Two Years to a Diagnosis

Hello, I am new to this site and RA. Two years ago, I was an active assistant professor of nursing. As a requirement of my employment, I received an annual influenza vaccine. I experienced a life-threatening reaction to the vaccine, with an acute arthritic response. I was hospitalized and tested for every condition possible: MS (Lumbar Puncture), Lupus, Guillian Barre, RA, Myasthenia Gravis, etc...

All of the tests came back normal but I continued to suffer.

I was sent home with a recommendation to keep moving and seek counseling (When no diagnosis is made, you can be deemed crazy). I could not believe that I was expected to live with the debilitating symptoms. I could barely walk, had facial rashes, joint swelling and pain and intense fatigue. I settled with a neurologist who felt I had neuropathy but no medication helped. My symptoms were episodic but after each episode I was left feeling worse than ever. This went on for the entire two year period. I had to give up my career, my hobbies and learned to adapt with canes, assistive devices and rest.

One month ago, I began seeing changes in my wrists and ankles. I was developing intense pain as well as hard knots. I asked my neurologist if she would refer me to Rheumatology and was told, “We checked you for this in the past”. I persisted and told the physician that I had to get help. I had heard of individuals who were seronegative. I walked into the Rheumatologist’s office in bad shape. I was placed on Prednisone and followed up with him in two weeks. On the second visit, I was given the news that I had RA. That was October 2nd of 2018.

Today, I continue on the Prednisone until I have completed 5 weeks of therapy. I will then begin Methotrexate.

I am nervous and concerned about my future.

Having worked as a nurse for over twenty years, I recall caring for individuals who were scared about their diagnoses and treatment. I understand more than ever how frightening it can be.

My prayer is that I can connect with people who are in the same boat. Those who have been where I am and offer support and hope.



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