Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for 40 years

My Rheumatoid Arthritis started when I was 18 years old. Since then I have had 3 left hip replacements, 2 right hip replacements, fused C1/C2 with metal plate in neck, right knee replacement, and 4 plastic knuckle replacements on right hand. I believe in having a positive attitude, a good laugh and keeping as healthy as I can, can get you through.

12 Replies

  • Wow that's a lot of positive thinking good on you hope you have a pain free day what is your way of keeping positive find it very hard to focus?

  • That sounds like my attitude,laughing at the ridiculous,i also have the ability to say one thing while meaning something else and watching peoples faces and knowing what a dirty mind they have. I think that is hilarious. Your a true ra warrior.xxxx

  • Blood and sand that's a lot of resilience your living with and a lot of good old fashion belly laughs must have been prescribed over the years!

    All the best


  • I think you'd have to have a sunny outlook having been through all that! Well done you, but it just shows how we've come on leaps & bounds with meds, maybe if your Rheumy had access to the ones they do nowadays when you were 18 & newly diagnosed you wouldn't have needed all those ops, or fewer anyway. I'm sure you'll have lots of experiences to share with us too so welcome & I hope you enjoy being here. :)

  • It's interesting to hear how others have done after 40 plus years of the disease. I've had RA 45 years, 2 right THR's (first infected) and 1 left THR, cervical decompression & fusion C3-C6. May I ask, why so many THR's? Have you had infection? Agree with you about the positive mental attitude, humour & keeping as healthy as you can be.

  • The 1st total hip replacements left and right lasted 21 years and they wore out, then the right revision one has gone well but the 2nd revision left hip kept clunking and squeaking and I knew it wasn't right but nobody would believe me in the medical world, anyway it ended up dislocating while picking up a bag of potatoes and I fell into this young mans arms in absolute pain, felt a right prat and because my husband was in another part of tesco's they called him over the intercom I felt so stupid, then they got a chair (a low chair) for me to sit down on (as if I could sit lol) anyway had it put back right and had to wear a hip brace for a while which was useless and then a few weeks later I was in terrible pain with it and I had to have the hip replaced again. This one has been fine.

  • Ouch, a dislocated hip sounds v. painful. I had a fall in Sainsburys a couple of months ago, did a stupid thing, reached down too far and something (possibly PCL) snapped behind both knees, resulting in excrutiating pain and difficulty walking for 3 weeks. A young male customer nearby came to my aid and I too felt really stupid. I couldn't get off the floor, the male customer and a female staff member had to lift me up and get a wheelchair. I shop in other stores now! I never used to worry about falling over but I do now that I have THR's. Thanks for your reply.

  • Hello,

    I too have had RA for over 40 years, started when I was 23. A positive attitude and active management of one's own disease are essential to cope with problems which arise. Have had right knuckles replaced twice, right ankle replacement, left ankle fusion and right hip replacement.

    Drug therapy now is very effective and I sometimes wish I had been born 40 years later. Hope all of you in the early years of the disease benefit from the newer therapies and are spared the surgical interventions and deformity which was inevitable in previous times.

    Keep smiling.

    Best wishes Pam

  • I sometimes feel envious of newly diagnosed patients too - they have a whole new choice of drug therapies. I have to accept its too late for me, no new drugs will reverse my deformities.

  • I've had RA for 58 years - I was diagnosed when I was 2 years old. It has severely affected every joint in my body and I have severe deformities. The Rheumie I saw last week said that if I'd been diagnosed now I probably wouldn't have these deformities. Had both hips replaced - right hip twice. Both knees replaced. Both elbows replaced. Thumb fusion and little toe straightened. Both shoulders are in urgent need of replacement, however Orthopod feels that he would like me to wait longer as I could end up worse than I am now. I have led a fantastic life - I have tried to not let it stop me doing many things. I've not been sporty at all - which was just as well. However I have always done 'crafty' things - knitting, crochet, painting - I'm not able to knit now but I do a lot of cross stitch. I do believe in 'use it or lose it' - I reckon if I hadn't kept on doing crafts I wouldn't be able to use my hands now. I too believe in a positive outlook, having a good laugh and a good time. In fact Saturday night was my 60th birthday party - didn't get to bed till 5.30 Sunday morning - and I'm still suffering (alcohol!) now on Tuesday.

  • Thank you everyone, I do enjoy a good laugh, even laugh at myself, but it's good to know your not on your own. I have a good family and friends network support, my husband is absolutely brilliant, he takes everything I throw at him, but most of all I have a strong faith, and I believe in acting it out and not preaching it out, fed up with churches so I don't go. Going through a rough patch at the moment with severe chest infection but will get over it. Hope you all have a good day.

  • Love your attitude!!!!

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