Advice please from RA patients

Posted , 15 users are following.

Hi there, I had my RA confirmed just last week. At the same appointment I was given a steroid injection to help ease my current debilitating symptoms. Three days later and I find my symptoms have improved but not completely disappeared, yet. I was given information leaflets on Sulphasalazine and Methotrexate. When I return in 3 weeks I will be started on which ever one I decide on.

I have been off work now for 7 weeks and am due to return next week. However, I find although I am desperate to get back to work and normality, I am worried that my symptoms will return and I would then have to go off on sick again which would count as another sick episode, something which HR don't take kindly to.

I am a nurse and work 12 and a half hour night shifts. Prior to this period of sick leave I was finding that half way through the shift my hands became inflamed and sore. .....this would lead to poor sleep the next day and then struggling (badly ) through the next nights shift. Got to the point I had to go off sick and now understand I have been having a bad flare. My bloods showed RF and CCP positive.

My question is, will the steroid injection keep me symptom free till I get started on the meds?

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you for listening!

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  • Posted

    The steroid injection will only work for so long to help with your discomfort now.my first one lasted a month.

    It also takes about 12 weeks for the DMARDS to kick in.

    There is no easy fix I'm afraid

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    • Posted

      Thank you France for replying .........I think I was hoping for a quick fix! After some extensive reading this morning I realise that's not going to be the case 👎

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  • Posted

    It depends - pred injections last different times for different people.

    Are you in the UK? RA comes under disability discrimination law so I suggest you talk to Occy Health who will help you with advice and making reasonable adjustments if you return to work in the meantime. Perhaps a staged return would help - and if it doesn't work then you shouldn't get accused of having a second sick episode. And get the union onside.

    As Frances says, it isn't even possible to say the DMARD you choose will work quickly - methotrexate can take up to 6 months for example. And some people don't respond as well as others. Maybe they will give you oral steroids to cover the interim.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the advice Eileen, much appreciated. Phased return to work and reasonable adjustments aren't really possible in the busy ward I work in.......that's why I'm nervous of going back. I feel that I may be just coming out of this particular aggressive flair i've been experiencing for 3 and half months now! I do feel an improvement since the Kenalog injection , but I'm terrified of the extreme pain returning.

      I think I'll phone my boss in the morning to see what she suggests. I'm only just beginning to realise that until I get things under control with the meds, there may well be further periods of sick leave 😓

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    • Posted

      I appreciate the length of shifts can possibly not be altered - but maybe the gap between each shift can. If you aren't well enough to work you will be no use to them or to yourself - and the NHS is hard work and it is hard to adjust. Know all about that - worked there, was married to it and both daughters and sons in law work there!

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    • Posted

      Hi I'm so glad to read you are on predisone to help. I was diagnosed with RA two years ago and my doctors are allowing me to just work with predisone between 7-10mg and it allows me to keep my RA under control, though I'm scared it's not stopping the RA progressing and so many people say that steroids are not good long term . The big but is they suit me and I can work and live life and be mostly pain free.

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    • Posted

      Did you mean your response for me? I don't have RA - and mercifully PMR doesn't damage joints so the DMARD bit isn't as important. What we do have is numerous rheumies desperate for us to take methotrexate as a "steroid sparer" - even though the evidence is very mixed and far from convincing.

      They are terrified of pred - but if a low dose works and gives us our life back when nothing else does, I don't understand their arguments. They are all horrible drugs!

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    • Posted

      Your right Eileen about the NHS being hard work. .......that's exactly why I'm worried about going back. I hadn't thought about asking for split shifts......I will ask about that tomorrow when I speak to the boss, I think that would defo be better than working 3 shifts in a row !

      Thank you!

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    • Posted

      Giant cell arteritis - a vasculitis which is (at least) closely related to polymyalgia rheumatica (if not the same thing, just different degrees). She was first told it was PMR but the dx was changed to ankylosing spondylits, an inflammatory arthritis affecting mainly the spine which can in the earlier stages appear very like PMR. The effect overall can be very like RA  - I thought maybe she might have some suggestions that would help since you both work in orthopaedics and she has carried on working most of the time despite the problems.
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  • Posted

    I was diagonised in mar 16. Doc put me on Methrotrexate right away . For six months I still feel pain until doc increase the dosage and added 5mg of steroid daily . Then everything kicked in. My symptoms improved . Now I'm only on MTX. You can't take steroid for a long term. Stay positive while you are waiting for the meds to kick in.

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