Hello all, I'm a new member to this site, and am anxious to hear from others about their experiences and remedies and progress with reactive arthritis. I saw that I'm supposed to make a new post to introduce myself, so I'm doing so.
As of right now, I'm at home in, fighting my newest bout with reactive arthritis. I think some of you are abbreviating Rheumatiod Arthritis and reactive with RA, for this post, I'm only referring to RA and my limited knowledge of it.
about 2 years ago now, I was eating fast food pretty regularly, one day at work, began to have a stomach "ache" after lunch, by the time night came, I was unable to stand straight up, had extreme abdominal pain, and diarrhea began the next day. I had diarrhea every 15-30 minutes thereafter for about 4-5 days, this was probably the longest and most extreme gastrointestinal sickness I had ever had at this point in life. I was 26 at the time. I lost about 10 pounds, was unable to work for a week, went to a doctor, I believe he thought I had salmonella poisoning, did not do any stool cultures to tell, just gave me anti-biotic. I got better, felt very weak, but was able to return to work. I noticed about a week later, my right ankle began to hurt, it got worse each day. After 3-4 days of this, I returned to the doctor. I was already on crutches at this point, my ankle had swollen on the inside and outside of the ankle joint, had a purple/redish tint under the skin, and was stiff to the touch in the inflammed area. The doctor gave me Zantac since my stomach was still sensitive due to the gastroenteritis I had fought off, Vicodin for pain, and antibiotics, I wish I could remember the type, but I can't, I'm guessing it was a z-pak, (Azithromycin). He could not figure out my ankle swelling, sent me to a foot and ankle doctor. He used a big needle to suck out some of the liquid in the inflammed joint, extreme pain followed. The results came back that I had no bacteria or viral infection in the joint, just a high number of white blood cells which seemed odd seeing as there was no infection. He did a stool sample, blood sample, no blood bacteria, no diseases, nothing out of the ordinary. I can't recall if I was tested for HLA B27 or not, moot point for me, I just want to be fixed. Foot doc sent me to an Arthritis expert, she reviewed what I had taken so far, put me on Prednisone for a 5-7 days, this only stiffen the swelling, the tissue got hard, but it did not lessen pain, or reduce the swelling. Back to my symptons, I understand that there are many complications from this, my only sympton/complication is right ankle swells up, fills with liquid, is a sharp and dull/ burning pain, sometimes with heat, on a scale of 1-10 it is often a 10, I often did not sleep thru at all or very little. I finished the Prednisone, this did nothing, the arthritis specialist wanted to put me on methotrexate, I took one dose, felt terrible, dizzy and weak, loss of appetite, read up on the side effects, decided not to continue the treatment. The doc told me that with the MTX, it could take 6 months to heal, without the MTX it could take the same. I chose to stop doing meds since at the time if felt hopeless. My ankle swelling reduced for the most part after about 2-3 weeks, but it took 3-4 months for the pain to go away for the most part, the joint was very sensitive to movement or running, anything could set if off into extreme pain. I am not recommending stopping your MTX treatment, I understand there can be long term damage to your joints, I myself have a bit of this. I am only telling my story to see if someone relates, or can give further insight. I was able to return to physical activity, running, playing basketball, but I have to wear an ankle brace. I do feel that glucosamine sulfate/ chondroitin pills have helped strengthen the joint when taken regularly. Doing light stretches and exercising the joint seems to help it stay loose, I cannot just jump into physical activity though or I risk injury that sets me back a week or two.
I just got sick after Valentines day, diarrhea, fever, headache, lasted 5 days. Lost 10 pounds again, probably need to change my diet. I was afraid when the sickness lasted this long, that the RA would return. It returned, same timing as before, same level of pain. This time, in between the gastroenteritis and the RA flare up, I began to lose mucus during bowel movements. This has been scaring me a lot. Some times my bowel movements are only mucus, a white color, sometimes a pink color, I am not seeing blood, but sometimes no stool at all, only mucus. I have dramatically changed my diet. I used to be a soda drinker, stopped completely. Used to eat fast food, stopped completely. I know that anti biotics kill good bacteria, I started eating 4 yogurts a day and taking a strong probiotic, this has started to help my mucus issue. I felt good until I ate meat, then the mucus returned. I don't have health insurance right now, so my only choice is do what works, eating meat doesn't work, I have begun a vegetarian diet since monday of this week, because I read that NSAID's(ibuprofen) I'm taking damages your digestive system and can cause issues with mucus in stool. I don't want to risk any more damage to my joints, but I don't want to damage my already hurting digestive system. I don't know what to do. I don't want to take methotrexate or any more steriods, I have started taking cats claw, garlic oil, oregano oil, aloe vera gel orally, cayenne for circulation, olive leaf extract, ascorbic acid, drinking electrolyte replacements for all the salts I lost, eating a vegetarian diet since my organs can't handle meat right now. I'm sorry this is a huge post, but does anyone relate to my story, or have any insight/recommendations for me?? Thank you for reading this.