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New and Overwhelmed

  • By keribrewster

    I’m just not sure where to start. About a month ago, right after coming home from vacation, I had 2 nights (starting around 2 am each night) of EXCRUCIATING pain in 2 fingers of one hand. I mean, I’ve birthed 3 babies and have never felt pain like this before.

    My hand swelled up like a balloon, my skin was red and shiny and it felt a bit like I had carpal tunnel in my wrist as well. So I made an appointment with my regular doctor and she ran a few tests thinking it was gout. Thankfully I had a photo to show her of what it looked like at its worst.

    The tests came back negative for gout, but with a positive RA Factor (just barely, like 1 point over), but off the charts for Anti-CCP and slightly elevated Sed Rate. Thankfully, x-rays didn’t show any joint damage. She’s since referred me to a rheumatologist and my appointment is in 2 weeks. In the meantime, she’s got me taking Celebrex. But it just takes the edge off. Since that initial flare, I’ve had pain, swelling and nerve pain in different spots – hips, feet, ankles, and knees. I even had to work from home today because I was exhausted from a late night software deploy and both my feet started to spasm after getting out of the shower.

    I’m just nervous I’m going to get to the rheumatologist and he’s going to tell me he doesn’t know what’s going on. I just want to know that there is a plan and to get some symptom relief. I think the worst part is not knowing what exactly is going on and what if anything can be done to help. I’m really concerned that I’m going to have to either get another job. Which stinks because I love my job. I’m a software tester for an anesthesia billing company and 90-95% of my job involves computer work and the occasional sleepless night for deployments.

    I’m already seeing my grip decrease and I’ve even started ordering my groceries online and picking them up because I don’t have the energy to walk through the grocery store. It’s starting to affect my mood as well. I seem to cry at the drop of a hat. The worst part of it is feeling helpless. I’m not used to relying on others for help, so the stuff I’m seeing online about my possible future freaks me out. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. Thanks for listening!

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  • By Richard Faust Moderator

    Sorry to hear you are having these difficulties keribrewster, but glad you are seeking out information. Please know that the fear you are experiencing is completely normal and understandable. t is great that you are going to see a rheumatologist and, hopefully, getting started on the road to answers and treatment for whatever is causing your problems. This article from one of our contributors looks at what you can expect from your first appointment with a rheumatologist: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/what-to-expect-at-your-first-rheumatologist-appointment/. Thought you might also be interested in this article form our editorial team on the RA diagnostic process, including links to additional information: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/diagnosis/. Hope this information is helpful and know you are always welcome here for information and support. Wishing you the best. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

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