Young, Swollen, and in Construction

I was very recently diagnosed with RA at the age of 21. It is a diagnosis that is very bittersweet. It is sweet in the fact that I know what has been going on with my body. The bitter part of my diagnosis, is that I won’t be able to pursue my career in construction as soon as I would have wanted to. I am just about to go into my fourth year in college as a Construction Management student. I am passionate about every aspect of construction and love to build little projects as a hobby.

To put my medical history in a few sentences; Three years ago, I randomly started waking up with swollen eyes, throat and mouth. I slowly started to become so lethargic that I would barely make it up a flight of stairs. I saw specialists like the allergist, nephrologist, radiologist, ent, etc. Then went to my first rheumatologist and she never followed up with me or answered my calls.

I have had trouble with my mental health for about 8 years now so this really wasn’t helping at all! As the symptoms started to worsen, and the doctors continued to have no clue for a good two years, I had a mental breakdown last year and was hospitalized for about a week. It was just too much to have my only treatment be sleeping with an EpiPen next to my bed.

After the hospital treatment, and taking care of my mental health, I was refreshed and ready to figure out WHY! I started to see a new rheumatologist who is amazing and she really helped me. I had such a combination of mix matched symptoms, but she was still able to find something that worked for me.

Although I am scared of what he future might hold in terms of my construction career choice, I am hopeful that I will be able to find a good treatment plan. Although I am noticing new aches and pains each day, I am making changes in my diet and lifestyle to help with inflammation. Thank you for reading my story, I hope that if you are going through something similar this story lets you know that there is a treatment for everyone!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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