I Guess a little history first, I have been having pain in my feet and hands now for (looking back on it ) about 5 years now, Since most of that time I have been working in a factory doing assembly work I figured it was a repetitive strain type of injury and was dealing with it as such. This winter my pain began intensifying until March when it became bad enough that I (finally) went to the doctor about it again (by this time I had pain just about everywhere) (I had been to her about 2 years ago for my foot pain, and wound up with orthotics for my work shoes that helped for a bit, around that time I also went on the Paleo diet for a few months (then we renovated the kitchen and that went out the window, until this month) which seemed to help a bit as well.). She did complete blood work and just because I had been reading about pain and causes of it I asked to check the RA factor as well, figuring why not (since I figured what I had was a repetitive strain injury, leading to carpel tunnel in my hands). Since I am here you can guess what the results were, I had slightly high Thyroid hormone, a CRP of 7.96, and the RA factor was 448 (as you know "normal" is <14). My doctor basically said I don't know why all of these are high and referred me to a rheumatologist, saying to expect about a three month wait. I got lucky as I was place on the cancelation list and got an appointment the next day for two days later. After checking me out he confirmed that it was RA. In a way it was a relief to now what was going on and that we could start treating it. He gave me a steroid shot which helped pretty quickly, and put me on Leflunomide and Methotrexate also checked CCP which was 19.7. Things seemed to be going fine until my first blood test after going on the drugs, at that point my liver function tests were abnormal, so he directed me to go off the Leflunomide and in a few weeks have another blood test, did this and the liver functions were still abnormal, so I went off the MTX as well for three weeks, on this test the liver functions were back to normal, (though now I am slightly anemic ) so I am back on MTX (at a slightly lower dose) to see if my liver acts up again (if it does then onto a biologic I go). So two weeks in pain wise I am basically okay, but energy wise I am bad (have little to no energy) I think pain wise I was about the same the three weeks I was off both meds as I am on the MTX (though of course it may not have had time to work again), but unlike the first time I was on the meds, now when I take the MTX I am really tired for a couple of days after, with no energy to speak of, I know at lest part of it is the anemia that either the RA of the drugs are causing (since it only started after I started taking the drugs I am leaning towards them, but I know it is quite possible the RA is doing it too). Will need to see how my blood work comes out at the end of the week to see if the anemia is getting better or worse (the rheumatologist didn't even mention it as a concern, my GP is a little more concerned with it though (maybe because it is something she is more used to dealing with). Anyway I am doing okay mentally, I am not glad that I have RA, but as I said at least I have something to go one, and try to beat into remission. I am working towards getting back to the paleo diet to see if that works, have contacted a cousin who had her food sensitivity test done, to see who did it with her and how it worked for her (not RA but other digestive issues as I recall), and maybe get that done as well myself. There is thankfully no damage to my hands (was just inflammation), my feet were not x-rayed but with the medication the pain is not bad at all. I have been getting more headaches lately too (especially with all the thunderstorms we have had going through this year) including one that had me in bed from after I got off work till the next morning). I got lucky in that I was able to take over a clerical job while the person doing it is on maternity leave, so I am pretty sure being off the line has helped as well (have a transfer in now and hopefully will manage to get into an office job full time close to the same time the person returns from her maternity leave).
Anyway I guess that's about it, not sure if I am going to be able to continue the MTX yet, or if I will be going to a biologic, (thankfully both I and my partner have good health insurance (though we are in Canada so a bit less of a problem except for mediation that those of you in the states), so so far no cost for drugs out of pocket. I just wanted to join the forum as after reading four pages I can see it can provide good support when I need it.