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RA, You Constantly Amaze Me With Your Creative Destruction

My name is Rebecca. I am 49 years old. I started exhibiting symptoms when I was 17. I experienced pain in my big toe, tiredness and swelling in my knees. I was always given excuses by my family MD that I was wearing the wrong shoes or was kneeling too much and had housemaids knee. I guess they weren’t familiar with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. By my late 20’s my thyroid gland had shut down and my big toe was not bending and excruciating. After getting a doctor that took me seriously, an X-ray revealed I had nothing left to my toe joint and the bulge I had was not a bunion as I was told, but was bulging bone. I had to have my toe fused to my foot with a titanium plate.

Over the years I have found that RA is a very systematic disease that does not quit and brings me surprises by showing me the many ways my immune system can attack my body. I am currently battling pain, swelling and stiffness in my wrists and finger joints. I have experienced chest pains from inflammation around my heart, high liver enzymes and now I am experiencing hair loss (in clumps) due to inflammatory alopecia.

Like many others with RA, I did not find a treatment that worked immediately. I have tried methotrexate which made me very sick to my stomach, Humira which just didn’t help, Leflunimide which worked for a while but became ineffective. I am now getting ready to try monthly infusion treatments. I have found that even though these medications have had their ups and downs, the alternative (ignoring RA and refusing treatment) usually results in my hospitalization. So, my advice is don’t give up, keep fighting, listen to your doctor but don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if things don’t feel right.

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.


  • Erin Rush moderator
    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing a part of your story with the community, rebeccav. I know so many of our members can relate to many parts of your journey. Unfortunately, many members have experienced a long road to diagnosis, as you did. Looking back, many of them realize they experienced RA symptoms for years before receiving a proper diagnosis.

    I hope your upcoming infusion treatments go well and you see some positive results from the medication. If you have any questions about the infusion process (if you haven’t been through it already), we have a number of articles on the topic.

    May your 2018 be a little easier and a little more pain (and medication side effect!) free!

    Thank you again for sharing your experience, your thoughts, and some great advice with the community. We’re glad to have you here!

    Best, Erin, Team Member.

  • rebeccav author
    2 years ago

    Hi Erin. I would like to know more about infusion treatments as I have not started them yet.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi rebeccav. Some of the particulars about infusion treatments will depend on the medication. Concerning the infusion experience, this video from one of our contributors offers tips for infusion day: Also, this article from one of our other contributors describes her experience with infusions: Hope this information is useful. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard ( Team)

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