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Smiling on the outside, frightened on the inside

Hello. I just found this site and am thankful to all of you for the information and the sharing. I was recently diagnosed with moderate RA. I already knew I had osteo-arthritis but this diagnosis is new for me. I don’t know why it caught me off guard since my mama and her mama had it too.

There is a post here somewhere that mentions these flu symptoms: Fever*, Cough, Sore throat, Runny or stuffy nose, Body aches, Headache, Chills, Fatigue, Sometimes diarrhea or vomiting. *Not everyone gets a fever.

I have all of them, 24/7, except for the fever and vomiting. I take Norco and nerve pain meds (more on that later) and have been on Plaquenil several weeks. It seems to make my joint pain, especially in my hands and left heel, worse instead of better. So I’m thinking he might move on to the more “serious” meds at some point. This is so scary to me.

I already have severe nerve pain from neurofibromatosis. My little lumps are all inside, surrounding my nerves, except for about a dozen on my right forearm. So nobody knows about this. This also causes white spots in my brain so I have problems here but, so far, they are manageable. I also have an almost inert colon and am fighting that battle, and many food allergies. And now, RA? Ironically, I’m 62 and look a good ten years younger. Nobody understands that I’m not well.

I am severely allergic to aspirin and all related products so the only anti-inflammatory medicine I’ve ever been able to take is cortisone and I am hesitant to start that. Mama lived on it the last 17 years of her life. She lost a lot of her eyesight as well as other things.

I am trying very hard to live a normal life but some days are really bad and I just have to stay in bed and sleep or read. It really makes me sad that I cannot do the things I could just a few years ago, like my hobbies of stained glass and playing the piano. I read a lot and also can still make sugar art cake toppers to put on cakes I bake and decorate and give away.

Anyway, this post is too long and probably too much information, but I wanted to say, “Hey. I’m here and I thank you so much for this website.”

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.


  • PamelaP author
    4 years ago

    Wow, karenkaye. I am humbled by your comment. Thank you so much. The only update I have is that the Plaquenil did not help at all so now I’m on Methotrexate. It might be helping but there are no bad side effects. I’m thinking maybe I need a stronger dosage? Anyway, I lost a very good friend that I’ve known since the cradle and her mom who were killed in a car accident right after Christmas. Add that to all of my health problems and I just want to go where they went…. I can’t get a handle on my pain. Or my fatigue.

  • karenkaye
    4 years ago

    Hi Pamela, I can hear your pain and fear and strength. I am 62 also and have several diagnosed chronic illnesses with RA being the latest. I am on plaquenil and it works ok.
    Some days are tough and on those days I come here to know I’m not alone and to remind me how tough I am. So thanks for posting here…it certainly helped me to read your story. I haven’t told my story here yet but I will soon. Again thanks for being here…you made a difference in my life.

  • Jenn Lebowitz
    4 years ago

    Hi, PamelaP!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story here – we are glad you found us! I’m so sorry to hear about everything you’ve been going through. Please know you can come here any time you have questions, would like information, or could use some support. We’ll be thinking of you!


    Jenn (Community Manager, Team)

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