Seeing RA under every stone

February 8, 2010 at 10:36 am | Posted in arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments
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Is it me, or do others with rheumatoid arthritis see RA possibilities everywhere? I’ve told my bro, who has had neck pain for years and gets inflamed knuckles, that he really should get an RA test, even though it’s incredibly unlikely in a lad his age. (Unlikely but not impossible, as Rhuematoid Arthritis Guy can testify, and not an unreasonable suggestion given that he’s my brother and we do have family with RA.

However, it starts to get a bit silly when you’re sitting chatting to someone and start thinking ‘ooh, they get stiff in the mornings; could be RA.’ Well yeah, I have to remind myself, but when they say stiff they probably mean their muscles ache a bit because they went jogging last night, not that they can’t move their joints. But then again, RA is notoriously hard to diagnose, so when you’re sitting in the OT’s room chatting to another patient who is being treated for ‘carpel tunnel syndrome’ in both wrists, has been referred to the podiatrist because of pain in both feet, finds it hard to grip the steering wheel for any length of time, gets ‘dead arms’ in the middle of the night just like I do and finds it difficult to be a passenger even in the car for long journeys because when she gets out she’s ‘stiff all over’ … oh yes, and this all started with ‘the change’ … you can’t help wondering, can you? Or can you? Is it just me?

It’s hard to keep your mouth shut sometimes, but I managed it. For all I know she’s been thoroughly tested for it and hasn’t got it, but I couldn’t ask; I’d never even met her before that day. It makes me wonder even more because when I was diagnosed with RA I’d gone to the doctor saying, ‘Help – I think I’ve got carpel tunnel syndrome!’

I suppose I shall never know, and I really hope I’m barking up the wrong tree altogether, for her sake … but I can’t help wondering. Am I being silly?



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  1. I don’t think you’re being silly at all, Polly. While I’m sure many of the symptoms of RA show up in other disorders and diseases, when someone mentions them the way you’ve heard, it’s natural to equate them with your own circumstances. Mentioning it to others (as a way of being helpful and compassionate) can’t hurt, can it? And you can always choose to keep your thoughts to yourself, depending on the individual.

    I’ve run across a few people over the years with symptoms that compare to mine, and when RA hasn’t been in their field of inquiry, I’ve brought it up. Hey, why not? Can’t hurt — and if they DO have it, maybe you’ve just saved them several years of diagnosis dancing. You’ve done some good.

    Hope you’re feeling better today. Just one more day to Bday and pressies. Do have fun!

  2. I guess I’m just too British – don’t want to go poking my nose in, probably wrong, don’t want to worry anyone unnecessarily etc. etc. :o)

  3. Hi Polly,

    I see RA everywhere too, but like you, I’m never sure whether I should say anything. So far, I haven’t.

    Sometimes when I see someone who quite clearly has some kind of chronic health issue, I really want to reach out to them. I saw a girl about my age who very obviously had scoliosis. I almost wanted to give her a hug. I didn’t, of course!

  4. Late to the party as usual me – but it could just as well have been polymyalgia rheumatica, which is basically pretty much like RA without the joint damage. I had it for 5 years then it got REALLY bad and 6 months later a course of steroids had me back to nearly normal in about 6 hours (typical of PMR). No cure, only management with longterm lowish dose (below 12.5mg, hopefully less) prednisolone until it decides it will go away (or the underlying autoimmune bit at least) and it doesn’t often go into remission for some time. Doctors are hopeless about it and there are no 100% tests, just raised ESR and CRP and a fifth of us don’t even get that. It has a close relation, giant cell arteritis – you can go blind with that.
    But planting the idea there are other things that can and do present like that – I’m all for it. Then it’s up to them…

    PS – like the blog, just catching up on the history 🙂

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