Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis Interview at http://rapainmanagement.com/living-with-rheumatoid-arthritis/ SUBSCRIBE. RATE. COMMENT.
In her personal story about living with rheumatoid arthritis, Jenn shares what its been like living with RA for the last 21 years – the good, the bad, the ugly – and specifically she shares about her daily battles with the disease and how she manages her arthritis pain most effectively.
Krysti: Hi I’m Krysti and I’m here with Jenn. The reason for recording this audio-video is to share a real-life story about living with rheumatoid arthritis and what it means to be diagnosed with RA. We’ll talk about some of the struggles and the successes that happen with the disease, from a personal account.
So the goal is to be able to chat with you Jenn and to talk a little bit about what it’s been like through your journey. That way people who are dealing with some of the same challenges can relate to your story and recognize that they’re not alone in their journey through this disease.
So first and foremost, I want to tell your story, so maybe you can start out by telling me how you found out that you had RA. How old were you? What was it like in the beginning.
Jenn: Okay, I was fourteen and I felt like I had jammed my finger. My finger joint swelled up and it was probably for, I don’t know, a week or two and then I realized it’s probably not a jammed finger, maybe something’s wrong, maybe it’s broken, I don’t know.
So I told my mom and then my mom took me to the doctor and our primary care doctor, my pediatrician, said that she thought it was juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and that she was going to send me to a rheumatologist. She said, that even though I hadn’t presented all the symptoms for RA…I think you have to have symptoms for like six months, or for a certain amount of time before they’ll actually send you to a rheumatologist, she said that that’s what she pretty much thought it was.
So they sent me right away to the rheumatologist and did blood work and urine tests and everything like that and confirmed that it was JRA.
Krysti: So you were fourteen when that happened?
Krysti: So when you went to the doctor to get the blood tests and everything, did they tell you about your diagnosis, did you have to come back? Tell me a little bit about that process, if somebody is experiencing symptoms now and they’re curious about what it’s like to go to the doctor, what to expect, I’m sure things change over time, but what was that like for you?
Jenn: Yeah I think it’s probably a lot different now than it was back then but essentially my pediatrician just said, “You have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis,” and I had no idea what that was and what it even meant. So it didn’t even click or mean anything to me at that point in time. I just went home and somebody said, “What’s wrong?” and I said, “I have arthritis,” and went about my day. So it didn’t really have any effect on me then, the physical symptoms weren’t bad enough then for me to realize what an impact it was going to have, but it didn’t take long for the physical symptoms to come.
Probably within a month, maybe two months is when all the physical symptoms started getting really bad. For example, I couldn’t open the truck door to get in the car and I couldn’t open a milk jug and going upstairs was really hard because my knees had gotten so swollen. So, it was little things like that started happening in my daily life, then I started realizing that everything is different.
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