I’m going to pass on doing the whole obligatory ‘hello. this is why I’m here’ post. (For more on that, read my About page). Let’s jump right in. A lot of what I write, vent, or stream of conscious about here is for my personal benefit and reflection (along with my close friends and family too). In saying that, forgive these posts for not being my best journalistic work, and forgive them for being rants and raves at some point. This is my life.
Here goes nothin’.
So, if you know me at all, you know that I’ve struggled with illnesses, injuries, and overall plagues of sickness or what have you for my entire life. I don’t remember much from when I was younger to this regard, but I can pinpoint the end of high school and beginning of college as the time in my life when I personally started to notice and wonder why I kept getting sick. When I say sick, I’m not talking about colds, or the flu, or strep throat (and believe me, I experienced plenty of that)–no, I’m talking the unique stuff. Pleurisy, pulmonary embolism, heliobactor pilori, pneumonia, mononucleosis, etc. I would bet that you haven’t even heard of a good number of those–yeah, neither had I.
I’ve also had joint pain, aches, fatigue, and more for at least the past 10 years as well. I’ve just always chalked that up to having 4 knee surgeries in high school due to basketball injuries.
But alas! Here we are in present day (well, let’s say 6 months ago). With new (better) insurance coverage, I decide to finally get my hip pain checked out. No problemo, I say. I probably just need to strength train, some PT, whatever. Scans show no tears, breaks, etc. GOOD NEWS! Off to PT, I continue getting worse and now have immense back pain. BAD NEWS! Back to a new doctor, off to get some more intense bone scans, x-rays, etc. Back pain is rampant at this point (and hip pain on left side).
Here comes the diagnosis. Rampant (and I mean, rampant) arthritis in my lower spine and left hip. Cysts all over my lower spine (more than likely from the arthritis and joint damage). Well, I’m 24. This doesn’t seem right. I’m too young for wear and tear arthritis. Off for lots and lots of blood work. Waiting…
Ah, here it is. That explains it. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
(If you’re unsure what that is, I urge you to research. It’s highly common and MUCH different than what you normally think of as arthritis).
Rheumatoid Arthritis is, to simplify, an autoimmune disease that slowly attacks your body and your joints.
Well this makes sense!
So here I am today–lots of pain, lots of symptoms, lots of questions, and playing the waiting game to get in to see a rheumatologist in March.
For the purposes of myself (a record of symptoms) and my close friends and family who are curious, from time to time I will use this as a journal of my symptoms, questions, etc.
-Lower bilateral spine pain
-Left hip pain
-All major joints (knees, hands, ankles, feet, hips, neck, wrists, elbows) feel like they’re on fire or I have icy hot in my veins.
-Pain in both hands
-Weakness/Numbness throughout whole body, legs and arms especially.
-Little to no strength in both hands, right hand is far worse–cannot open bottles, jars, etc. at the moment.
-Brain fog (difficulty remembering anything–sorry!)
-Overall extreme fatigue
One thing I will note–I don’t say any of this to receive pity. I’m an immensely strong woman and I fight to the death for everything in my life. My positivity wavers (especially right now while I wait for treatment), but I can do this. I have the greatest support system a girl could ask for and I cherish that every day. I have the job I’ve always wanted doing exactly what I love. There is so much to be grateful for that it’s literally impossible for RA to take over.
There is a lot I don’t know. There are literally hundreds of questions I have. But I do know this–RA will not define me.