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Awaiting referrel to see a Rheumatologist

Hi, I am new on here and not yet diagnosed with RA, am awaiting a referral to see a Rheumatologist, so really not sure if I should be a member on here either.

I have suffered with stiffness in my hands for a few years now which would come and go but recently this has worsened and has spread to my wrists, shoulders, knees, and sometimes my feet and toes. The stiffness is really bad in the mornings, during the night (the pain has started to wake me

during sleep) and in the evenings when resting in a chair watching the telly. I also have problems if I kneel down to get anything and then I find that I have problems trying to get back up! My hands and wrists are so painfull and I have noticeable swelling at the base of my hand and right wrist and swelling in my knees, and I am having such difficulty with everyday things, getting dressed (especially doing buttons etc) lifting pots and pans, opening tins etc. My doctor has put me on diclophenic, he took blood tests which showed that my levels were on or just above the 'markers?. I feel like a bit of a hyprochondiac recently, always moaning about this hurting or that hurting! It sometimes seems that each morning I have a different part of me aching and stiff . Furthermore I had appendicitus back in March which wasn't diagnosed by the out of hours doctor, this resulted in a large appendix mass which was removed in may, but my wound became infected and I had to be re-opened and was left with an open wound for two months!

I guess my question is that, could this infection be anyway connected with my sore joints, also I am so nervous about my impending appointment at the same hospital that I had my operation due to the fact that, when I had follow up appointments concerned with the operation and infection, I felt that my concerns were not taken seriuosly abouts the pains I had then. My consultants usually finished with the appointmentt by saying "smile more" or "cheer up".

There is a history of RA in my family, My maternal Grandmother was very crippled with it.

I apologise for rambling, but I feel so confused with everything at the moment and what the future may hold. All I would like is one day free of pain.

9 Replies

Hello Rainie and welcome,

Sorry to hear you are suffering but glad you have found this site you will receive some amazing support on here.

I am no doctor so I dont know about the link to your infection and whether this can cause your joint pain.

I too had my maternal and paternal grandmothers very badley crippled with RA.

If you have any questions that you want answering why not try the NRAS helpline there support for me in the early days was totally invaluble I dont think I would have gotten through the early stages if it wasnt for there support!

I hope all goes quickly for you and you get your appointment through soon, if it is RA I found one of the most important tools you need to get through it is a good support network so finding us on here is a great first start.

Take care and keep us posted with how you go on

Julie xx


HI Rainie,

All are welcome on here for a chat, whether you know for sure you have RA or not its a learning curve, and often chat is not totally RA.

I would say wait for diagnosis, and don't presume anything until a RA consultant confirms. RA is not the life sentence it once was, so there is nothing to be frightened of, plenty of good treatments out there to stop or low down progression.

My advice would be live as best you can for moment, take your diclofenic, and stomach protectors and pain killers for the moment as GP has prescribed and then prepare yourself to see consultant.

All Healthcare Professionals , say to anxious patients 'smile more' etc (but its not them has the worry of all these strange pains is it?)

As I said, from my experience and on site here, there are many reasons why you might be achy and sore, sure, it could be RA, but there are a host of reasons, like viral, and as you said you did have a big op earlier in year and it may be a consequence of that, so wait until you know for sure and even then don't worry too much if you can help it. You are still you, and you will be Ok.

Hope this helps, always feel welcome to come on here and vent, who cares certainly not us at HU, I mean we do care! but you know what I mean.

Total Regards, Gina.


Thanks for your replies,

Your responses are very helpfull and very welcome. I know I am probably worrying far too much at the moment ( I think I was born a worrier!!)

I think I just get concerned that friends and family and the health professionals will think I'm just a moaner moaning about my aches and pains!

I will continue to take the diclofenic as prescribed, (however, I wasn't prescribed any stomache protectors with them,) and wait for my appointment to come through.

Once again, thanks for your responses, it's lovely to know that there is real support available.

Very Kind Regards



Hi Rainie. Welcome to the site. Good luck with your referral. It sounds as if your GP has started you on some medication already.

I also had an Uncle with RA (I only found that out from my cousin last year although I was diagnosed 3 1/2 years ago). Otherwise Osteo runs in our family. There is a hereditary factor to RA - if you have other family members with it, it seems to predispose you to it.

Don't know if your appendix has had any effect - only a doctor could answer that one but a lot of infection which your body is having to fight is not good.

RA is an auto immune disease and often with that, you get other auto immune problems as well. It is possible the infection has triggered something off but do ask your GP or consultant when you see them.

Please don't think you are "moaning" about aches and pains or that your medics will think that. The important thing is to find out what is happening and get it sorted out. You will get lots of support from this site as we all suffer with RA to a greater or lesser degree.

I suggest you see your GP about stomach protectors - the last thing you want is any trouble there.

I must admit if my consultant told me to smile more, he would get decked with a left hook! Hope you don't have to wait too long for your appt. If it seems like stretching out, ask your GP to chase it up for you.

I also have trouble getting up if I kneel down, in fact I can't. It was my feet which first alerted anyone to problems, followed by grossly swollen hands and wrists and it went from there + knees being swollen and painful and put me in a wheelchair. It took 2 months to get a proper diagnosis, so don't despair and don't give up. Best wishes. LavendarLady x


I have recently been diagnosed with RA and although things are difficult it's better to know than to wonder. It is so good that you have finally managed to get a referral. Things have improved so much in the way of treatments over the last decade or so that if you are diagnosed (and your symptoms do need investigation) there is so much that can be done to help you. NRAS have helped me no end and I have great faith in my rheumatologist. What is really important is early treatment as this has been shown to be so beneficial in treating RA. You are not alone and should keep posting about your progress. You are so welcome here and will find much support. I would recommend joining NRAS if you are diagnosed as the benefits are superb. Good luck with your appointment.


Welcome also,

My name is alison.. dont worry yourself too much about the "markers" further tests such as xrays and ultra sounds will sort out the diagnosis.

The rheumatologist should sort all of this for you some health authorities such as mine had quite long waiting times !, hope yours is speedy and then you know what you are facing xx( NRAS do some great leaflets as said by Naomi above .

Alison xx


Hello Rainie

Gosh your symptoms are more or less identical as mine! I am waiting to see the Rhematologist next Tuesday for the first time - hopefully we can compare notes!

I have found this site so helpful for advice etc

Good luck




Thank you so much everyone for your lovely words and support already.

Erika, good luck on your appointment next Tuesday, it would be great to have someone at the initial stages to compare notes with, I'm so sorry that anyone is going through this but it is nice to know that I am not alone (if you know what I mean). I do have a friend (on face book) who has Fibromyalgia and it would be nice to be able to speak to her about it but unfortunately it appears she only wants to out do everyone on pain levels. Personally I don't want any more pain!!

It would be great to hear how you get on Erika.

I have had a good look around this site and I agree that it is such a good help, especially on what happens at the first consultation.

Love and best wishes to everyone




Afternoon all,

Just to follow up, I have today received a letter from Devon Access and Referreal Team to be able to make an apponitment to see the Rhuematologist. Rang them immediately and have an appointment for November 29th 2011.( I am fully expecting this to be cancelled and re-scheduled for a later date as this seems the norm with appointments within our local NHS).

In the mean time, if my pains persist do I go back to my GP , or do I wait until my hospital appoinment? Don't want to seem to be pestering him. Just feeling a bit down today and rather sorry for myself !, knees feel like they are on fire and very stiff, can't bend my thumb on left hand, skin on right hand knuckles are red, having to get my teenage boys help with the cooking..lifting pans etc and 29th November seems like such along way away at the moment :(

Sorry to moan on

Kind Regards




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