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    RA? Or all in my head?
    dawndawn77 posted:
    I have been suffering from pain and stiffness especially in my hands but also in my feet and toes and lower back and random other areas of my body for months now. I can't do everything I used to do with my hands. It's now difficult to type and write by hand, and knit and make bracelets like I used to do because my hands and fingers get so stiff and painful. I am always feeling like I need to crack the knuckles in my fingers and toes and ankles. Last year the joint in my big toe got painful, stiff, swollen and red for a few days. It went away but the joint is obviously bigger now than the same joint on my other foot. I finally went to my primary MD. She ran all the bloodwork for RA, lupus, Lyme's, etc. and did x-rays on my hands. The x-rays were normal. All of my labwork was normal except my potassium was low, so I began taking 20 meq daily and within two weeks my level was normal. My pain and stiffness continues. After sleeping my hands are barely functional and my lower back is so stiff I have trouble using the toilet. I am only 35 years old, I should not feel like this. My MD is sending me to see a rheumatologist in two weeks. Could this be sero-negative RA? Could I really have arthritis although my x-rays show no sign of it and my labwork is all normal? I do also have IBS and major depression and anxiety. Could this all be in my head and I'm just crazier than I thought? I am an RN and am worried that eventually I won't be able to work and support myself anymore. Please, someone tell me if they have experienced this, and what should I do besides pray and try to remain positive?
    mike201 responded:
    Dear Dawndawn 77

    Hang in there and relax a little. This is all serious stuff but let the doctors do their thing. Make sure you see a rheumatologist and then seek a second opinion from another. I have severe RA and my X-rays are normal too. You may not have rheumatoid arthritis as there are 200 types of arthritis and in the USA Lymes disease can mimic RA too. Keep in touch. Mike
    calliegirl57 replied to mike201's response:
    I feel your pain. I was diagnosed in June of last year after going to the doc and complaining for years, It wasn't until I had damage to my right hand that we tested for RA, This morning is really bad . I didn't realize that we had a family history and now I want everyone to be tested with each little pain or symptom. My youngest daughter was just diagnosed with fibromyalga. I hope you find the help you need. Take care and best of luck.
    me_n_my_4 responded:
    Hello Dawn,

    I can definitely relate to what you are going through. I was just diagnosed in March of last year with RA and Fibro but I had symptoms for three years before that and no one took me seriously because of my age (at the time I was 27) and because I that I would think that it was just me but the pain was real so I just tried not to complain but I was dying inside. So at least you have a doctor that sounds like they are sticking by you so that's always a plus I have heard horror stories. It doesn't sound like things are all in your head at all that's just the way it makes you feel because your labs are normal and everything looks ok. What I have noticed though is that the pain is inside and it's doesn't always show on the outside for everyone one else can see.

    I myself had back pain in my lower back for the past three years or so my doctor tool x-rays back then but there was nothing pain was so bad I couldn't sleep no matter what position I was in. Finally after complaining over and over to my doc she did more x-rays last month. I have lumber DDD and scoliosis which according to the radiology report it wasn't there on previous films but I knew it was.

    Now after a bumpy year I am finally on the right things to keep my pain minimal. I too am I nurse not an RN but an LPN however I passed my boards on Mar 10th 2011 and was diagnosed on Mar15th 2011. I have been holding off on finding employment because I didn't want to lose a job because I was out so much do you issues with the RA and Fibro. Do you have FMLA at your current employer? If you do I would see if you could qualify for it as a safety net to protect your job also to help you through that days where the pains seems unbearable.

    Prayer always works and the key is to stay positive. It might seem frustrating at times but know that it will get better it's just trial and error. Hope that this helps some because I think everyone here can relate to you in some way or another. I wish you the best on your Rheumy appt try to take a family member or friend with you for support and keep me updated as to how you are doing.

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