A Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

I don’t feel any worse today than I did yesterday. I’m no sicker, and my immune system’s no weaker. I’m just sadder, and more worried.

In the past months my tennis has dropped from four times a week to one. My hand aches nearly constantly, and I can no longer open a jar. I’ve been to my doctor, to the hand specialist and, now, to the rheumatologist. It looks like rheumatoid arthritis. Apparently three of seven markers are needed to make a diagnosis, and I have four of them, with three tests still waiting to be done.

I am devastated. I hate the thought of a lifetime of medication, I am terrified by the notion of gnarled digits, and I am sad at the prospect that this might get worse.

I know I’m no worse off now than I was when I got out of bed this morning, but I feel different. Worried, anxious, sad, scared, and a tiny bit hopeful too, because now that we’ve named it, maybe we can get about the business of fixing it.

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  1. Must agree with @coffeejitters. Diagnosis is the first step to dealing with disease. I’ve always admired (via your blog) the forthright and clear-headed way you tackle the challenges in your life; you will need every ounce of that now. So in addition to the meds, you can always scare the s**t of this condition out of your body! Like many of your followers, we’ll be virtually supporting you every step of the way.

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  3. Know that you have many people pulling for you and hoping that now that you have a “name” for what’s been going on, that you are able to treat/manage it. Hugs.

  4. So sorry to hear about this Jessica. I’m supporting you and thinking about you from thousands of miles away!!! I believe very strongly that food is our true medicine and I came across this page and thought I would send it to you – http://www.ageless.co.za/free_rheumatoid_arthrists_diet.htm. I suffer with Endometriosis and I can’t tell you how much changing my diet has helped. Diagnosis is definitely step number one, step number two is attitude. So be positive and believe that you can either control this and even alleviate it. Hugs xo

  5. Jessica,
    I am sorry about your diagnosis. I know that with your faith and tenacity you can face anything though. Thoughts and prayers for you today.

  6. I’m sorry to hear-RA can be a life impacting diagnosis. Your diagnosis does, however now give you a path, so there is good hope of relief. I have many patients with rheumatoid arthritis and who have great quality of life. Treatments now are really effective, so I encourage you to be optimistic. I too have a lot of personal arthritis ‘misadventure’, which has yet to get its diagnosis. I’ve worked hard to ferret out my triggers and they are dietary. I have a lot of my story in the natural health section on my blog. I try not to sound too wacky since in my day job I’m a regular physician, but this diet stuff can be big.
    I’m wishing you a speedy trip to relief and a treatment plan you feel good about.
    Cynthia Bailey MD

  7. My mother in law has RA. Some days are good and some are bad. But she has more good than bad. Obviously not everyone has the same experience, but today can be the first step in figuring out a way to control RA and not the reverse.

  8. I know you, and I’ve read about arthritis. The arthritis should be the one having the bad day, because now that you’ve zeroed in on it you’re going to kick its fucking ass.

    You are too strong willed to let it get you down for too long.

  9. I was diagnosed with RA a year after having my son. (ripe old age of 31) So far my best (?) coping mechanism is to ignore the heck out of the wondering about the future. It’s manageable, and like someone said, some days are definitely worse than others, but with a great team behind you, you will be ok.

  10. I was a medical mystery for about ten years. Sometimes, while a diagnosis can be scary as hell, it can also be the best thing ever. Like Mandy said, you get the right team to work with and you can start managing the condition and taking back your life. Getting my diagnosis was the greatest relief in the world. Finally, it was the end of the appointments with every specialist under the sun. It was time to get to work fixing me. And that’s just what I needed.

  11. ((HUGS)) I’ve known a few with it…..there will be hard times but I have faith that you’ll stay strong through those days. Try not to worry about it..just do what you can and take it day by day.

  12. I am so sorry. I’ve been going through medical problems for a year now. Some days I don’t even want to get out of bed. Other days I saw screw it, this is my life and I’m not letting this shit ruin it.

  13. Aww.. can’t associate the two of you (RA & yourself) in my mind.. sending of loads of hope and magical wishes :) I am keeping my fingers crossed for you..

  14. The nightshade family of foods aggravate arthritis so avoid tomatoes, potatoes, peppers (pimento OK) and eggplant. Some of these in combination are worse than solo. I ate some soup once that had all 4 in it and I couldn’t close my hand for a couple of days. One by itself doesn’t seem to bother me however. Try cutting those foods out and then add them back one at a time to see if it makes you arthritis worse. If so, avoid them.

  15. OMG jessica… this is awful. i’m so sorry. i’m sure there’s got to be some sort of relief with at least having a diagnosis because now you can go about creating a plan to work towards taking care of yourself and what-not, but shit yeah… my “favorite mommy blogger…” ::sniff:: i’ll be gentle.

    (though i know this won’t slow you down… much. xoxo!)

  16. Hugs to you.

    My aunt was diagnosed in her 60s with RA. My friend was in her 20s. My advice to you? Keep the hope, utilize the specialists at your disposal, ask questions, read all you can about it, and just… BE YOU!

    Can’t wait to drink gallons of Tito’s with you in October!

  17. Hi Jessica

    So sorry to hear the news but as always we need to keep our heads up and know that life could be worse.

    I was diagnosed with JRA when I was 2 years old. It’s isolated to my right knee. The good news for me is that it comes and goes in huge intervals. I came out of remission three times in the last 25 years and it was only for a short time about 12 – 18 months.

    The damage has been done to my knee though, I’ll probably never play pro ball. :)

    Anyways this is a really rough time especially since you feel alone and scared but it’ll get better. Anytime you want to chat about it @ me :) @professor

  18. Hang in there Jessica! You are one tough gal and this will not slow you down or keep you from being you. It doesn’t define you. Don’t allow it to! (HUGS)

  19. Sorry jess, i hope you find some answers that help you. My (step)mom has really bad arthritis and has had many many surgeries on her hands. So far nothing has really helped.

    :-(

    Trisha

  20. I am so sorry Jessica! This is a major change in how you think about your self and your life. But I’ve found that it’s kind of a relief to have all the questions answered and all the info out in the open so you can deal with it. You will be in my thoughts.

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  22. Hey Jessica, I just saw this. I am really sorry to hear that you are going through this. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. If I pass the bar come November, I could sue someone in MA for you, if that helps.

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