After fighting joint pain, fevers, fatigue, and swelling, a WebMD Community member writes that she has just been diagnosed with RA. She says her hands and wrists hurt, her knees feel locked, and she can't put any weight on her elbows without feeling pain. She's scared and asks what to expect -- from her illness and from the rheumatologist.
Members reassured her that she's not alone and told her what would most likely happen at her doctor visit. She can expect questions about her symptoms -- what they are, when they started, how long they last, and what makes them better or worse. The rheumatologist will look at her joints for swelling, redness, and tenderness. She'll have blood work, possibly X-rays, and will talk about medications.
In the spring of 2006, Dora Burke finished her first triathlon with competitive results. When her ankle started hurting soon afterward, she chalked it up to the tough race. But in little over a month, this normally healthy, active mom in her 30s could barely move. Without warning, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had rapidly and fiercely attacked nearly every joint in her body.
"The pain went from one body part, to four body parts," Burke says. "Then pretty immediately it went to the point where I couldn't...