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Thread: Rheumatoid Arthritis

  1. #1

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    Default Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Just wondering if anyone has this condition and can tell me about their experience, how it affects their day-to-day life, TTC, PG or labour/birth? Also do you have any other autoimmune conditions?

    I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease in 2004 and my GP now thinks that it's likely the UCTD will develop into RA further down the track. He says I already have 'low-grade' arthritis (it affects my ankles, knees, wrists and hips atm).


  2. #2
    *TamaraP* Guest

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    I am sorry to hear this. And though my condition is not the same... here is what I do.

    I suffer from a bad case of RSI in my knuckles due to the constant beating the get from work.

    I find in winter my hands tend to play up quite a fair bit. They get cold very quickly and tend to become stiff aswell.
    I just chuck on my snow gloves for about half an hour, otherwise the next day my joints are that stiff.
    I was told just to take anti-infammortory to help the circulation on really bad days and I find it does help.
    But days like today, when I have been on the ovens my hands become very stiff. Just typing can be painful.

    I am sorry again about your diagnosis, and I hope someone can give you the answers you need. (((hugs)))

  3. #3

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    Hi Angel,
    Yep, I have RA. Details are sketchy, partially because of "new bub brain" and also because i can't exactly rember time frames.
    When DS#1 was about 4-5 months old i started to get the achy joints etc and after mamy many months of testing was diagnosed with it. As it got more severe i was able to do less and less. Most of my days were spent on the lounge with bubs in my lap. I found it hard to walk, i couldn't open jars, lids, turn on taps and even got to the point DS was too heavy at 6 or 7 months and he was only a small baby. It was also combined with carpel tunnel for a while.
    After trying anti imflamitories for a few months we moved onto to a combination of asprin and Salazopyrin i remember by the time DS was about 8 months i was at my wits end. Very emotional and frustrated. Because of my inabilities DS was not sitting or crawling because i could not get on the floor to put him down.

    I think all was under conrol for a while from then on. But if i didn't have my meds i knew about it. I think when DS was about 20 months old it got worse and i spent a few days in hospital having steroid treatment (3 doses via drip over the three days). It helped for a few months and then i had to start taking the steroids daily with other meds. I did this for another 6 months or so until DH and i decided to TTC. It took a few months to come off the meds that would be harmful and then we spent 12 months TTC.
    My rhuemotologist said the RA can come on from a shock from hormones from a pg. Because it was in my family he said I would have prob ended up with it anyway it just came sooner as a result of the pg. We did have issues TTC and ended up going IVF as they thought the residual effects of the meds may not be helping. Liam is now 4 months old and my joints only annoy me when it is going to rain or is really cold. I see my specialist next month so i am sure he will be pleased. He monitored me closely during pg and at first was worried as to the effects anotherpg would have on the RA. The best time to TTC is when it is dormant and not in a flare up stage. Thankfully i didn't flare up at all during pg. Pg, labout and delivery were all fine. If anything i can actually do some things like squat down now which i haven't been able to do in years!!!

    Over time my fingers have fused (calsified ?sp)a bit and i can't make a fist with my hand and haven't since really early on. I don't notice the pain anymore (if there is any) and I am able to do almost everything i could before.

    Sorry I hope this makes sence. If you have any Q's let me know. I goota go though cause it tucker time for bubs.

  4. #4

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    Tamara & Kas, thank you so much for your replies! I hope your joints don't play up too much this winter.

    Kas, that's great that the RA hasn't been giving you much trouble lately. Hopefully it stays that way!

    Eeeks... I'm not looking forward to the arthritis getting worse, especially with winters being so cold here in Tassie LOL. Hopefully it'll take a while before it gets bad. I really noticed the achey joints last winter but thought it was just a PG and post-natal/hormone thing... I guess maybe it wasn't. In the past few weeks I've been noticing it more in my hips and wrists. On the cold days it's been getting harder to walk for a while after I've been sitting and my wrists hurt when I try to pick up Kynan.

  5. #5

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    I only just noticed this thread!

    I have a serum-negative rheumatoid arthritis - which basically means they know there is an inflammatory process in my body and I have a lot of joint pain, but they can't pin down an exact cause, or give an exact diagnosis.

    I can't comment on how it affects caring for children, or whether it is having any effect on my ability to conceive - right now the PCOS is causing more trouble!

    As for coping in Winter - damp days are often the worst! It is essential to keep warm, rested and find whatever aids you can to make getting through daily life easier.

    Last winter I had to go on prednisone and ended up gaining about 5kg and having terrible times with mood swings from it. This winter, with everything managed so much better I'm off all forms of anti inflammatory drugs, steroidal or otherwise, except for a few days here and there when things get super bad. What I learnt from that - listen to your specialist! Don't try to scrape through on the lowest dose of meds necessary and don't delay seeking help if things get bad.

    I'm really very lucky - despite having this for several years now, there is absolutely no joint degeneration or deformity... the only down side is that they just don't know what it is and whether I can expect to have it for the rest of my life or whether it will eventually go away.

    BW

  6. #6

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    Thanks for sharing that, BW. That's fantastic that you haven't had any joint degeneration or anything like that. I hope you are able to get some answers though about the other aspects of your RA. It's hard not knowing where you stand with things like this. BTW, good luck with the TTC!

  7. #7
    olreded Guest

    Default medications

    hi there, I suffer from rheumatoid disorders and I take relafen , ocufen and voltaren for the pain from (edited out link :ReadFAQ: ) , which is a very good online pharmacy. What drugs do you take? You should have some precise information about the drugs you take. I was very reckless at first,wouldnt bother to find out about the details of the medications and would rush to buy them. Rheumatoid is so difficult to cope..at first, I found it easy to take medications and live with it, in the long run, it's a real pain.. I hope you get fine.
    Last edited by christy; October 8th, 2006 at 11:05 AM.

  8. #8

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    I have just noticed this thread......

    As you know Angel, I too have Graves Disease and also suffer from arthritis (haven't been back to Drs to see if it has become RA). My joints swell at times and become really painful. Also at times I find it hard to pick up Declan or move in general.

    I have found taking celery seed tablets and fish oil tablets each day, help with lessening the swelling.

  9. #9

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    Hi Girls,

    I'm not sure whether I have RA but I think I definitely have A in some form. It has been steadily worsening since Noddy was born. I was reading a bit about it last night on the internet and it worries me. I'm booking in to the doctor today to have some tests once I get back from Queensland.

    I suppose it is better to get a diagnosis first rather than jump into self-treatment. =) Will let you know what I find out.

    Thanks for the information everyone.

    Mel

  10. #10

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    Good luck Mel with the testing and hopefully it isn't too serious IYKWIM. Just remenber to take it easy. Enjoy QLD by the way

  11. #11

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    Funny seeing you here, Kas!

    Melbo, good luck with the testing! I feel like I've had practically every single blood test they can think of, and while my arthritis is still unidentified it hasn't had any impact on treating and managing the condition. It was a bit hit and miss at first when we were trying to find the right medications, but even with a full diagnosis I'm told it would have been that way, anyway.

    I'm sure Kas would probably tell a fairly similar story - I found the lack of diagnosis quite frustrating initially, and I still have moments when I wonder what the hell is wrong with me, but mostly now that things are under control it doesn't bother me so much. The right treatment is more important than the right diagnosis.

    BW

  12. #12

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    Hi Girls,

    Kas and BW, thanks for your replies.

    I do have arthritis but it appears to be just the common old osteoarthritis so I'm sort of relieved. The doctor is trialling me on anti-inflammatories which I'm a bit anxious about as I'm not thrilled to be taking them. She has explained however that it is only for the short term to see how I respond. I was in the health food shop today, checking out glucosamine and fish oil. Would be very interested to hear what people think of those.

    I've been keeping up the yoga as much as I can with travelling over the holidays. It helps quite a bit in terms of keeping everything moving.

    My main concern is being able to lift William and do everything that I want to do so it looks like it is onto a regime of management, management, management!

    Thanks again for your replies.

    Mel

  13. #13

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    Mel, it would be well worth trying the glucosamine. It doesn't do anything for rheumatoid arthritis (bugger!), but does work well for osteoarthritis. The fish oil also can't hurt at all, and may just help also. Other than that, I really don't know a lot about osteoarthritis at all.

    BW

  14. #14

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    Be careful with the Glucosamine if you are TTC. Studies done recently are showing that glucosamine can make the embryo think it that the mother is a diabetic and reacts accordingly (Diabetes being an auto-immune disease like arthritis)......Women have been reporting miscarriages. I only found this out while having some blood taken for IVF on Wednesday and the nurse drawng the blood had three miscarriages before they worked out what was wrong...she stopped taking it and is now 16 weeks pregnant.....so just keep that in mind

  15. #15

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    eek! That's good to know, Mel! I guess we tend to take the herbal type things for granted, but they can be quite powerful.

    I'm having a terrible time with my arthritis at the moment. Normally wet weather can make me miserable, but the wet weather we were having for the last week or so has cleared and now I'm in pain. I'm hoping it settles very quickly or my rheumy isn't going to be happy!

    BW

  16. #16

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    Hey thanks Mel. I'm very wary of taking any herbal things when trying to conceive (except those I've cleared with the FS first).

    I've only just started on the Herron Joint Formula which is combined glucosamine and fish oil and something else. I'm planning on taking it in the short term only to manage this flare up. This is day two now so it might be a few days before it kicks in.

  17. #17

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    ME too i'm afraid!! since Ryan was 2 weeks old i've had RA brought on by pg hormones first off they thought it was carpal tunnel, I'm probably stupid but i have refused meds cause i really really wanted to BF ryan. Because i couldn't feed my other 2 kids and my dr has said that i would have to stop feeding as the meds are passed through the B/milk.
    RA has destroyed me phyiscally and emotionally, i must addmit before falling pg i would spend hours in the shed with my power tools making things. These days i'm too afraid to look at a drop saw, i'm likely to take my hand right off. I'm scared some nights of picking ryan up to feed him.
    Dh now goes and gets him and brings him in to our bed cause i find it really hard to walk as soon as i wake up and i would never forgive myself if i dropped him. Panadol is my new best friend even though it doesn't do very much, i want it to just stop so i can enjoy my baby so i can get on the floor with him that i could play chasey and all the other good things but i'm 31 and feeling very trapped in a old crippled body. Thankfully Ryan is weaning himself and i will be able to start taking the meds soon any other suggestions would be helpful though ( sorry for the hijack)
    Last edited by ~shazz~; January 7th, 2007 at 08:59 PM. Reason: can't spell ooops

  18. #18

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    Shaz, I thought I had carpal tunnel too. I think I do have some symptoms like that still so perhaps there is something else going on apart from the arthritis. I know what you mean about being afraid you're going to drop the baby. It's very hard when you struggle even with opening a jar some days.

    You mentioned feeling old and I know what you mean by that too ... I thought I was just run down. A lot of this pain and stiffness didn't help when I had PND a couple of months back but at the time, I thought I felt that way because I was depressed. At least now there is some reason for it and I know I'm not imagining it.

    You're in a pickle with the meds ... I'm sorry I can't be much help to you there. I'd be upset about the thought of stopping BF too but your own health is also important. It is hard to have to make that kind of choice. You want the best for your baby but you also don't want to end up so incapacitated that you can't enjoy him.

    Your DH sounds like a great help. That's a bonus. Hope you can get some relief soon.

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