Newbie - ish (Just saying "Hi")

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 8/24/2008 6:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I usually post on the Panic board but I hope you guys don't mind me popping across. I've been a lurker here for a looong time!
I have RA. I was diagnosed in November 2006 but my symptoms started in January '06. I'm just coming up to my 21st birthday. My RA affects my fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, knees and feet. I've also had/have carpal tunnel in my left wrist, tendonitis in my achilles tendon, bursitis in my right hip and costochronditis. Over the last few years I've been on MTX, sulfasalazine, leflunomide and plaquenil.
The sulfa didn't do anything, the leflunomide caused unidentified bleeding and I developed a cough on MTX the first time around. As my disease was out of control for a while I have damage in my wrists.
I'm currently taking Humira, MTX, Plaquenil and prednisolone as my cocktail of choice and they have put me into a drug induced clinical remission.
Otherwise, I'm a British student of English Literature about to enter my final year at university. It's good to meet you all!
Dx: Panic Disorder, Psychotic Depression, Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rx: Humira, Methotrexate, Plaquenil, Prednisolone, Codeine, Diclofenic Sodium, Folic Acid, Propranolol

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 8/24/2008 4:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Scattered,
I started popping in here the last 3 months or so.  I'm a regular on the lupus forum.  I was interested in reading about your RA, your meds and how long you had your symptoms before getting a diagnosis.
I'm in diagnosis limbo right now.  I have arthritis in my neck and sacroiliitis. Both diagnosed back in 2005.  Recently, I have had horrible trouble with my feet, ankles, achilles tendon, toes and pretty much the rest of my joints in my body!  I also have Costochondritis. 
I came back negative for the RA factor.  Just had a bone scan done last week. Results come back on Thursday.  I'm in a lot of pain, and hoping to get proper treatment soon.  Hard to diagnose when I have lupus and fibromyalgia too. They all mimick each other.
If you have any advice for me on the diagnosis procedure, I'd love to talk with you. If you have any advice on how to manage the pain that would be great too. All I can take is extra strength Tylenol.
Good luck with your studies this year!  Final year will be a big one!
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

34 years old. Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke),Sjogren's, Raynaud's, seizure disorder-(miraclulously disappeared!), Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, arthritis (neck) . Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, didrocal, Cozaar, calcium, Cykolokapron, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 8/25/2008 3:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ginny!

Part of my diagnosis was helped big time by my bloods. I have never shown any inflammation markers outside of 'normal' ranges, even when I've been so swollen, red and fevered my doctors ahve all remarked on it. Fortunately I am seropositve. The RD that diagnosed me told me that if it wasn't for my RF being posistive and my physical presentation (he found swelling in places I didn't know could swell!) he would never have diagnosed RA.

Although I was first ill in January '06, we thought it was a virus and it was only in hindsight that we realised it was probably my RA starting. It was the week of my first round of A-level exams. The weekend prior I slept for 72 hours. Throughout that week whenever I wasn't in an exam I was asleep. I even fell asleep in my Psychology exam! After that I never felt quite right. I would run low grade fevers for 3 days at a time, with no other symptoms. My knees started to swell, which my GP and I put down to being a recurrance of chrondomalacia despite the fact I was a bit old for it at 18. In July I got pins and needles in my hands which never disappeared. In September my hands started to swell and pain kicked in. I started my first year at uni., saw my new GP and he told me without even touching my hands that I had some sort of inflammatory arthritis. Within 4 weeks I'd seen an RD, was taking 20mg steroids, anti-inflammatories, painkillers and MTX.

I really hope you get a diagnosis soon. Remember that blood results aren't everything and sometimes you can spot small trends yourself. Whne my RA is out of control or I'm flaring my haemoglobin levels drop. They are more reliable than my ESR or CRP. The highest my ESR has ever been is 18, my CRP 8. For me, both those numbers were really high but in lab ranges they are considered 'normal'.

What dose of pred are you on? The pred should be helping the inflammation. I've been on it now since before I was formally diagnosed. The big test of seeing how stable my med induced remission is will be seeing if we can reduce the pred in 6 months time.

Pain management: big question. I cope by taking codeine at different strengths depending on how bad things are, anti-inflams when I'm swollen and by making liberal use of heat and ice. Ice when swollen, heat when painful, or alternating the two. In my flat at uni it is considered quite normal to find me in the kitchen with frozen peas on my knees and hot rice socks round my wrists!

I appear to have waffled a fair bit! Good luck and I hope to continue chatting with you.

Dx: Panic Disorder, Psychotic Depression, Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rx: Humira, Methotrexate, Plaquenil, Prednisolone, Codeine, Diclofenic Sodium, Folic Acid, Propranolol

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1884
   Posted 8/26/2008 1:53 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Scattered! Everyone is always welcomed! I'm glad to hear you got a diagnosis and are on medications to help with the pain. Sorry to hear how hard you were hit so fast, especially when in college. What a drag. That's a pretty strong coctail they have you on, but great to hear it has subsided your pain. That is awesome news.

Hang in there. Hope to hear again from you soon.




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