I Have Arthritis

via Unsplash
via Unsplash

This morning I rolled out of bed, stood up, and immediately stumbled. Excruciating pain shot from my left ankle. Gritting my teeth, I hobbled to the bathroom.

On Thursday, October 15th, I was diagnosed with reactive arthritis. After eight years of pain and searching and tears, I finally got my answer. My rheumatologist thinks that, after a few months on Sulfazine, this disease should be gone completely. Honestly, I’m not getting my hopes up. I’m just happy to have answers.

I got the news right before going away for the weekend with Mike. I did some research on reactive arthritis, but it was kind of confusing because most of the information out there is about reactive arthritis caused by STD. As far as I know, I’ve never had an STD, and still get tested regularly. I love and trust my husband, but you just never know in this world.

This AAFP article on reactive arthritis was pretty interesting:

Reactive arthritis usually occurs following an infection in a genetically susceptible person. Over two thirds of these patients are HLA-B27 positive. Those who are negative frequently are positive for cross-reacting antigens such as B7, B22, B40 and B42.8 A recent study9 found a similarity between some peptides found in gram-negative organisms and peptides that are in the binding site of the B27 molecule.

I am seronegative, which means I don’t have the HLA-B27 and my sed rate is normal. I do occasionally have a borderline double stranded DNA. I’m definitely curious to see if I have B7, B22, B40, or B42.

I’m still learning about this disease. I suspect that the mono I had as a teenager caused my reactive arthritis, because the timing is perfect and I’ve had no other major illnesses. But somehow I think we’ll never know. The important thing is that Sulfazine is helping and I’m able to do things like climb stairs. Small victories, you guys.

I thought that I’d feel better once I got a diagnosis, and I do. I still have pain. I still have bad days and nights. Jury’s still out on whether this will actually go away. If it doesn’t, I think I can be at peace with that. I’ve had eight years to get used to the idea of forever. But I am more at peace knowing that this wasn’t all in my head, that it’s a real illness. Now that I can say, with confidence, that I have arthritis, I feel so much better.

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Elizabeth Barone

Elizabeth Barone is an American novelist who writes contemporary romance and suspense starring strong belles who chose a different path. Her debut novel Sade on the Wall was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She is the author of the South of Forever series and several other books. When not writing, Elizabeth is very busy getting her latest fix of Yankee Candle, spicy Doritos chips, or whatever TV show she’s currently binging. Elizabeth lives in northwestern Connecticut with her husband, a feisty little cat, and too many books.