It wasn't Dengue Fever!

In 2010 on the 26th of January, my husband collapsed and was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, after 45 years of heavy smoking. We were sole mates so for me, this was the most devastating thing that could have happened.

While he was in intensive care his best friend and I started to build a new pump house on the dam. The day was hot, but not scorching hot and yet, I was so hot I couldn't stop drinking. When I checked I had a fever of around 99.5 F. Next morning, I woke up with a pounding headache and aching from head to foot- the pains felt like they were actually in my bones. My left wrist was swollen and red and the fingers on my right hand and my R/hand palm swollen and excruciatingly painful. I was also dizzy. all these symptoms I thought might be Denghue Fever. After I had driven 180 kl round trip to visit my husband in Intensive Care, I then had to drive another 60 kl in the other direction to see my doctor.

When I told him my symptoms and that I thought I might have one of the tropical fevers we get here in Australia, he looked at me for a moment and said, 'never a good idea to try and diagnose yourself. Yes it could be Denghue or Ross River fever, but it could also be RA.' I replied, 'no, can't be no one on our family has ever had it'. So, to cut a long story short, it was RA. The results from my blood tests, showed that my ESR, CRP, RF, ANA etc. were sky high. My thyroid had also stopped working and I had pernicious anaemia. A real blow considering what I was dealing with at the time. I sat in the Doctor's office and just cried.

The opinion of the specialist to which I was referred was, that the RA had been sitting there all along and the stress of dealing with my husbands illness and trying to run the cattle property (ranch) had finally triggered it.

To cut a long story short, coping with a dying husband and his subsequent death in fairly awful circumstances, meant that it took quite a long time to get the condition under control. That was over 4 years ago and though I have a very good doctor and rheumatologist, from time to time I have very bad flares, but most of the time I'm o.k. and still running the property (ranch).

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