I posted here in January 2013 and remembered the anguish I was in then, and the help I received from people on this forum, so I thought I'd pay back my dues and offer support to others who are currently in the position I was in back then.
Almost four years ago I was diagnosed with sero negative rheumatoid arthritis after years of going to the doctor and complaining about joint pains. I was told my pains were psychosomatic.
After getting the diagnosis, I felt relieved in my problems finally being recognised, but I also fell into a black hole of despair. Why me? At the age of 21,was this some cruel sort of joke? My physical health was terrible, I could barely walk and had constant pains in my hands and wrists. I had to take 3 months sick off work while I tried methotrexate and dealt with obstinate rheumatologists at my local hospital.
The reaction to methotrexate was terrible, and once I had changed rheumatologist to a better one in London I was able to start Entanercept injections alongside hydroxychloroquine and steroids (after a year of beaurocracy and having to take 3 month course of drugs to clear my system of small traces of tuberculosis). After 6 months I noticed an improvement which steadily grew more and more noticeable. The steroids made me constantly hungry and fat and I was glad to finally come off them sometime on late 2013.
Moving on to 2014 to now, I feel a new person. Through the support of friends, family and my university I have never felt so good. I have almost completed my law degree and plan to study a postgraduate course at Oxford. Although I suffer with occasional pain, it is nowhere near as bad. I have never felt so good, and have been signed up to the gym since August last year. Through regular swimming classes, pilates and, believe it or not, weight training I am physically fit, muscular and strong. My arthritis is in remission and my blood tests show it. Mentally, I feel I could cope with anything this disease throws at me.
Just wants to share, no matter how bad you are feeling, if you feel like giving up, never lose hope. There are modern treatments for this cruel disease and hope for everyone. I know some people may be affected worse than me, and I am by no means generalising that everyone would recover like me. I hope this post helps some people, and I am available for anyone who wants to talk or needs support in what is a difficult period for you.