My boyfriend has just been diagnosed with reactive arthritis. He is very young (20's) and otherwise healthy and is finding the experience very hard. His symptoms are very severe - so much so that he was in hospital for 12 days while they determined a diagnosis. He has gone from being very fit, muscular and active to very weak and unable to do anything without getting exhausted.
It all started with pain and inflammation in his knees and a visit to A & E. At first they suspected gout, then septic arthritis. An aspiration of fluid from his knee came back clear, as did most of his tests, which ruled out gout and SA. The redness and swelling then spread to his ankles, toes, back, wrist and fingers, and levels of inflammation in his blood continued to rise. He had multiple blood tests, cultures, swabs, and MRIs and X-rays and the eventual diagnosis was reactive arthritis, most likely caused by a bowel infection (he had one about a week before hospital admission.) He was then discharged (two weeks ago now) with steroids, naproxen, omeprazole and paracetamol/co-codamol for the pain.
Day to day he is dealing with so much - all of this medication is very strong on his stomach, and his pain is very bad in the mornings and the evenings. He has lost weight and is very low. Some days he seems to be on the mend, and others he is very bad again. I know recovery is a long process - I wish there was more I could do to help, and that we had been given more information by the hospital/consultants! He lives in fear that this will get worse, and has been promised a follow-up appointment, which the doctors forgot to book in.
Does anybody deal with this condition that could offer me some advice on managing the emotional and physical aspects of it? Are there supplements he could take - omega 3, turmeric - to help, or does anybody have a similar story that I could share with him? He feels very alone and finds it difficult to talk about these things - I know he is unlikely to reach out for help himself, which is why I have posted on this forum.
Thanks in advance!