I started having pains last year, at first only in my upper arms. I would sporadically get one to three days of immense pain, followed by a week of muscle weakness in that arm (sometimes I would have to lift the bad arm with the other arm as I felt like I had no control over it), but thankfully it was usually only one arm at a time. Everyone assumed that it was Brachial Neuritis as the pain was only in my upper arms, at times 'radiating' out to my shoulders and neck, but within a few months I started getting pains, redness and swelling in my wrists, fingers, ankles, and as of yesterday, - my hip. I am 35 and a single working mother with a mortgage, living in a house in need of a lot of repairs. Since late last year the pain has gotten so bad I often struggle get out of bed, wash or brush my hair, peel potatoes, clean my house, put my make-up on, even go to the loo and wipe myself - I feel so helpless. It has started affecting my work now and what makes it worse is that no one in my office really seems to understand how bad RA is - I mean I did not know myself until I was told I have it and then did some research online. I assumed it was 'a bit of muscle and joint pain' before, only now I realise how debilitating the pain, the fatigue, the lack of quality sleep really is. When I told one of my bosses he just said I am 'too young to get Arthritis and that I should exercise more'. I had to try and explain to him that you can't exercise or even move properly during a flare-up, but I felt as though he thought I was talking rubbish. I am fit and slim so it's not like my RA is down to being overweight, and I also eat very healthily.
At the moment my symptoms are very bad and I have them every single day. Most nights I cannot get to sleep as I am in so much pain, i.e. for the past days it's been my left upper arm and shoulder, and my right hip so I can't get comfortable on either side. Since this morning, my right wrist has started a bbit and the inside is going red.
The Doctor gave me Naproxen but they don't seem to help much and they make my stomach ulcer hurt and burn so I have to take Omniprazole as well to stop my ulcer getting worse. Then he gave me Cocodamol (15/500) and they do take the edge off the pain a little, but still not enough for me to function or get to sleep. I tried the 30/500 Cocodamol but they make me drowsy so I can only take them at night time. Even when I get to sleep I wake up in the middle of the night and I can't move and sometimes I cry with pain and frustration. I have to set my alarm an hour early and take pain killers just so I can get out of bed and get showered and dressed. Last week I did taht and then I went into such a deep sleep, I did not wake up until 20-minutes before I was meant to be at work, - I ended up being an hour late for work and got in trouble. Today I was late again - albeit only 10-minutes, but the fact it takes me twice as long to get ready as it used to, and twice as long to walk to the station and then walk to work, coupled with train delays (My London Overground Service is notoriously late all the time) means I struggle to get into work on time, so I end up staying an hour or more late without getting paid for it because I feel bad, even if I was only 5 minutes late in the morning. Also, often I only get around 4 hours of proper sleep and I am sometimes so exhausted that I have actually nodded off at my desk a few times (no one noticed, thank God). I just want to cry all the time and I feel so alone. A lot of people don't seem to understand and I can feel they judge me when I can't do certain things, like my boss asked me to hover the floors last week, or empty the bins and bring rubbish and recycling out, wash dishes etc., and even though I try to only use unaffected limb, the next day that one will often be affected too. By the time I get home I can't even do my chores at home as I am in pain and tired. Last week I ended up with both wrists swollen and was so immobile that I could not type or brush my hair or get dressed and I ended up breaking down and crying at work. I struggle every day to type, get up quickly to answer the door, etc., but usually I say nothing as I don't want them thinking I am using this to get out of doing certain tasks. I have been with this company for over 10 years and even though I have thought of leaving this job and getting one closer to home with shorter hours, I can't as I need the money, - I have a suspended possession order on my house and a bankruptcy petition against my name so if I do not make the payments every week, I will lose my house, - I am literally living on the edge with no savings to fall back on, so just one weeks loss of wages would cripple me.
I am scared knowing I will have this for the rest of my life and worried about how I will cope. I have no family here as they are all in Germany, and very few friends, so have no one to talk to about this. Can anyone advise me of pain relief that works, of natural treatments or foods I can eat that may help with inflammation, exercises - anything at all? I eat a healthy diet already but perhaps I can tailor it to help my symptoms while I wait for my appointment. Also, will I need a Carer to help me get dressed and do housework as I am struggling already and I am only in the early stages, or will the medication they give you help get rid of the pain? I am scared I will lose my job due to being late too much or not functioning due to pain and exhaustion, - if I did would there be any help available to me, i.e. with mortgage, bills and caring for my son? I am not sure if having RA is enough to get disability allowance or if they would put me on JSA and make me go to the job centre several times every week for their frankly useless interrogations. I don’t drive and the nearest one is miles away so all these things worry me so much. Sorry for the long post but I have no one to turn to, so any advice is greatly appreciated.