Hi Christina. Stop making yourself crazy - because there are no set answers that will ease your mind, unfortunately. I have had RA for so long - I was a child when I was diagnosed - I don't recall feeling suddenly worse. Blood tests are not set in stone, they could come back fine - but that doesn't mean you don't have RA of some sort.
What my docs always told me - if it hurts, stop doing it. Stretching is a must, walking or swimming for exercise, wearing good shoes, staying in shape and strenthing muscles around the joints (knees) to help alleviate the stress on them are all supposed to be good for you. Wear good supportive shoes. My podietrist always recommended New Balance. I find the cheaper versions of NB are not as good - for me at least. Drink lots of water, eat healthy, and try to get enough sleep. You may find certain foods can trigger flares, they recommend limiting red meat, alcohol, citrus, dairy, and soy. You may not have a problem w/these foods. Different people have different triggers and problems. Cold can make you hurt, but it doesn't make it worse or expidite RA, far as I know. If you're hurting yourself doing certain movements, make sure you are doing them correctly (liike lifting) and limit doing them if they are causing you severe pain.
I dont' know about the deterioration rate - but March 3rd is just in a week and you can ask the Dr. Hang in there and let us know how the appointment goes. ***
RA triggers hmm....
Personally I find with myself, I flare up bad if I have been around someone who is sick. I was diagnosed two years ago. Since that time I haven't been sick with a cold or flu at all. But I flare, so instead of the flu my RA goes through the roof. So now I avoid people that are sick like the plague. If I have to be around a friend with a cold or something, i wear a face mask.
Your pain will also get worse if you stress. So worrying about the test results will make you worse. Since there is no way of changing the out come of your tests. You need to try and not get stressed out. I know finding out you have RA is a major blow, we have all been there. But on the bright side there are tons of treatments out there that will make your life a lot better. Just keep your chin up and relax as much as you can. Take a moment out of everyday and make time for yourself. Quiet you time ;)
I"ve found over the last few years as my health has declined that my body has a harder time coping with stress which in turn causes a whole slew of issues, espec. flaring my arthritis. For a while I was doing yoga and meditation, but I often loose sight of its importance and don't make the time for myself. Hang in there Christine, and remember, your health above all else is important....soo take the time to destress, get rest, and focus on you. It'll make the world of difference as how your days go by.
Now that I've said that, I need to listen and take my own advice.
I am not on enbrel, but everyone who is (from what I understand) is SO glad they went on it and "if I can do the shots...so can you." As for side effects, you won't know until you try and if there is a chance you'll feel GREAT using it, I say go for it. Why have that much pain any longer than necessary? If you're going to have a problem with the drug, you'll know it. I know with Remicade I (and many of the people I spoke with who were on it) had what felt like a mild but perpetual cold - not sick where you couldn't take the meds, but small congestion, etc. It was a very small price to pay for the great relief we recieved from the medication.
Good luck to you. I wish you great relief very soon. **