Originally Posted by kluchetta
Thanks for dropping by! I appreciate it.
Yes, in a way it was disappointing to test negative on the RF and ESR tests. That was before I started swelling and getting red. May I ask your age & how long it's been?
My Grandmother had it and was extremely crippled. That's scary.
If you insist
I'm 51 and I was officially diagnosed two and a half years ago.
Over the years I had problems with my left knee. I had injured it skiing when I was 12 or 13 and every so often it would be painful. But nothing serious. It always went away.
Fast forward to early 2003. One Saturday I got up and the pain was so bad I could hardly walk. As usual I took some over the counter pain killers, rested up and by Monday I was much better.
But from then on I was just never the same. It got so I was taking the drugs on a daily basis. Then it happened again. I got up one morning and could hardly walk. This time it was so bad it didn't go away in a few days. I ended up buying a cane and finding a doctor.
My new doctor told me it was arthritis and prescribed an NSAID. And apparently he did blood tests to check for rheumatoid arthritis. I never asked the details, as far as I knew it was the regular routine.
In any case the drugs helped. After a couple of months I stopped using the cane and life was much better. My knee still bothered me if I did a lot of walking but for the most part it was no big deal.
Then in the summer of 2004 I started having problems with my right hand falling asleep. The quick story on that was carpal tunnel. Surgery was scheduled. In preparation I was told that I needed to stop taking all my arthritis drugs for ten days prior to surgery.
By the time I got to the hospital on the day of the surgery my knew hurt so bad I was having trouble walking. All along I though I had it in control and the drugs didn't really do that much. Boy was I wrong.
Call it stress, or the shock of the surgery but from then on it was down hill. I had my right hand wrapped up like a mummy and couldn't use it. And it seemed like every other bone and muscle in my body was connected to it.
I was living in a townhouse and had to climb two flights of stairs on a regular basis and it was getting harder by the day.
It was then that I decided to see the rheumatologist. I remember the first visit, he was looking at x-rays of my hands and started to ask "have you been tested for rheumatoid arthritis....oh I see you have and tested negative". Hmmmm... he prescribed things that helped but it never really got better. He was then he did more tests. For awhile I felt like his science project.
Then he ordered a blood test that measured C-Reactive Protein. 0 to 7.9 is good. I was at 59.9
Bingo! we have RA.
My official diagnosis is "seronegative rheumatoid arthritis". Meaning I test negative on the usual tests but still have it. Actually this is supposed to be better. Or so they tell me.
Anyway...where I am now. I have pain on a daily basis. My joints are slowly stiffening up. Because my knees are worn out I can't walk very far or for very long. My cane came out of the closet and now has a twin.
Actually the whole thing amazes me. I don't know how it got to be this bad. It's like I manged to get by for years then one day it just caught up with me. There were things, like how far things bend and range of motion that I never noticed until the doctor pointed them out.
Now that I think of it I can remember having symptoms years ago but just passing them off.
Now I am a fanatic about early testing and diagnosis. If you test negative on the standard test and still have problems. Get the CRP test.
My latest worry is that my levels have gone down but not far enough. My next step are injectable drugs that worry me. Some days I feel like and old lady but even at my advanced age I am still relatively young. I don't want to run out of options too soon.
Sigh.....I hadn't intended on spilling my guts in public for all the world to see. I guess I got carried away.