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Rheumatoid Arthitis (RA)

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Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 112

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:24 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Rheumatoid Arthitis (RA) Reply with quote

Hi Doc;

About 4 weeks ago I woke up and both knees were swollen and very stiff..I had my knees drained three times and shot up with steroids and was given all different types of oral steroids and meds and nothing I mean nothing helped...Finally today, I was disgnosed with Rheumatoid Arthitis in both knees and in one of my toes...In the mornings im so stiff and in major pain...With pain medicine the pain lessens but the stiffness never goes away..I can barely walk and some days I need a walker to get around...I go back to the Rheumatologist this Friday to hopefully start getting on meds for RA disease...Basically, I went from competeing in the Expert Division in MTB to being a cripple... My legs have total shrunk and I have no more muscles and they truly look sick...

My questions is: Will i ever be able to compete in MTB racing again or will I ever even be able to ride a bike again...Like I said, right now I can barely walk...Will the meds help me so that I can resume a normal life??? I know this is an auto-immune disease that attacks your joints and basically makes u cripple.. What am I looking at long-term with this disease..Very depressed...Overnite I went from being in shape to being a cripple...Hard to handle especially since Ive been an athlete my whole life..

Any advice will be helpful.... I love riding MTB's and miss it...

Thanks again, David
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The Bike Doc

Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 1396
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:35 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote


Discuss all these questions at length with your Rheumatologist, write them down and take them with you on your next visit. The Rheumatologist will be in a far better position than I to addequately answer your questions.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflamatory disease where the body attacks the cartiledge of the joints. There is a great deal of variablity in the disease from one individual to another. Some individuals can go into a spontaneous remision, others the disease can be brought into varring degrees of symptoms control, and some rare individuals the disease progressively deteriorates. That is why it is critically important to work with a Rheumatologist who is keeps up with the current therapy and recommendations. Exercise is an important part of your therapy. Water exercises that take the load off the joints while allowing resistance to the muscles can be very beneficial to help restore muscle tone and mass as well as improve joint mobility, so discuss this with you doctor.

Read the book "Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by a Patient" by Norman Cousins. In this excellent bood, Cousins describes how he used humor and vitamin C to help him overcome another form of arthritis, anklosising spondilitis. Now I am not endorsing Vitamin C as a cure all. However, the book offers an insight on how Cousins changed his perspective of his crippling illness and used humor and a positive outlook to help bring a turn around in his disease. Read it for the perspective and insight Cousins offers. Talk at length with your Rheumatologist about your therapy options. And, get every Mel Brooks film you can and watch them when you are down to help you keep the funny side up.

Keep me posted on how you are doing.

Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc
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