Newbie Here!

SianT
SianT Member Posts: 7
edited 18. Jan 2019, 04:02 in Say Hello Archive
Morning everyone - my story so far......

About 6 weeks ago I noticed my feet were hurting when I got up in the morning, but just put it down to ‘one of those things’. Then one evening I felt a lot of pain in my hip, plus one of my fingers had swollen up and very sore. Since then things have gone downhill rapidly, I have pain just about everywhere, my knees, shoulders, hands, feet, wrists. I went to see my GP, she sent me for bloods and this week I had X-rays done. She says she can’t give me anything without a formal diagnosis from a Consultant, so I’ve just been taking Ibuprofen and Paracetamol to help with the pain. She suspects RA, but I’m worried about the damage being done while I wait for an appointment to be sent through, could be months?

I’m also under a huge amount of stress, I’ve been separated for 2 and a half years and my OH is pressurising me to sell the house/divorce - I also want to sell up, but now I feel so vulnerable with an illness too. My son is at Uni, so I’m on my own. My car broke down the other day, still waiting for it to be fixed, so having to walk everywhere with painful feet, plus work. I feel very depressed at the moment - I’m hoping once I get an official diagnosis and the right meds, life can get a bit better. I’m 56 and still have lots to give, but with the combination of feeling in pain, plus the stress of a divorce, I’m feeling awful.

Comments

  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,085
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Sian
    welcome to the forums it is lovely to have you here. You really are having a very rough time aren't you! Dealing with a divorce and moving house is stressful enough without adding in arthritis. It is not at all surprising that you feel awful and stressed, I can't imagine anyone feeling any differently.
    It might be worth giving our Helplines a call as they are very good at talking things through and helping to unravel situations that are overwhelming. They Open again next Monday from 9am to 8pm, the number is 0800 5200 520.
    Try not to be too hard on yourself and give yourself permission to create some space for yourself. You might find it useful to look at our website about living with arthritis here https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/managing-symptoms/
    I am sure other members will also come along and support you and share their experiences with you. Just know you are not alone and we are here to help you through your journey. Lets us know how you get on.
    Best Wishes
    Sharon
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,243
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Sian and welcome. I have RA and have had it for many years so I do understand the pain and frustration. But you also have a lot of emotional stuff going on, don't you so it must be a very hard time for you.

    Your GP is right. The 'correct' medication for RA is / are DMARDS (Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drugs.) but GPs can't prescribe them except as directed by rheumatologists. Unfortunately all rheumatologists have very long waiting lists and there's not much we can do about that. I guess, if you could afford it, you could see one privately. Or maybe your GP could say you're an urgent case.

    You don't say whether or not your ibuprofen and paracetamol are prescribed or have just been bought over the counter. If the latter, your GP could probably prescribe a higher dose of ibuprofen or a different anti-inflammatory med.

    I'm so sorry about the domestic problems. Worrying will not help the arthritis but I can't really help there. Except to say you very probably are depressed. Maybe your GP could prescribe a short course of anti-depressants.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • SianT
    SianT Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi - thank you for your kind words and advice.

    I’ll try to stay positive and I know everyone on here is having difficulties and in pain, but I’m also sure there are stories of people feeling better with the right medication 👍

    I’m only using OTC Ibuprofen and Paracetamol - at the moment I’m loathed to use anything stronger, I don’t want to rely on painkillers too much - I refused Co-Codamol, due to my experiences in the past (constipation 😳).

    It’s good to know there’s support on here if anyone needs it.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Constipation is a common topic on here and avoidable by eating prunes or figs, increasing roughage and drinking more water. I have to say that I don't particularly enjoy eating prunes but needs must, I eat three for every 30/500 cocodamol I take (which is four per day), I need that amount of pain dulling so I can get on with things. I have them with proper Greek yoghurt, sprinkled with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almond slivers and pistachios.

    Pain compromises my life in more than the obvious ways. It can restrict what I am able to do so I need the tablets, it affects my sleep so I need them, they help me to do more so I need them. As a result I have to be more conscientious about my diet and I regard that as a small price to pay for physical comfort. My husband is working at sorting his annual bout of severe constipation, brought on (we think) by eating too much turkey! DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,243
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    yYour GP could prescribe a different NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug). maybe the dame strength as ibuprofen but better. Also, if you're taking NSAIDS regularly you need a stomach-protecting med to take with them. You need the GP for that.

    As for constipation, I recently put up a thread about it on LWA because I'd discovered the benefit of prunes. But others had their own suggestions,all without taking meds. There are lots of things to try.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • SianT
    SianT Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well got back from GP, X-rays of hands and feet show Osteoarthritis, but bloods show high for RA? She says maybe PoS, not sure what that is? I thought she’d already referred me to Hospital, but seems not, so she did it today! Still just on painkillers. :(
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It's good that she has referred you to rheumatology , they are the ones who know a lot about a little and may be able to sort something out: it makes more sense to refer someone once there are grounds for so doing. There are around three hundred auto-immune inflammatory conditions so more tests may be needed to rule things out rather than in. The auto-immune arthritis I have is a sero-negative type, i.e. rheumatoid factor is not present in my blood but as it is present in yours this is an indication that an auto-immune issue could be a factor here. Do auto-immune issues run in your family? I have no idea what PoS might be.

    OA is far more straightforward to diagnose and deal with and I sincerely hope you don't end up like me with a creaky foot in both camps, life is easier just having the one. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • SianT
    SianT Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think I meant PA, as my dad had psoriasis all over his body, maybe that’s why she thought of that?
    Anyway, GP just rang, she phoned Hospital and spoke to Consultant who says after looking at my bloods he’s pretty sure it’s RA, which isn’t great news, but hopefully they can now rush the appointment through and I can start on the Meds and hopefully get back to work. She’s doing me a prescription for steroids to tide me over for the next few weeks.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    So there is a genetic tendency - I am sorry. It ran in my family too, Ma donated eczema and asthma but didn't have them herself (lazy mare) and Pa had mild psoriasis in later life. I rarely have psoriasis but developed the arthritis. I use the abbreviation PsA because PA is something different, namely palendromic arthritis.

    I am sure that the steroids will help you feel better but they are not a solution, they merely mask the symptoms. I worked for seventeen years but was fortunate to be self-employed so could tailor things to suit as I deteriorated. I retired a few years ago when I was 54 and remain thankful to this day that I no longer have to force myself, on a daily basis, to do things. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • SianT
    SianT Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you all for the information, there is so much more to Arthritis than meets the eye! People always joke about maybe having it when they’re struggling to get up, but if they only knew how debilitating it can really be. I’ve just started on my ‘journey’, I can’t imagine how awful it was to be diagnosed at a young age like some forum members on here - you have my every admiration as to how you’ve dealt with it.

    As for me, one painful step at a time :)

    First try and get back to work for a bit, get enough money together to sort my divorce out, hopefully move somewhere where I will be mortgage free (fingers crossed) and try to forge a new life! One of my pensions kicks in when I’m 60, which is in 4 years, so maybe then I can do something part time? Anyway, we have to make plans, even if they don’t work out.

    🙏

    PS: to DD - I have been asthmatic all my life, although better since I’ve got older and when I was a child I was plagued with eczema, so maybe this is the outcome! I have GERD, so I’ve been on Omeprazol for years, so hopefully this will protect my tummy. Also thanks for all the advice on the dreaded constipation :)
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I was born with eczema and developed asthma aged seven, all in the days before the steroid dreams and inhalers. Both of these are auto-immune inflammatory conditions so to develop an auto-immune arthritis is more than likely.

    People think they know what arthritis is but they don't, especially when they don't have it. I think it true to say that one doesn't truly understand anything until it happens to you; be prepared for the ridiculous advice that people will kindly offer once they know you have arthritis. If they claim to be keeping their RA or OA at bay by wearing copper and/or magnets, drinking cider vinegar et al my thinking is they don't have true arthritis. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • SianT
    SianT Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Morning everyone, hope you are all as well as can be expected in this cold weather?

    The steroids are doing what they should, although I have had to reduce the dose to 10mg a day as I was beginning to feel the GERD/indigestion coming back, and that a definite no no. I’m feeling a lot better, but of course I’m aware this is a false dawn and it’s only the beginning really. Imagine my shock when I spoke to the hospital appointment people yesterday when they said the first appointment at my local hospital is 1st April!!! However they’ve booked me for another earlier one in St Albans (second week in March), which is two tubes, one overground train, plus a taxi or bus at the other end. I naively thought I would be starting the meds quickly, I’d forgotten how slow the NHS is (although a wonderful institution). :(

    I’m beginning to realise how lucky I was years ago when my husband had BUPA through his company, now he’s taken me off the policy, plus my car is out of action and I can’t afford to get it fixed, I’m feeling rather sorry for myself. Yesterday was a good day, up and about, but today I’m feeling down again, and I still have to start thinking about seeing a solicitor to start my divorce. These things are sent to try us eh :lol:

    Have a good day everyone.