welcome to our party boat! (yeah right) i know...what a thing to happen! but 1st, i'm very proud of you stopping smoking & walking & shedding some poundage, that is FANTASTIC for your heart & everything else as well.
do keep as mobile as possible. if walking is too painful on the joints, if attainable...a glider is better (like a Gazelle or some machine that has no impact or even swimming & tredding/walking in water).
i would suggest, YES, cover your tush & do apply for SSDI. because you never know. with RA it is a chronic progressive disease & can be very unpredictable...so to be safe, if i were you...i would at least start the application. it does not mean that YOU MUST BECOME DISABLED, but worse case scenario? you will be prepared. i say this only b/c i wish someone would have said that to me. it takes a long time. for me...it's going on 3 years. i could not walk at one time & couldn't do anything except bedrest & i was still denied due to my age & education. so typically it takes a few times of appealing for approval.
your medical insurance is important....crucial, so Medicaid would be a lifesaver for your arthritis meds should you need to leave work.
the good thing is that you are getting some sort of treatment now. the sooner the better!
we're all in this together and here you'll find tons of folks who share almost the exact situations. rheumatology is a difficult art! nothing is clear cut & it is soooo frustrating for both pt & Dr.
welcome to HealingWell. write whenever you like! there's always an ear (or an eye) to listen (well...read).