Posted 2/19/2017 9:04 AM (GMT -7)
Hi Chris and welcome, sorry to hear you are experiencing this. I am a 47 YO man as well but have had RA most of my adult life beginning back when I was in my early 20's.
I would call and talk with the Nurse. NSAID's in my experience (mind everyones body is different and RX work differently for all of us) either work in a relatively short time frame or not at all. You can try supplementing with regular Ibuprofen but I would call and ask the nurse even about that before taking it.
If the pain and inflammation is bad I don't see why you shouldn't request the steroids but steroids are a whole different ball game when it comes to taking them, their possible side effects and trying to get off of them after being on them for even a few months. There are tons of posts here on them the most common being Prednisone. Spend some time reading about them.
If you have RA early aggressive treatment can mean the difference between permanent joint damage and not. The protocol has been to treat early and aggressively due to this. Joint damage can occur in a relatively short period of time as well if you have an aggressive form of the disease. Its good that they are not seeing permanent damage!
As far as blood work fluctuations it depends. SED rate can certainly fluctuate and anti CCP and CRP can as well. Mine for instance fluctuate but have always been really high regardless so it is relative. I have very aggressive RA though. In your case with them going into normal ranges I would wonder if there is something else going on maybe something environmental? Have you given thought to looking at your diet? A lot of people who are diagnosed with RA find relief with some dietary changes and some even end up in total remission.
The lumps are probably nodules. In your Xrays they are looking for damage between the joints themselves or even loss of bone I bet. Nodules usually are a warning sign of joint damage or sometimes a more severe form of disease. The good news is that some medications these days can get rid of them. Taking Enbrel mine completely disappeared and have not come back.
Your example is a great way to put it. The joint stiffness is a classic sign of RA. Mine feel like I have 90 weight oil in them from getting up till about 1 every day and then it turns into 30 weight. If I move it gets a bit better but not by much, I have really bad RA though. My knees feel like I am walking on stilts. My hands have constant pressure in the knuckles and are painful, sometimes with extreme shooting pain that freezes me up until it passes.
My grip is definitely affected, I can't apply pressure very well because my hands feel they have balloons inside of them. Some days are worse than others for me.
Give your diet some thought, if nothing else it could help you find foods that aggravate your symptoms. There are a lot of wild claims online though regarding so called cures so just take a measured approach. RA and anything with the word arthritis in it seems to be the rallying cry for every huckster on the planet.
I hope that you feel better and everything works out. This site is a great resource with a wealth of people with experience with all things RA.
Take care, -Don