I first realized something was wrong was after a nasty fall playing softball. At first, I put it down to getting older (I was 35 at the time), but then it reached a point where I could hardly walk. One night my legs were all swollen and I couldn’t stand on my own. My family took me to the hospital where I learned my liver enzymes were quadrupled. I was put in quarantine because the doctors thought it was hepatitis or something. After a few days the enzyme levels went down and I was released, with no clue what had happened.
After a second trip to the hospital I was sent to a rheumatologist in Fort Smith, AR. That doctor basically told me there was nothing wrong with me. So I went home with no diagnosis, again. Then I was sent to a different RA doctor and he said I had lupus. After meds did not work I had to go on FMLA because I could not even stand up. My sister, who lives in Kansas, came and got me and took me to her doctor (she has RA also) and that is where I was diagnosed as RA. I tried Remicade and that did not work for me. Now I am on and off methotrexate and predisone. Other meds I currently take are Arava, Enbrel, Zoloft, and Synthroid.
I was always a tomboy but now I mainly stay in and play on my computer, watch TV and read. My husband and I go fishing but some days he has to reel them in for me. I do not lift anything heavy or climb ladders or step stools. Rest is something that is a must and I’ve learned not to over do things when I am feeling good.
My family has been there and I have friends that are very supportive. They make an effort to make life easier for me and know how to cheer me up when I am hurting. With my sister having it too, we can be each other’s sounding board because we understand the pain.
My career at Walmart! I work in accounting at store level. I have managed to keep my evaluations great and continue to learn new skills. The leadership team is very supportive of me and understands my limitations. However, I try to make up for the things I can't do by learning more in the areas that I can do things in.
Find a goal each day and achieve it.
I’ve learned not to over do things when I am feeling good.
Pray! Find someone that will be your sounding board when you need to de-stress. Remember that people can't always deal with listening to someone who is down all the time. Find a goal each day and achieve it.