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The pre-Xmas big hand flare!

The pre-Xmas big hand flare!

Hi All,

Just wanted to say that I'm unlikely to contribute over the coming few days in Xmas day because my right hand has doubled in size and left isn't much better and I have weird deep heat in all my joints. Managed to get apt to see locum GP today and want to ask them to raise MTX dosage from 7.5 to 10mgs. Is a month a normal time lapse between dose rises do you all think? Unfortunately the apt clashes with my physio apt but thought see a doc my priority and my GP is off again so don't know if he's had the rheumy letter yet with all the hospital typing delays etc so might not be able to raise my dose until it's arrived or until my own GP is back. But I'm getting kind of desperate for something to work as hands are fairly crucial to everyday life!

Failing all else I've got Prednisolone in cupboard but as you may recall it gives my awful mood swings and I'm already teetering a bit now so don't want to be hitting rock bottom on Xmas day!

Anyway this has taken an age to type so just wanted to say Happy Christmas to one and all! Tilda xxx

24 Replies

Hi Tilda, poor you - I know how painful that hand can be. When my right hand doubled in size and I couldn't bear it to be touched, that really was the first definite indication of RA!

Yes I agree the GP is a priority when you are in pain. Physio can wait a bit.

I had my MTX increased from 15 to 20 mg in the space of a month so it is quite normal. See what the locum GP says - he may not be willing to raise the MTX without the hospital say so, but I am sure there will be something else he can prescribe to help you through this. Also make sure you have some nurofen and paracetemol in the cupboard. My Rheumy told me to take 400mg of Nurofen (gel capsules to protect your stomach and only with or after food) and 1000mg of paracetemol. The Nurofen is also anti inflammatory and will help with pain and swelling.

Take the Prednisolone if you need it - it will also help bring down the reaction. The main thing is to get you comfortable and functioning again. It may be that the locum GP can give you a steroid injection which will act faster and within 48 hours. Worth asking.

Good luck and have a lovely Christmas and New Year. Love LavendarLady x


Oh tilda my love i feel for you. I'm still having problems with my hand,but nothing like you are having. have you put your hand in a bowl of cold water to help bring the swelling down. I agree with LL about seeing the locum before anything else. Pschio is not going to much good to you when your having a flare up.

Hope the gp can help you and i wish you a peaceful and as much as possible a pain free christmas.

Love sylvi. xxx


Ha you wrote phsycho (by mistake!) Sylvi and that is just how I'm feeling so you must have second sight?! Thanks too LL - hands are the most extreme ever re swelling today which i put down to big houseclean and bed making and driving yesterday.

In the end saw both as physio was free and new GP (v young chap not a locum after all?!) was running 30mins late. Physio does ultrasonic massage thing and have to bite my lip as want to ask if she's picked up a heart beat when's baby due in my pregnant hot knuckles yet!? She said she felt really bad for me when she saw my hands today couldn't open door or get coat off without help. I've to try for splints that don't rest on knuckles online. Anyone know of any?

Young doc read the rheumy letter enough to see that he had said 7.5mtx only starting dose and then after 4 weeks, if tolerated, to raise to 15mg - so am to double my dose on Tuesday to 6 pills. Meanwhile he said my hands were too bad for ibuprofen to sort enough so take the Prednisolone as I can't hack diclofenac and he said Naprox one would maybe have worse side-effects with MTX.

So he thinks better Pred 20mgs until I see my own GP next Weds for mtx blood test just to get hand swelling down a bit. I'll see how they are tomorrow and if the same will go for Pred first thing;-(

For now go to studio to read a book as best way to avoid housework with three teen sons and a bouncy dog and sleeping hubby on a week of nights (inc Xmas Day?!) TTx


Me too tilda, i still feel dreadful as i've been napping downstairs sinc 1.30 this morning. I keep wondering what the hell is going to happen next before this year is out and i'm sure you feel the same. My daughter keeps telling me to sit down when i get up to move about a bit.

Her's hoping next year will be better for all of us.

Love sylvi. xx


Poor tilda, hope g.p. Gives you some help, 7.5 mg pred daily maybe mood swings will settle, ur inflammation is out of control, are you on anti inflamm twic a day plus pain killers? Mtx never obviously helped me.

Hope it gets sorted soon, I'd leave the physio for the moment if I was you.



Hi Tilda

Hope the pred, does not give you awful side affects this time round. I agree with doctor, when hands are that bad naxproxen don't touch it.

Good luck with the mtx increase, here's hoping you stay symptom less.

Take care of yourself, Merry christmas

Sci x


Sorry your suffering so much.It sounds as if the GP has given good advice re steroids.I don't like the side effects but they can be a blessing short term.As for avoiding housework get those teenagers to help out !

Hope you feel better very soon

Julie xx


Thanks so much to you all. Feeling tons better tonight and I haven't started the Pred yet but I took all my pain meds throughout the day and rested hands a lot and then this evening went to an old folks home about 20 mins drive away and sung carols to the 30 or so occupants and staff with my choir. Never thought this would be fun but actually i really enjoyed it - having spent the morning thinking I'd never make it or be able to hold up the music etc. There's nothing like belting out the descants to carols to put my mood up and the old folks seemed to love it too!

I used wrist splints at the physio's suggestion only so nothing touches my hands - found them in Boots today and they are quite tight velcro fastening ones for racket sports etc but not like those stretchy band - proper thick ones and they seemed to help me hold stuff and twist wrists less.

Got other people to turn the ignition on and off for me and fasten my seatbelt and then I was away! Went on to a small choir party afterwards at the manse house nearby and ate too many lovely little munchy things and avoided the lovely smelling mulled wine because I was driving. Considering how low and pained I felt this morning I'm much better tonight. Thanks to you all for helping - will try and avoid pred if possible as he said if i had this lot 20mgs per day for 2 weeks then it would be the last lot i could take for a few months as I've alreadt had two quite high doses in 9 months and think i should save them for an even rainier day if possible. Night all I'm zonked - sleep well.

Tilda x


Awh Tilda I'm sorry to hear about the 'monster hands':-( I know what that's like - I tend to feel like I'm wearing some oversized bear-paw costume hands that are totally useless for normal everyday life!

The infection in my finger seems to have come back with a vengeance since the anti-biotics finished and today I've got swollen lymph nodes and what I recognise as being the start of a flare - knees massively swollen and elbows, hands and toes starting to kick off:-( boo hiss!

I've got to pop out later to collect the turkey but after that I can tramadol the pain into submission and do my best to see it off. I've got a big stock of anti-biotics for kidney infections so will take another 7 day course.

I'm glad that you feel better this evening - I know what you mean about saving the pred, I have some in reserve for flares.

Rest, relax and have the best festive season that you can in the circumstances. Singing increases feelings of well-being (raises serentonin, the happiness hormone I've had my 'Carols from Kings' cd on and been belting out my favourites whilst reclining on the sofa with the dogs - they like singing in the car - not so sure about in the house!

Cece x


Cece, Now YOU are scaring me! It's your infected finger. If the infection has come back after a round of antibiotics, usually means there was more than one organism causing the infection, You MUST get some medical attention, especially if your lymph nodes are involved.

I really don't want to scare you, but an infection that has caused the lymphs nodes to react could become a systemic infection, known as sepsis. You don't want that! I had sepsis 7 yrs ago as a result of an unidentified insect bite on the back of my neck where I couldn't see it, just knew it hurt. Then very dragged out, feverish at times, and my Rheumy even increased the IV Remicade dose, thinking I must be in a flare. Came to a peak while in Pa for family reunion. Woke up the next morning with temp 103 F felt nauseated, and very weak. Layed on my Mom's couch all day while everyone else goofed off. Had to drive back to Ohio the next day, I really don't know how I made it. Came home and called my Mom to let her know I was home and said I was going to take a nap. Well, I woke up with 103 temp again, felt so awful, indescribable. I remember thinking, "I don't know how bad people feel just before they die, but I figured I was getting close. Having worked in hospital labs, specifically Microbiology, I knew 103 degrees was not a viral infection, it had to be bacterial. I had no symptoms of Urinary tract inf, had no cough or cold symptoms, so dragged myself out to the living room, called an ambulance, told them I was really sick and couldnot possibly drive to the emergency room.

They got me, by the time I got to ER, They had started an IV, did an EKG, other vitals I guess. Had lab done, the girls came in with Blood Culture bottles and I knew what was going on. My WBC count was over 25,000, normal is 5-9,000. They admitted me, next day told me all the blood cultures were positive, with E-Coli, gave me 5 different IV antibiotics. Was there for 10 days, in isolation until they knew I wasn't infectious. I really don't remember what I did there for 10 days, but I sure got alot of attention!

So, anyways, if you develope any of these strange happenings, get thee to immediate attention! Please.

Other than that, hope you got the turkey OK, took the tramadol (my go to also ) and are now relaxing after having had a great night's sleep.

PS: I try not to sound like a know it all, and I sure don't know it alll! But when I write of something that I know might help, I hope people don't get defensive.

I have spent an entire week, baking something every day, made 3 different kinds of cookies, which I have to put away in the freezer so I stay out of them! Then have baked 9 loaves of Cinnamon Bread, to give to the mail lady, the newspaper delivery girl, 3 friends and the rest for our family gatherings. We're stretching this out through New Year's Day.

That, my dear, is the extent of superwoman. The rest of her has gone kaput! long time ago! My kitchen is classic, or was, had to clean it! Icing dripping on the front of a cabinet, flour or powdered sugar in the grooves of the wood trim on the cabinet doors, the floor..indescribable! :) Merry Christmas!!


Hi and Merry Christmas to all. Music and especially singing really does lift the spirits and the serotonin levels.

We have a nearby radio station that plays Christmas carols and hymns, nothing else, from Thanksgiving until New Year's Day. So I leave it on in the sun room and sing along when I hear one I know.

My cat, Bridget, does not like me singing, she doesn't even like my humming!

She sits beside me in my chair, and Yesterday, I was writing a note and humming along and she turned to me and "Meowed" a sort, loud one, pretty much interpreted as, "Stop It"

Good night to all, tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Keep on singing! Loret


Aw Tilda, that sounds so awful! I sure do hope the icreases work instantly. Meantime, do what you can to get the swelling down. Maybe a bag of crushed ice you can hold would help, or wrap a towel around it to hold it on so your not tied to a sink full of cold water.

Scares me, because my hands are my biggest complaint right now, maybe it is because we are over using them, but gees, that is what we're supposed to do!!!!

Try to get others in the house to do as much as possible, relax, and let it all happen and enjoy! Have a wonderful Christmas, and God bless. Love , LoretXX


Tilda, One more thing, might really help...I had 4 teenage sons, and I worked full time away from home, so the only way anything could be fun at Christmas especially, is if everyone did something.

Boys can run the vac, wash dishes, load a washing machine and dryer, feed the pets, carry laundry from bedrooms to laundry area, make sandwiches for lunch and supper, really, there isn't much they can't do.

Now they are all married and their wives appreciate the help, most of them also cook more than the wife does, on occasions! Good luck :)


Hey Loret the Superwoman and Cece the horoine - I feel almost guilty for complaining when it's only really bad in my hands. Other bits start twingeing and I think to myself hey ho but it has come to nothing for a few months now and long may it last. Poor you Cece that sounds much worse than mine - although as you say bear hands sums it up well and as LL said I back away if anyone comes near me in case they grasp one as greeting!

Yes eldest son is now lighting the fire - or trying to if he can find kindling. Middle son is manhandling the most enormous bass amp (his early Xmas prez) down the hill with hubby for his next gig tonight. Youngest lolls around on facebook and eating all the fruit but will reluctantly help if prompted enough.

I think you have obviously been a seriously good parent Loret to have ended up with such wonderful young adults. Not sure if mine are in that league but we keep trying. My hubby is superman really and does most things around the house including most of the cooking - I'm just the man here really as I can't mult-task for toffee and a day of housework a week usually leaves me a wreck - hence seriously swollen dodgy hands just now!

The one fight forefinger has been on strike for months and won't bend - it doesn't hurt but it's gone really solid - twice size of others and the bit I'm finding most scary is that all the other fingers have just started refusing to bend too although they don't look as swollen as that one. I'm so hoping the 15mgs of MTX works wonders on them. I do try and do Williby's tennis ball thing at night but they don't always hold and are always incredibly stiff now - especially for the first part of the day. How annoying is this RA business eh?! TTx


You got that right,, this is just da---ed annoying! After that visit with the Hand Specialist on Tues. I decided maybe I won't do as much of this annual baking as I have for the most of my life! I have stayed away from making anything that requires paring and dicing or chopping by hand. No way Jose'

I rarely make cookies throughout the year, unless Grandkids are going to be staying, like in the summer. But, my Grandson Steven is now 14, he has stayed with me every summer since he was about 4. But he will likely be getting a summer job next summer, and I know I will miss having him here for a couple weeks. He's a computer genious, I swear! I'll have a problem with something and he'll punch a couple keys and there you go!

Get much better, Please! Atleast so you can hold that stem glass of wine on Christmas Eve, or the cup of hot tea in the morning. Just have a wonderful time of it all! God bless, Love, Loret


Oops wrote "fight finger" instead of right - d'you reckon that's Freudian?!


:) Likely!



I can sympathise with you, i've just had a big pre Christmas hand flare, in fact i'm sitting here now resting my left wrist on a bag of frozen peas, my right wrist flared up terrible last week, i went to my gp and asked him to inject the wrist with steroid but he was reluctant, even though he has done it for me before, 18 years ago though, he was a lot younger then..! but he did ask the nurse to give me an Dopemedrone injection into the muscle which has more or less done the trick. I am very relieved, Christmas dinner is now back on...ha ha..

Hope you feel better soon, Merry Christmas to you all



Hey Lynn that's good news for you at least I'm so pleased for you!

The young GP I saw told me that they won't do injections into the hand - it has to be done by the rheumy only because of all the tiny nerves and blood vessels that might get ruptured. My physio said same thing although she said my own GP has done it but it wouldn't cover anything other than the individual joint. And as it's partly caused by tendonitis due to RA inflammation surrounding tissue it wouldn't be much help for me probably. My wrists have been more painful than the hands on and off but they don't seem to swell or stiffen like my hands do? Sometimes they've been so bad that they've made me feel sick - as if they were fractured so it's odd that it isn't visible but guess the fingers and knuckles are probably the visible effects of what is going on in my wrists?

Merry Christmas to you too! TTx


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Hi all,

I think hands wait until you really need them and then play up. I have over 100 pieces of students work to mark over xmas and guess what? Yup Mine have gone too! So the splints are out and I just have to be careful with my grip on the xmas sherry glass! Have a good christmas everybody.



Adrienne! Hold onto that glass with both hands, or even wrists, don't loos a drop of that Liquid Gold! Merry Christmas! XXLoret


Ha that's typical RA behaviour I agree Adrienne! But on the plus side if hands say no there's not a lot you can do about it but rest 'em so they are better for next term? I'm making use of the gadgets that the ocuupational therapist gave me to cook and catching up on work using fab scissors with a rubber loop so you save fingers from getting bashed by handles - great for wrapping paper and selotape! I've persuaded OH to change the sheets on our bed now because that really is a killer and they are smelling of dog. At least you can wear splints - my pregnant knuckles say no to them too!

Meanwhile the dog has discovered a mega i metre pack of jaffa cakes my youngest son (14) was sent by a girl admirer and has devoured at least two!

Merry Christmas everyone! TT x


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