stop the Plaquinol. From that point til the present has been like a bad, bad dream. The pain is so hard to describe to anyone that does not have RA. Even with pain killers life got really hard. There were many days I couldn’t even get out of bed after 6 months without Celebrex my kidneys were starting to improve, so I made the conscious decision to go back on it part time. Life was better, but nowhere near normal. I was put on painkillers and trying different RA meds. Finally was put on methetrixate in pill form. Took 3 to 4 months, but finally started feeling a little better, but still not good. Next came Methotrexate injection. A bit more progress, but still a gap between decent days and bad days. I can tell when the mtx is wearing off. This has been a 5 yr journey! The next step I’m told will be the biologics. I have taken the last 6 months deciding whether I want that step. With the painkillers, I am functioning fairly decently. Not able to go back to work, but at my age (60), I am not going to worry about that. Anyhow, now I am looking at Xeljanz. Waiting for an appointment with a new rheumatologist. I hope he can also help me with something more with the nerve pain that started as my hands and feet started to deform. I am on Lyrica 150 four times per day as well as Tylenol4 w codeine four times per day.

My journey has been 5 years of pain and disableing changes, but I will NOT give up!! I am very lucky to have a very loving, helpful, and understating husband (40 yrs). Without him I would probably not be able to keep my spirits up! He takes wonderful care of me. We travel to a warmer climate for the winter and I know I couldn’t do that on my own. So instead of being able to dwell on what’s wrong with me I prefer to take it as just another challenge in life.

Staying in bed hurting doesn’t get anything done, and in fact I think the pain feels worse! Getting busy or going outside for a while helps take my mind off the pain.
This is my journey so far. I’m thankful I had those 17 years when I was almost normal. The last 5 years have been hard, but the next 5 yrs and the next after that are going to be better because I won’t let it be any other way!

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.


  • Norreen Clark
    5 years ago

    Make sure you do your part. Research as mush as you can and decide what would be best for you. Many compulcation come with RA. You decide whats best for you. 40% of biological medication do not work and they cost thousands.
    Good luck and and keep the faith

  • Eva McCue Wilson
    5 years ago

    Hi Glenda, I know just how you feel with the pain of RA and the intense fatigue. It has taken me a long time to get where I am today, but I have improved much with the pain of RA due to the newer biological drugs. I finally got on the drug called Rituxan after trying other meds. It’s an infusion in the Rheumatologist’s office – 2 treatments every six months. I was scared at first because of the possible side effects, but being prepped with Benadryl, Tylenol and a steroid helps to prevent any side effects. It has been my miracle drug. I hope you get the help you need and not continue with senseless pain and suffering. I also suffer with osteoarthritis and problems with my neck and spine. Hang in there.

  • Glenda McDonald author
    5 years ago

    Yeah it’s the side-effects that really bother me! I know the effects of the tylenol 4 and the methetrixate/ Celebrex combo.
    I don’t know what the biologics are going to do. I am very happy that you are getting the treatment that works for you. I am still in the thinking stage. Going to get some new knees I hope ! It takes quite a while in Canada. If it not going to happen before next spring, we may head back to Hawaii for the winter! We don’t ever let the arthritis stop us from traveling .

    You hang in as well! All the people here are great! Nice to talk to others I see boat’

  • Andrew Lumpe, PhD moderator
    5 years ago

    Glenda, your story of fighting this terrible disease for so long is inspiring! Keep fighting! Andrew

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator
    5 years ago

    Hi Glenda~ Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. I’m so sorry to hear that you have been struggling with RA so much over recent years – but I am inspired to hear about how you have been able to keep going! Hang in there and remember that we are here to support you!!

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