I know many of you from being on this site for several years. Lene and I are still trying to take over the world, but we have not hired enough minions yet. For those of you I have not interacted with yet, I wanted to say Hi and tell you about my path with RA. Sometimes it helps to see what others are dealing with, and it can help you to understand you are not all alone with this dreaded disease.
I managed stores and trained new store managers for 20+ years. Worked long hours, and walked many miles a day. Eight to 10 yrs ago my feet and hands started to hurt, sometimes quite badly after working all day. Finally I started going to my doctor about it. I was told by several doctors, "Its OA", You are getting older, it's tendonitis, etc. You know the drill! We played this game for many years, once I did get steroid injections that helped a lot, but mainly I took Tylenol and grinned and beared it through the day. About three yrs ago I woke up one morning and my hands were swollen, one so badly it looked like a tennis ball was in there! My wife took me to the ER. They had NO idea what was going on since I swore up and down I had not injured either hand. They splinted my right hand and gave me a referral to an Ortho hand doctor. I saw him a few days later and he recognized my symptoms! Sent me to my current Rheumy and I found out I was NOT crazy!!! I had Severe Sero Neg RA! I remember feeling both elated to have an answer, and scared to death at the same time.
A flurry of new DXs came along soon after, Sjogrens, Reynauds, PsA. And it was not long before I could no longer do my job, the strain was just too great. I told several of my work "friends" including my boss......MISTAKE! I was iced out like no ones business almost right away! I soon went on STD, and that rolled into LTD and SSDI. I am now permanantly disabled. I fell into a deep depression. All my so called "friends" were gone, my career was over, I had all these crappy diseases I knew little about. I started researching RA online and picking my Rheumys brain about it. It helped somewhat, but if you have been on many RA support sites.... they leave a LOT to be desired! Then I found this site! I have been here ever since!
I cannot believe the support and knowledge I have gained from this site. Good friends, REAL friends as well! As I grew more confident in my knowledge of RA and understanding that I was not all alone with this monster. I started to feel better emotionally. I still have severe RA, my other diseases are still romping through me like a bull in a china shop. But I can COPE with it much better! To me that is the real meaning of support.
If I can ever do anything for any of you, just need to chat, or vent, share a story. Feel free to send me a message on here! I check them all the time. The least I can do for the people that have helped me so much is to try and give back.
Thanks for all that you do, this is a GREAT community!
Published On: May 16, 2011