“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
A.A. Milne

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Take a journey with me--Rheumatoid Arthritis and pain

Four years ago, before this blog, I started to develop severe knee pain.  It came out of the blue and was so intense in my right knee, I could no longer walk without crutches.  I ended up having knee arthroscopic surgery.  The recovery from that was much slower than it was supposed to be and unfortunately the pain never really went away.  It lessened but it never left.

My orthopedist said I had slight tearing of the meniscus but mostly just osteoarthritis in my knee.  Now, I live in a small town and our options of doctors and surgeons are limited.  This doctor did not follow up with me.  He did prescribe Mobic but it made me terribly sick and he did not do anymore follow up.

I've never liked going to doctors.  And unfortunately when I have an unpleasant experience with one , it only heightens my displeasure with them.

Fast forward to the present time.  For anyone who has read past blogs, they will know that I have had an extremely stressful period in my life for the past 1 1/2 years.  I started noticing periods of "flare-ups" of pain in my knee.  On top of that, I began to have pain in other joints.  My hands especially would also hurt during painful knee flare ups. I would hurt for several weeks and then it would just disappear and not return for several months.  This has been happening on and off for over a year now.   

I have done some research on Rheumatoid Arthritis .  Here is some of what I have found:


"Rheumatoid arthritis can make your joints feel stiff and can leave you feeling generally unwell and tired. It is most common after the age of 40, but it can affect people of any age. It generally affects more women than men.Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Your immune system, which usually fights infection, attacks the lining of your joints, causing them to become inflamed. Over time your joints may become permanently damaged and stop working properly.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis usually come and go. Sometimes symptoms only cause mild discomfort, but other times they can be very painful, making it difficult to move around and do everyday tasks. When symptoms become worse, this is known as a flare-up. A flare-up is impossible topredict, making rheumatoid arthritis difficult to live with.At present there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. However, with early diagnosis and treatment symptoms can be eased and the progression of the condition can be slowed down.

SYMPTOMS
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to develop gradually, with the first symptoms often being felt in small joints, such as your fingers and toes.
Flare-ups
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis often tend to come and go and you will experience what are known as ‘flare ups’. This means that from time to time, your condition will worsen and your symptoms will be more intense and severe. You can experience a flare-up at any time of the day or night. However, it is likely that your symptoms will be more painful in the morning, when you first wake up. Usually, your symptoms will begin to ease as the day progresses, as you start using and flexing your joints.
Once rheumatoid arthritis progresses, it can spread to other joints, such as your shoulders, elbows, hips and jaw. The condition tends to affect several joints at the same time, usually on both sides of your body. For example, it often affects both knees or both hands.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are outlined below.
  • Joint pain and swelling - this is usually worst in the morning and tends to improve as you move around.
  • Joint stiffness - again, this often improves once you start moving around.
  • Warmth and redness - the lining of the affected joint becomes inflamed, leaving the skin over the joint warm, red and swollen.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Generally feeling unwell.
  • Skin nodules - one in four people with rheumatoid arthritis develop lumps under their skin, known as rheumatoid nodules. These commonly occur on the skin over the elbows and forearms, and are usually painless
  • .Anemia - this is a condition where the blood is unable to carry enough oxygen, due to a low number of red blood cells. It often leaves you feeling tired and lethargic. Eight out of ten people with rheumatoid arthritis are anemic. Unlike osteoarthritis, which only affects the bones and joints, rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation in other parts of your body. The condition can also cause inflammation of your tear glands, salivary glands, the lining of your heart and lungs, and your blood vessels."
Information taken directly from the following website-- http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-zones/rheumatology/rheumatoid-arthritis/5001797.article

I do not have all the symptoms.  I may not have RA.  There is a blood test for RA but from what I've read it is not always definitive. I do have the majority of the symptoms--just no anemia that I know of.

One of my bff's suffers from a very similar disorder.  She suggested I journal and keep track of my symptoms.  I plan on doing just that here. Take the ride with me.  I will try to also continue to post other things.  However, for me, this is the easiest way to journal and a good way to get feedback from others.   Please feel free to comment and to share your own journey.  So here's today.Thanks all!!

Today--April 9, 2014

For the last 3 weeks, the pain in my knee has been unbearable.  So much so that on our planned vacation to Palm Springs, my husband had to push me around in a wheelchair at any event that involved walking.  I could not go more than a few feet without intense pain.

Also hurting were my hands.  They burned and were stiff to move.  Two days ago, the pain in both my hands and my knee started to ease.  Doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the coming of the pain or the leaving.

I saw Dr. Meyers today--an orthopedic surgeon.  He did extensive x-rays and said that my knee was completely full of arthritis and that knee replacement was the only option left.  He also gave me a cortisone shot (which hurts like heck).  Hopefully this will ease the pain for awhile.  I'm to see him in a month but he said if this doesn't help it will be my decision when to have the knee replacement.  He does not do that and will refer me on to someone in  Salt Lake City, Utah.


2 comments:

  1. Hi, have you been to see a rheumatologist? There are so many options out there to help. I am 33 and have had RA for nearly 10 years now. It's been a rough road, having children in the mix, but I have learned to push through the pain and go on with life. I too have a blog and have posted a few things about RA. Please feel free to look them over and see if any May be helpful for you. I do hope your feeling better these days. Remember, weather plays a big role in flare ups.

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  2. 13 and 14 years ago I had each knee total replacement. My cartilage was completely worn away, I walked bone on bone. Recovery went well, and no knee pain since. No knee pain since. Listen to your orthodox surgeon, I did.

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