H i i am new. Sorry for note form, not mean to be curt but hurts to type. I was told by my gp today he thinks I have ra. Problems with hands swelling, stiffness etc since Oct and intermittently before that. Both ankles, elbows and shoulders since Nov. In last 3 weeks spread to knees and hips, problems walking and with stairs. Toes very painful and swollen especially tonight. Today gp started me on prednisolone 30mg a day to try to reduce pain and swelling. Naproxen not helping and I have stomach condition also. Been to and fro to gp since Sept but only referred to rheumatologist 23 Dec. Now seems referral not yet typed due to Christmas so not gone yet. So no progress towards clear diagnosis.
Very worried and frustrated. Was tested for RA last year while living abroad as had similar but less serious issue with hands a year ago. Inconclusive and told to wait and see. It never fully resolved as had hand pain to point that we bought an automatic car this Aug.
I have some questions please and respect your far greater experience and knowledge.
1. Is it worth paying to get earlier referral? Realise controversial but am getting desperate and worried about permanent joint damage. Lost hand functions and grip early Nov.
2. When get to hospital appointment, will being on prednisolone mask condition? What should I do about this?
3 is there anything I can do to get gp to grasp urgency? Pointed out NICE standards today re urgent referral, but still awaiting clarity about whether referral discussed on 23 Dec is in a typing queue somewhere!!! Gp today wouldn't do new letter as i saw his colleague in Dec and wants to wait for her return from holiday to find out situation.
4. How long is wait likely to be? It is Portsmouth NHS trust. Is it different privately?
5. Any help to control worry would be welcome. Husband and kids helping me over Christmas but will be alone soon and not sure how will !manage. Eg I can't do lock on front door, open dishwasher or food containers. Have job interview next week and as so preoccupied, tired, not sure how will manage. Have to do case study there but can't hold pen. Unsure if steroid will affect performance.
Hope to hear from you, and thanks.