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General Discussion

New, and a question

  • By Frazzled

    Hi friends,

    I was diagnosed in July 2017 and have had ongoing symptoms since. I live in MN, and am being treated at the Mayo Clinic, which has been awesome, because the previous Rheumy I went to diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia instead of RA. For the record, I am 48 years old and male.

    I know there are a lot of opinions about where one lives and how that can impact quality of life. And I know you can’t give medical advise over the Internet, so I’m really not asking for that. Since last Saturday, I’ve been in Colorado visiting my parents for Christmas. My first day was a little rough, but that could be expected after hauling luggage around an airport. But Yesterday and today, I have sprung out of bed as if I have no RD.

    Have others moved to CO and seen a difference in their symptoms? Right now, I know I have RA because I still have some joint pain, but I can jump out of bed instead of having to slowly push myself up off the night stand to get out of bed.

    So many variables…just wondering if anyone experienced something similar, and if the effect was long lasting.

  • By ktinflorida

    I have heard of this happening. It has something to do with altitude and pressure. Did you go from lower land/higher pressure to higher altitude/lower pressure?

    I have also heard that if you have lung involvement, it makes things worse to go to higher altitude because of less oxygen.

    I don’t know if this is what is happening to you, but it is my best guess.

    Enjoy the reprieve.


  • By Frazzled

    Yes, I went from much lower altitude to much higher altitude – somewhere around 750 feet above sea level to 5000 feet above sea level. Interestingly, the barometric pressure is not much changes from spot to spot: 30.58″ at home, 30.25″ in CO. I have no lung involvement (yet? I hope not – we’ve done no tests for that but I’m not sure what I would expect as symptoms if I did) and so breathing has not been an issue.

    There are so many variables in play here:

    1. I’m on vacation, so no work or other stress.
    2. Different location.
    3. Maybe my meds are finally starting to work? I’ll find out (perhaps) in a few days when I head back home.
    4. I want Colorado to work because I am close to family then, and maybe my brain is playing tricks on me.
    5. Again, no stress – no “having” to get up in the morning and when I do I don’t have anything I “have” to do.

    Thanks for the reply, kt…very informative. CO is not a bad place to live if one can find a job…

  • By Frazzled

    So I went to do Yoga with my 81-year old mother yesterday, and woke up again feeling refreshed. A little more sore in my arms and back and such, but I would have expected that. Do the entire hour-long routine and only had to stop once – when they did downward dog because the pressure on my wrists was too intense. It is very gentle yoga, but I like it nonetheless and who could complain about doing a class with octogenarians?

    Hoping for a hike on Friday when it will be 50 out. That’s a far cry from what it will be like when I get home to the Twin Cities, where it will be -5 when we land at best. I have had lots of flares when there have been significant drops in temperatures like that…we’ll see.

    So far…I am looking at jobs and housing out here.

  • By rebeccav

    I’m glad you are feeling good on vacation. That is always a plus when dealing with RA. I always tend to feel worse when I travel. I can say though from my personal experience (I am 49 had RA since I was 17) that there is not a Cut and dry way to look at RA. If you try to find contributing factors you will start to see so many contradicting variables. I would tend to think that it is quite possible you are just coincidentally having a streak of good RA days and that if you stayed there long enough, you would most likely experience a flare. I know that sounds kinda pessimistic but I am gauging my opinion from my own experience. Just when I think I have found the right diet, climate or medication, I eventually experience a flare. However if Colorado is a climate conducive to good RA days then I may consider moving. Like my doctor reminded me at my last flare, there is no cure for RA, only ways to help prevent as many flares.

  • By Frazzled

    Yep…and I am taking all of this with a grain of salt since there are so many variables. One can hope that one will find something that will help keep the flares away, .or at least help keep symptoms down to a minimum, but I am not naive enough to think I will not experience a flare at some point in the near future. My doc and I are already talking about a biologic in January because my disease activity was high last time we met and it hasn’t gotten better.

    Enjoying it while I can.

  • By BobbieMac

    New, and an answer. I’ve lived in Colorado for 32 years…with exception to 9 months on an island in Pacific Northwest 14 years ago. Those 9 months were the worst of my life and apparently he first of my symptoms. Was diagnosed there with Fibromyalgia. As soon as I moved back to CO, the symptoms went away. At the time I chalked it up to Feng Shui. EARTH is a strengthening element for my birth chart, WATER is a depleting element.

    I’ve lived fairly blissfully in the mountains until a couple of years ago. Now my lungs struggle with the altitude.

  • By Frazzled

    So I am back home…there was a 96 degree temperature difference between CO and my house. I was slightly sore on Sunday, the day after travel, but nothing major. Today I was in pain, woke up at 4:30 and took a hot shower to try to get things loosened up, and then went back to bed. I have been laying low all day and have to be into work tomorrow. I am still in vacation mode, as I have not opened my emails yet. I am sure tomorrow will be busy however, and I am hopeful the pain that has started will lessen.

    If not…back to Tramadol and other pain-mitigating strategies. I did get my wife to agree to do Yoga with me tomorrow. That will be cool. But I can definitely tell the difference between the two locations.

  • By Erin Rush Moderator

    Well, welcome home, Frazzled! Wow! That is a serious temperature change to deal with!

    I hope your jump back into work mode goes smoothly and your body isn’t in too much pain. And I hope you and your wife enjoy Yoga! I think it’s neat that you will be doing it together.

    Keep taking it easy and have a good day back at work!

    Best, Erin, Team Member.

  • By Frazzled

    Well, that didn’t take too long. On 1/3, I awoke at 0230 with severe pain throughout my body. I figured it was a flare and took some meds to get me back to sleep. Talked to my Rheumatologist later that day, and today I started prednisone. Now I have to be careful because see him again on January 18, so I need to hit it hard and then lower the dose quickly so I am on none by the time I see him.

    It came out of nowhere – I was at work on 1/2 and everything seemed fine, though I went to bed very early that evening because I felt fatigued. Now I am stuck WFH and resting again much of the day.