Hi everyone ...
I am new here & will try to make this brief. I have several chronic illnesses including hypothyroidism, Sjogren's, OA, & RA. My rheumatologist is a very kind & compassionate woman. I have been seeing her for several years. OA & RA run deeply on my mother's side of the family. My grandmother & her twin sister, my mother, most of my aunts & uncles, cousins, & even my brother have been diagnosed. With some of them it is very severe.
about four years ago I suddenly had trouble getting my rings to go on or off my fingers, & one knuckle began to give me problems with swelling, redness, & pain. Nodes began to appear on several joints in my hands. The rheumatologist diagnosed me with RA. Since then she has tried me on many RA medications, all of which led to intolerable side effects, some quite severe. The only thing that has helped me to any degree has been prednisone, & she has kept me on a low dose of that (5 mg/day) for the past two years.
A couple of months ago I was able to get my wedding band off in the shower & my husband insisted I not put it back on because of how my fingers were so swollen every morning. He was afraid it would damage my finger somehow by cutting off circulation.
When I saw the rheumatologist in February, she told me that I have a lot of inflammation but my blood tests are not positive for RA. However, she knows I have RA because of the enlarged joints in my hands, the nodes, the swelling/redness/pain in the one knuckle, & of course the family history. She suggested I try Humira. The arthritis, be it RA or inflammatory, is in my opinion relatively mild, so I asked her if it was necessary for me to take such a serious medication. She told me that the arthritis has affected every joint in both hands & that she has noted it in my ankles as well. The purpose of me taking medication is to try to alleviate the inflammation & slow down the progression of the disease, & since I have had bad reactions to all other medications, Humira is the next step.
As a side note, I recently was diagnosed with a nodule in my right lung. After ruling out cancer, I saw a pulmonologist who indicated it could be caused by fungus but that it could also be caused by the arthritis.
My Humira prescription has been delivered ... 40 mg pens to be injected one pen every two weeks ... but I have yet to begin the medication because the literature states it is used to treat moderate to severe RA & it doesn't appear that I have that.
I'm wondering if I should seek a second opinion. I don't want to ruin the relationship I have with my current rheumatologist however, & I feel that another doctor would not be appreciative of seeing me one time just for an opinion. I spoke about this with my family doctor who stated that the thing about second opinions is that one doctor may tell you one thing, & another doctor tell you somethingdifferent, & then which one are you going to believe?