Hi Rachel, my name is Angela and I was diagnosed two years ago at age 34. Yes I was shocked just like you, not in my family and I had questions too, like why me?? Please don't be scared, I too was scared, I know the whole process before they actually diagnose is scary but that is part of the routine, they want to make sure you really have it that's why they do all scans and x-rays to rule out anything else as well, that it could be. Please wait until you see a rheumatologist, they are the ones that can really diagnosed you with RA. I at times cry to myself and feel sorry for myself, but I think that's part of having RA, you get sad sometimes because really most people don't know what you are going through unless they have the disease themselves. Because we look soo normal, some people think we are normal.
I think finding a good rheumatologist and the good combination of medication will help you live a normal life. I went through two rheumatologists until I found a nice one who listens and asks me questions and takes time with me. You will probably have try different medication before they find the combination that works for your body. I right now am taking Plaquenil and Sulfasalazine and have been on sulfa. for about 3 months and I feel really good, I can do most of the things I used to before this terrible disease. I am actually doing a 10K walking marathon tomorrow!!! can you believe this, two years ago I couldn't get out of bed without crying in soo much pain. I just feel blessed that this disease isn't life threatening and we can lead a normal life just like any other person, so long as we control the disease and manage the pain.
I think the sooner you get on medication the better you will feel and have a more positive outlook, when you are in soo much pain everything looks grim! I have bad days at times, but everyone with RA has good and bad days, it's just weird how that happens, but I'm hoping that one day soon they will find a cure for this nasty disease, they keep coming out with new drugs everyday, which is a good thing I think, at least they are still trying to help us?? !!! And just think, you can also go into remission !! the sooner you get on medication the better, because I can tell you without the medication I wouldn't be able to do anything, I thank god each day how lucky we are that we have these medications to make as mobile, and my mum always reminds me that there are people worse off than us!! I also believe a good diet, exercise and getting help around the house will help you feel better!! Do you have children? I don't yet, I would like to have one one day? !!!! I'm now 36 !!
I hope you get some relief soon and let us know what drugs they put you on and how you are doing !!
Take care and all the best