How long does it take for this to take over your life?

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lil ladybug
New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 2/14/2009 12:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I have questions about the RA.  I know several people who have had RA for Years and years and they work 10-12 hours a day. Now I have two people that I have spoken to recently that one found out a couple years ago and the other recently that they have RA and now they have filed for disability and they say they just can't work any longer.  I am very confused because when I went to my physician I was told that almost everyone has some kind of RA, because I am experience joint pain in several areas and swelling.  So my question is--Why is it that only two people I know (that arent that old) are basically stopping living getting on disability but everyone else I know are able to live their life working, they experience pain but they keep going? Is there different types of this disease that in some cases it basically bed rids you??????

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 117
   Posted 2/14/2009 11:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi lil,
Yep you are right. There are different levels of pain people can experience with this disease.
I my self have experienced times when I have been bed ridden, the only time I would get up would be to go to the toilet and that would take all my strength. I remember not having the strength to turn on a light switch or get the ink to flow out of a working biro. This disease also makes your very tired and needing to sleep more than you are awake.
From blood test they can measure a persons rheumatiod factor (RF). A reading less than 12 is normal. A reading of 25 is moderate. 52 can be annoying. Those with RF's over 1000 is severe.
But some people can be severely handicapped and it doesn't come out on the tests.
I have a friend who has a RF of 32 and yet she teaches and does PE.No problems at all.
It really is an individual thing.
I am curious though. RA is not a very common condition. For you to know several people with this  disease is intreging. I have only met 2 other people with this dis-order outside the specialists office. One of them was the PE teacher who had no signs at all, the other was in and out of hospital with severe problems.
Maybe some of your associates have general aches and pains not related to the auto-immune disease, rheumatoid arthritis.
You mentioned you are getting joint pain and swelling. I hope it is not severe enough to require treatment. Keep a positive attitude and don't let it defeat you.
Keep us posted as to how you are getting on
Best wishes

lil ladybug
New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 2/15/2009 6:15 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you Debbie Lou for Responding to my questions. My mother had RA actually the medication for her RA treatment actually was told to me to be the cause of her getting a more serious disease and later passing. Her daughter and granddaughter are the two girls I was speaking of that they seem to just seek out all of the downs about the disease. My boss has it also she works 10-12 hours a day. My co-worker from another job also worked 10-12 hours a day. They did feel pain but they knew in life you have to do what you have to do. All of these people actually go to the RA specialist and take treatment. This is why I have so many questions and wanted to speak with someone regarding all the info about this disease.


Thanks so much,


Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 117
   Posted 2/16/2009 12:45 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi lil

It is said that RA is a hereditory. But in my case, I alone have RA. I would hate to think that my son or daughters got it.

Today the specialist tend to give the powerful medications to stop the degeneration sooner rather than later. So what have you been offered to combat your RA?

Sometimes depression and a meek attitude can over ride the condition. But then again, your sister and niece may have too much pain to cope. Fatigue is another thing that comes with RA. This could be just as debilitating as the the pain and stiffness.

So what do you do with your sister and niece? Criticising them won't help, but listening to them may. Support them in their medication, ask them to share their advise. Tell them you find simple exercises to help with the pain.

It is great that you have a job and it sounds like you have alot of support there as you share your health issues. I hope they understand that RA is not the same for everyone and will support you if at times you just can't manage as you are use to.

Take care





Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 553
   Posted 2/18/2009 7:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Lil,
I have been diagnosed with RA for almost exactly one year.  I got the phone call about my Rh factor being 580 on my 29th birthday.  I am also Bipolar (manic depressive).  I have had that diagnosis for 2 1/2 years.  This causes me to take quite a few medications.  The 2 conditions play upon each other a lot.  Anytime I change anything with one doctor, I have to alert the other doctor.
(Explanation on what might go on:
            When I am manic (high feeling) I might not pay attention to any pain that I may be having- even pain that might slow me     down when I am "normal".  I almost can't tell if I feel it at all and definitely can't be subjective about what I am feeling.
             If I don't have pain after feeling bad for a long period of time it can sometimes make me feel as if I am going into a manic, and I really have to consider what is going on and be proactive.
             The prednisone that I take is a steroid, which can put me into a manic by increasing the dosage.  When the dosage is lowered it can cause me to go into a depressive episode.
              If I have pain for an extended period of time it can cause the chemical balance to shift and put me into a depression.
              When I am in a depressive episode I am less able to deal with the pain that I feel, have "other" body aches, more fatigue, and generally feel sorry for myself, making me unable to be subjective about what I am feeling.)
All this to say that for the past year I have been unable to go to school or hold a job.  There are times that I am just fine, you would never know that I am "sick".  There are plenty of times that I "power through" what needs to get done in a day- I have 3 small children, the work is never done.  But there are also lots of days like today where I spent most of the day laying on the couch while my preschooler watched cartoons a few feet away or sleeping in bed while my husband took care of the kids.  These days come often enough that I would always be in danger of loosing any job that I could hold.  These days are unpredictable enough that I would never be able to be counted on to fufill a shift without calling in last minute.  I would not hire me right now.
I do hope that with time, I will be able to bring the medication changes under control.  I hope that I will be able to control both conditions so that I will be able to be as productive as "normal" people.  For both conditions I am very early in the treatment process.  At least for Bipolor treatment I can expect to find the right medication comonation between 2-5 years.  I think we are on the right one if we could just quit changing the RA meds.  For RA?  I don't know what to expect yet.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 117
   Posted 2/19/2009 4:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Christina
Thanks for sharing your soul. It takes a courage to do this. Unless you have experienced the grips of depression it is a very difficult thing to comprehend. And to have RA on top just makes life so unpredictable.I too would love to have the days when I am stable enough to have a normal job/responsibility, we can only hope.
Hang in there Christina, you are an inspiration
God Bless


Post Edited (Kangaroo) : 2/19/2009 5:04:49 PM (GMT-7)

lil ladybug
New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 2/21/2009 9:19 PM (GMT -7)   


Just wanted to let you know you have gave me alot of insight to the questions I had. I am in the medical field and I know how constant change of meds can really cause more problems sometimes. Hang in there and I hope soon they will find the meds that can keep you going strong.


Thanks so much for sharing,


Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 2/22/2009 8:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I developed RA 13 years ago during my first year of graduate school.  For the first 9 months I had no diagnosis and normal blood tests (except a mildly elevated SED rate).  However, I was sleeping twenty hours a day, not eating, too dizzy and in too much pain (even though I had no swollen joints) to walk across a room let alone work, cook for myself etc.
I had to tell my profs at college that I was ill and got permission to be late for my second class since I could not walk through the building in the time between the classes.
My physician offered to put me in for disability and I refused.  I stayed in school and graduated on time.
It wasn't until my knee swelled up that all the blood tests came back positive RF-92.  I had a fever part of every day for the nine months before I was diagnosed and several days a month after I started treatment.
After three years I was put on plaquenil and went into a partial remission.  about a year and a half ago that ended with a horrible flare-I sceduled a doctors appointment-had to wait for weeks for the appointment-the morning of the appointment my hands shoulder and elbow were so swollen I could not dress myself.  8 months on prednisone-reintroduction of plaq-methotrexate later I am doing great.  I work but not 10-12 hours a day, I don't do very much of things like house work that sap me of energy and that I can pay someone else to take care of (I can work one hour and pay my house keeper to clean my whole house which would represent at least 8 hours of work for me).
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