Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Recognition of World Arthritis Day: 137/41/54

In recognition of World Arthritis Day, I want to once again share with you my ra onset story and to encourage you to share your story.  Together we can shine a light on ra and make a difference in the fight to find a cure and dispel the myths about ra. To participate, go to the IAAMOVEMENT.ORG 

I was not overweight when I was first diagnosed with ra but instead in the prime of life!  

RA is only one of over 100 types of arthritis currently known.  Getting a correct diagnoses can be a challenge and may take many visits to your gp to determine what is going on and then get the referral to the rheumatologist.

First and foremost…what you are experiencing is real. Don't let any doctor tell you otherwise! Your symptoms are not a figment of your imagination (as many have been incorrectly told), they are not caused by overwork, having multiple children plying for your attention or caused from menopause symptoms and chances are…they will not go away on their own.

I was very fortunate back in 1998 to have a wonderful general practitioner that understood ra and knew the correct tests to do in order to determine what I had. On the other hand, I personally had never heard the term rheumatoid arthritis. Boy did I have a lot to learn! My recognizable ra symptoms appeared in one finger (at least to me). If I remember correctly (heck we are talking 12 years ago) I had what I thought was a possible paper cut infection. At that time several people in Europe had been on tv with a horrific skin infection that took their lives and this was forefront on my mind when my swollen finger wouldn't respond to the OTC medications I tried. 

For the complete story, click here...

Please share your onset story here.  Please help get the word out about autoimmune arthritis.  Together we can make a difference and bring focus on finding a cure.


Unknown said...

Although I am sad that you have RA, I am glad you are here to add your wonderful comments to our blogs. Thanks for sharing your story....again! :) 115-36-44

Sherry said...

Deb--And I thought I was diagnosed quickly. You must have a great dr. to recognize RA from just a swollen finger! Amazing! So glad for you. Appreciate your photos and your blog.

Terry said...

My GP thought that I had synovitis and gave me a prescription for Naproxen (Aleve). After nearly a year I decided that I really didn't have an Aleve deficiency and found a new GP. On the initial visit to my new doc he discovered that I was:
A) overweight and
B) had RA.

All docs are not created equal. I still wonder how different I would be had I had the proper diagnosis a year earlier. RA can do a lot of damage untreated for a year. 220-44-52

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Cathy...I am so fortunate I found blogging and such a wonderful community and such support! And I love your comments too!

Sherry...yes, she was a great doctor for me and a gp at that! In hindsight I believe I had ra for longer, at least a year or more. I had problems with my foot a year before but threw it off to walking on the concrete around the pool at our apartments every night. But I was fortunate that she knew her business. I had never heard of ra until she mentioned it. And no one in my family has ra either. many doctors let patients out the door with the wrong diagnoses and I couldn't agree more. That year probably did make a big difference for you. Now about the overweight thing. Do you think because you had ra and you were maybe having a harder time to exercise and get going at all...could that have contributed to the weight thing? I believe that people with autoimmune illnesses are blamed for being over weight when in fact their illnesses hamper them immensely in exercising at all. And you don't look overweight anymore :-)

Terry said...

Thanks Deb, but I'm still overweight. No, it wasn't being overweight that kept me from exercising. I think, for me, it was a combination of things. I had quit racing motorcycles (part depressed/part felt like I didn't need to work out anymore), had a very high stress job at that time and by the time I was diagnosed, I just flat out hurt too bad to feel like working out. By the way I walk everyday and work out with weights 3 days a week now.

Miss Chronically Creative said...

Great post! I personally cannot believe how many types of arthritis there are, how common it is and yet how many misconceptions there are! I have yet to publish a post for world arthritis day as I'm in the middle of a flare but I enjoyed reading yours! I'm so glad I'm not alone. Its taken me 5 1/2 years to get a diagnosis of RA and I still have so much to learn. I was in my final year of high school when I first got symptoms and in health class we were learning about the different types of arthritis- rheumatoid was one of them and I remember looking at the handout we were given thinking hey I have all these symptoms! LOL! I just thought I was being crazy and paranoid though. My first joints to hurt were my fingers too but I just put it down to all the writing I had to do and the permanent damage from having carpal tunnel syndrom left undiagnosed for a year... little did I know that RA caused the carpal tunnel!

Thank you for sharing your story x

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Miss Chronically Creative...I am glad you finally got a diagnoses but I am truly sorry it was ra or any autoimmune arthritis for that matter. 5 1/2 years to diagnoses is too long. And no, you were not crazy or paranoid. So often I have heard this from people while they are trying to get diagnosed. Sadly I have found that if a doctor can't find an immediate answer they blame the patient by saying it is in their head or they are overweight and that is the problem or they are stressed out, etc. etc. In the meantime the damage is going untreated. All I can hope for all of us is that a cure is found. As much as the newer meds seem to be helping some of us, a cure would surely be the best solution. Thank you for posting and I hope you feel a bit better soon!

Dana Morningstar said...

Hello Deb! For World Autoimmune Arthritis Day (WAAD) May 29th, we are planning different events prior to the 47 hour virtual event! We would love to get your involvement. Please send me your email so that I can give you all the information. I can't fit it in the space here. It is going to be so exciting!!!
Dana Morningstar (IAAM volunteer, Blog Leader, WAAD Presenter)

I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!

Dana Morningstar said...

I noticed I made a pretty serious type-o. It is May 20th not the 29th. LOL!

Hope to hear from you soon!

Dana M

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