Kristen--I was diagnosed with RA at the age of 34. I am now 57. I still lead a very active life punctuated with small rest periods. When I need a short rest period, I give myself permission to take it. I just can't do all the housework in one day like I used to so I split it up over the week. I have found that my rheumatologist is my best advocate. I take Humira (TNF blocker) and methotrexate, no NSAIDs. My RA is moderately severe at this time (due to flare up) but I made up my mind many years ago that this disease wasn't going to conquer me. It is so important to get some exercise daily, not only to help the joints but to help improve your stress levels. It is okay to let others know you might need a little assistance at times. The very best thing you can do for yourself is keep a positive attitude (yeah, right when your knees are killing you!). I also think it is important to save some time for yourself every day to do something you really enjoy doing. I sew and have found that when my mind is occupied, I hurt less. I also pray alot. Any focus you can find that gets your mind off of what your body is doing is perfect.
There is a new blood test called a Vectra test. One vile of blood is drawn and it shows your doctor how active your RA is. If you find that a certain medication doesn't seem to be working, call the doctor. There are so many drugs available. All things considered, their side effects are minimal compared to the relief you will get.
Kristen, don't be afraid. This can be managed, it is not a curse, just means you might be doing things a little slower at times but YOU WILL BE DOING THEM! I work full-time and walk all day on concrete floors. I learned about good boots (I have to wear a uniform) and I take short breaks when I need to. Get knowledgeable about your RA. There is a lot of info out there.View Thread
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