The Only One

It feels like I am alone in this journey. I don’t have any substantial relationships with other RA warriors, and when I meet them, I struggle to relate. I’m a 36 year old male veteran, with a family to support, and sometimes it feels like I’m the only one. Here’s my story.

I was active duty military serving my enlistment on a fast attack submarine in Virginia when my hands, shoulders, ankles, and feet began to hurt everyday. I really struggled to get help, but after months of suffering, I decided it was time to figure out what was wrong. My doc on my boat swore it was gout and kept delaying the specialist appointments. In the meantime, there were a lot of pain medications, lot of Aleve, lot of useless appointments, a lot of jumping through hoops and blowing past red tape to get the appointments I actually needed and finally my diagnosis. I was a 27 year old man with RA. It ended up being over a year from the time I decided to figure out what was going on until my diagnosis. Quite a miserable year, but then I could hopefully get it under control. I went through the normal progression, Mobic, Methotrexate, Leflunomide, then finally Enbrel which became my miracle drug. The only issue was that I could not have needles onboard and therefore the prescription disqualified me for submarine duty. I got my discharge and started my civilian career.

I’m now 36 and I struggle everyday with my RA. I struggle with the normal RA aches and pains. I struggle with not relating to anyone about my condition. I whine to my wife and kids, but I know they don’t understand. I struggle with the constant fatigue. I struggle just like most of you do, and I still feel so alone in my struggle. That’s why I’m hear and that’s why I’m sharing my story. Hopefully someone else will read this and realize that they too are not alone. There are so many more that have very similar daily struggles with this terrible disease.

Overall, I should say I am doing good, I’m on Humira now. Physically, I’m not very limited, mostly by fatigue. I’m not in a medical remission either, but I’ll take what I’ve been given and do my best with it.

David

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