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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day!

Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day.

I was diagnosed a few years ago. I had joint pain, muscle pain, severe fatigue, brain fog and a low grade fever. I basically felt like I had the flu for weeks and months. I was a runner at the time and the more I ran the worse things got. In the evening after long runs I had trouble just getting up and walking. I also in those few years before diagnosis had back and neck issues which both resulted in fusions.

Rheumatoid Disease is an autoimmune disease and therefore can affect the entire body including skin, organs and eyes. It is not just a joint problem. It is less like arthritis and more similar to lupus. It was thrown into the arthritis camp early on due to the severe joint deformity at the tail end of the disease progression. That is why there is a push to drop the arthritis description and simply refer to the disease as Rheumatoid Disease.

Medication for this disease is a real pain (pun intended). Each patient goes through lots of trial and error with the best result being a slow down of disease progression. It really is just a moving target that you constantly have to adjust your meds to address. There is no cure. I recently had to drop a medication due to side effects. I do however continue to take Methotrexate which is a chemotherapy drug. This is one of the first line medications most RD patients receive. I also take a few other medications to help deal with daily symptoms.
Diet and exercise helps me tremendously but I'm one of the lucky ones. You should have seen my Aunts' hands and feet. She was not one of the lucky ones.

So there is my part in bringing awareness to this disease. Hope it was slightly informative and in no way was meant to elicit sympathy. I work to crush this disease everyday and hope that by doing so, others will find their own way to do the same.

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