For the first time in my life I am scared. I have had many health issues throughout my life, this crap is far from new to me. I spent more of my childhood in hospital than out of it, I have been told things that a normal person would fear, but I never have.
I grew up knowing that not all was right with my body, avoiding infections and fighting them became normal and if I got sick, I knew the routine. In routine lies safety and some control, you can spot when infection is coming, or you can feel a cold coming on so you act accordingly and most of the time you just go through the normal. Antibiotics, Prednisolone, few extra pills thrown in for good measure, grab lap top and work from bed for a while.
Over the last ten or so years, joint pain has been a part of life. Knees hurt but I just walked through it. Having been on Prednisolone for most of my life I knew that joint problems were part of the problems it causes, most people get osteoporosis so have to be a bit careful but all this I was aware of and accepted. However the last few years the pain has been coming more and more frequently to levels that prevented me from doing things, sometimes even small things like going to the grocery store. The pain was becoming horrific and I knew that if I took pain killers while I was working, I wouldn't be able to concentrate enough to work so I didn't. Growing up around people with health problems I am all too aware of the dangers of getting into the routine of 'being ill' and because of that I choose to keep busy and bury my head in work as much as I could.
I had pretty much stopped paintballing 2-3 years ago because of my joints, I never really admitted that to anyone and just made excuses about work but I guess this is me coming out and letting you guys know I wasn't just lying to you, I was lying to myself.
When the ATF raided us to search for explosives or whatever they were supposed to be doing, I was removed from the house and sat outside in near freezing weather for about 5 hours. I explained to them that it hurt my joints but I guess for their safety I wasn't allowed inside. I wasn't under arrest and I was free to go, but being home alone and unable to drive along the fact they had taken my phones and cut my land line prevented me from being anywhere else. Needless to say a few hours in I was in agony, and while they were very polite people that action left me in incredible pain and a half crippled state for almost a week after. This was my wake up call, this joint pain was NOT normal, not even for osteoporosis and I had to do something about it.
Now, I had spoken to Drs in the past but typically the reaction was the same 'Oh sweetie you have been on so many steroids what do you expect, it's probably just osteoporosis, you are lucky you are not in a wheelchair'. Not once was help or support offered, they just throw pain meds at you and walk you out the door. This time I was prepared, luckily for me my new Dr actually examined my legs and saw that something wasn't quite right. After enough blood to feed a small vampire family for a month or two was taken the tests came back within 5 days. Having always had immune issues the Dr figured it was probably Lupus (This had been suspected from previous Drs always, but through fear I didn't want to know, so never got tested) and after having read up on Lupus I had kind of got my brain to accept it, the treatment looked rough but I had done 'rough' before and it seemed like it wouldn't totally change my day to day life, so in a way I was ok with that, I just wanted answers.
5 days later the test results were back, Lupus was negative, I laughed and sighed as she tapped me on my arm. 'Kitty you have advanced Rheumatoid Arthritis and we need to get you to a specialist ASAP', I said ok and left. Surely only old people get RA right? Nope...... apparently not, I am only 31. I know what RA is and I know what it does and honestly I am scared, really damn scared.