Hi, I was diagnosed with RA age 24, after a deep personal trauma and acute stress.
However, I feel like I have always had symptoms since I was a child - I loved gymnastics and despite being a robust, healthy child, doing anything too extravagant always caused me pain (handstands). As a teenager, I was very sensitive to the cold resulting in stiff joints (knees).
First symptoms appeared in my early 20s - I threw out the shoes I thought were causing me to be flat footed.
After my mother was diagnosed with MND, and I became her caregiver - jacking in my job in America and moving home- my RA symptoms returned with a vengeance. I was 23. My knees seized up and I couldn’t walk without 15 minutes physio, warm ups and excruciating first steps. Often, it was better to move as little as possible rather than prod the sleeping dog of pain. Soon the pain in my knees was joined by pains in my elbows, wrists, thumbs, ankles and middle foot.
I have had one joint fusion (talonavicular fusion) but fear my right elbow is beyond repair, too. I ache constantly, and of course worse in mornings or after periods of rest.
After 10 years of diclofenac, infusions and every drug imaginable (thank goodness for the NHS!) my general morale is very low. Bouts of gastrointestinal illness have lead to my next probable diagnosis of Crohn’s (unless the drugs have simply worn out my digestive track!)
I am fortunate that I don’t have a mortgage, but money is a worry since I was made redundant two months ago due to company restructuring. I don’t even know if my old career is one worth pursuing - it doesn’t inspire me. I feel so lost! Oh to be free from RA!