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[IPk] RE: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sorry to have been a bit quiet for the last few weeks but 2
weeks ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis or at
least I think I was as My GP (more of a friend than a GP) was
unable to look me in the eye and seemed to be more in denial
than me!  I did send an e-mail a few weeks back asking if
anyone had suffered with swollen joints.  I do a lot of
running (6 to 10 miles at a time!) so sore feet and knees are
a fairly regular occurrence however when it spread to stiff
fingers and elbows then it became clear that I had a problem.
My sister was diagnosed with RA 8 yrs ago (she is 35) and as
it is an auto-immune problem like type 1 diabetes it seemed
to be the logical explanation.  My GP arranged some tests but
told me that in his opinion it was extremely unlikely as it
is not a hereditary condition.  The tests came back and he
called me back to explain that the test results were all
normal except the rheumatoid factor which was "raised".  I
asked him what raised meant - were we talking the high side
of normal or higher?  He told me that normal is 20 or less
and mine was 300!  I took this to be a positive diagnosis.
Since then I have required some powerful anti-inflammatory
drugs(maximum dose and still stiff) and am waiting to see a
specialist (6 weeks even with BUPA).  Anyway running still
helps.  It loosens me up and it is now probably the only time
that I feel normal.  I am hoping to run my first (and maybe
only)half marathon at the end of September - depending on
what the specialist says (actually that's a lie I will do it
unless it is physically impossible regardless of what he

I don't really know why I am writing this except it is
cathartic!  I have told very few people, certainly no-one at
work!  I have been selected as one of the top 25 performers
in the UK and will go to the Netherlands in September for a
weeks leadership training course.  They no longer even think
of me as diabetic, don't even notice the pump.  I am
certainly not going to tell them I now have 2 chronic
conditions unless I have to.  Anyway if anyone else out there
has diabetes and RA I would be interested to hear from you.
I have been told by my GP that some of the treatments (the
more toxic, immuno-suppressants) may not be open to a
diabetic, but as someone told me last week that diabetics
couldn't have their legs waxed I will take that with a pinch
of salt until the specialist tells me otherwise! I don't want
to look on arthritis sites for diabetics as at the moment I
regard myself as a diabetic with RA rather than the other way
round.  This is an important psychological distinction I
think - or perhaps a clear sign of denial!

My sister has now been told that her RA is probably Lupus,
which is similar but the inflammation now affects not only
her joints but her blood vessels also (there is a risk that
major organs may become affected).  Her blood vessels are
leaking giving her very painful chilblain-like symptoms on
both her hands and feet.  I hope my GP is right about no
genetic link otherwise my blood vessels are going to be under
attack from 2 conditions.

Anyway if anyone has any advice I would be pleased to hear of
it.  If anyone knows of anyone running marathons with RA I
would be overjoyed to hear about it.  At least when you look
on a diabetes website there are plenty of diabetic sports
people.  I cannot find any on the arthritis sites.  Exercise
is encouraged but in moderation - swimming is best but its
not me I afraid.  I am the fittest, thinnest and healthiest I
have ever been (thanks to the pump).  I run 3 times a week
usually for an hour each time.  I have lost over a stone in
weight and I have a lot of energy.  I intend to stay this way
but maybe I'll need that Canadian surgeon for my knees that
Alan Shearer used - Anyone know his name?!.


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