It all started in late February or early March of 2009 with pain in my left shoulder every morning. Shortly I started feeling issues with my right knee, fingers and feet too. I went to the doctors office and was told to take pain killers, do some physical therapy for my knees, and just keep going on like normal.
A month later I still didn’t feel good and called them again. The wait for an appointment was 3 weeks–the doctor I had seen the first time had quit so I got a new one–so I set one up and kept going on with the pain and annoyance of not being able to walk as much as usual, or stand still for long–actually it could just be the time spent doing dishes) as well as waking up every morning with a bad pain in the shoulder and some of my fingers. On June 16, however, it went from bad to worse and suddenly my right knee was severly swollen and I could barely use that leg. I called the doctors office and got a “same day emergency appointment” in order to check it out. After the appointment I was again told to stick with the pain killers, use a anti-inflammatory cream on my knee and come back to my regular appointment which was the following week.
After a week had passed (and I did not feel any better whatsoever) I went back feeling the same way as I did the week before, if not worse. This time around I got a cortisone shot in my knee and was told it would shortly be better. At this time I had learned that there was rheumatic problems in my family which I told the doctor at which point she decided to refer me to a specialist so they could check out everything in more detail. The hardest part now was waiting until I could get to the specialist as that can take a while. Luckily for me two weeks later I got a call that they had received a cancellation so I would have my appointment the week after already. The nurse asked me if that would work for me, and I basically told her “I love it, I can’t wait to get to the hospital!” I think she enjoyed that answer!
A day after that call my left knee got swollen too at which time it was completely impossible for me to walk. Well, not impossible maybe as I could get around in the apartment (as long as I held a hand on a wall) but I didn’t trust my legs to get me elsewhere so I called my primary care doctor and she decided to get me a referal for a wheel chair which my husband picked up the day after. The wheel chair allowed a little more flexible life as we could actually start to get outside in the fresh air talking walks and go for dinner, etc.
A week later I went to the hospital to see the specialist. He examed me, did x-rays and took blood work, and told me I should come back the week after that in order to find out the results but he said that most likely it was some type of arthritis. I couldn’t wait to have that week pass by, but I was a little worried whether he was going to give me real diagnose or just refer me on to the next place.
I continued with living with the wheel chair and trying to get out as much as possible. My parents came and picked me up sometimes so I could get to their place and have some company. I was so tired during all this too so I slept more than usual. Might as well sleep when it just hurts when you’re awake!
Then the time came for me to go back to the hospital and find out the result. I was both nervous and excited I think. The doctor told me right away that my diagnosis was rheumatoid arthirits (RA for short) and “bombared” us (my husband was with me during both hospital appointments) with information about the disease, and what type of medications I would get. He also examined my joints again to check the swollen joints and if anything had gotten worse. I got a cortisone shot in my right knee in order to help it along getting better quicker than by just starting the medication the day after.
After my meeting with the doctor I meet up with one nurse in order to give her more blood work, and also a second nurse who told me even more about the disease and the medications.