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Frances’ Fight Like a Girl Story (Rheumatoid Arthritis)

Frances's Story (RA) My story begins like many others. In July of 2008, I dislocated and broke my ankle. Needless to say, I was put on medical leave as I was working in a plastic molding company which included twelve hour shifts of walking around on a cement floor. After my so-called recovery from the break lingered on, I was “dismissed” from my job. Because (unbeknownst to me) my recovery WOULDN’T happen!! I had no clue on that fateful day in July that my life would be forever changed by a dreaded auto-immune disease, and that this nightmare was only beginning.

I was never one to go to the doctor much. But finally in 2011 after almost three years of nonstop pain, swelling of joints, fatigue, and over all discomfort, and at the encouragement of my husband, I went to my regular doctor. She proceeded to tell me “I’m going to run some simple tests and we will see what comes up”. I was then scheduled for an appointment the next month. To my surprise, she called me the following week saying I had to come in earlier.

When I went back in that week my normally jovial and fun doctor entered the exam room with a puzzled and worrisome look on her face. She told me “I have good news and bad news”. Me being my normal self said let’s hear the bad first, figuring it couldn’t be that bad. She then said “I’ve scheduled you an appointment with a rheumatologist”. I had NO clue what or who this doctor was. So I begin to tear up. She then told me those dreaded words “You tested positive for rheumatoid arthritis”. Thinking okay, it’s just arthritis, my nerves settled. Boy, was I in for a surprise as to all the changes coming in my life.

Being a mom to six wonderful kids and a wife, I had NO idea how this disease would literally overtake not only my life; but the lives of my children, step-children, and husband. I’m truly a lucky woman when it comes to those closest to my inner circle.

When I finally was able to see my wonderful rheumatoid specialist, I was very nervous because by this time, I had done my research as to what rheumatoid arthritis was and the effects of it. I was scared to death with thoughts of deformed hands and limited mobility. When I met my doctor, he put those fears aside, and  to this day is keeping me optimistic. Mind you, we haven’t had the greatest trip down this rheumatoid arthritis road, but  it has so far been very informative and he takes my fears and pain into consideration. The first of many tests was the blood test. He ran what’s known as an anti-CCP test, which he says 95% of patients that test positive have RA. Of course, I tested positive.

I have now been fighting this disease for about nine months. The road has been rough as I have been diagnosed with many other things that go with the rheumatoid arthritis; some physical and some mental. And through all the medicines, medicine changes, and daily struggles, I am still fighting. Last month I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, too. After this diagnosis,  my rheumatologist and I had a heated discussion that lasted forty five minutes. He wanting me to take MTX and I did NOT want to. So now we are trying to fight both RA and fibromyalgia. I’m not sure that if the pain hasn’t slacked by my next appointment, he will let me win the methotrexate fight. But, if I do have to go that route, then I will deal like I have with all the other medications.

As of now I am on plaquenil, vitamin D, cymbalta and many others. I am not too worried about the hair loss because I’m already losing hair due to my vitamin D deficiency. It’s all the other side effects that scare me. All I know is I have to keep fighting. I thank God for such great kids and a wonderful husband. They almost have a sixth sense and can tell when mommy has a bad day. I can barely do any housework, cooking, laundry, and all of the simple tasks I took for granted for years. I know I have a long road ahead but, as long as I can, I will FIGHT!! I will post again when I have something new!! Hope everyone is having pain-free days and nights and if they aren’t just remember…… WE HAVE TO FIGHT!

North Carolina
Submitted 5-12-2012

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.


  1. Lois Nippo

    Frances, I have been treating my RA since 2006. When I stated haveing severe pain in my shoulders, I knew something was wrong . My mother had RA and back in her days all she had was aspirin to help with the pain. Her hands and feet were so disfigured but yet she lived a long life (94) putting up with the pain. They didn’t have drugs back then to help with inflammation and the joints.
    I have been taking methotrexate, plaquenil, vitamin D ,and Folic Acid, and am doing great. I still have flare up during cold and wet weather then I take a round of Prednisone to get me thru the pain and bring down the immflammation.
    Hang in there , with all the medical studies now a days , there is still hope for us! Bless your family for sticking by you and helping you thru this! Lois

  2. JoAnn Adams

    Frances, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia first and RA second, a year and a half a part. It is a hard, painful road, but I know we are strong and will take each day as it comes. Be thankful for your family, my fiancee could not handle it and we ended up splitting up over it. He said I wasnt the energetic, hard working person I used to be and he hated seeing me in bed in pain or on pain meds. He became very resentful and mean. It is just me and my 3 boys now and the stress of not hearing how horrible I am for being sick has helped. By no means am I better, but now not having severe migraines from stress on top of it. I stopped Cymbalta, it wasnt working for me any longer, and now am on Effexor and it is much better. I also am on vitamin D, plaquenil and meds for thyroid. Let’s all band together and support each other through these horrible illnesses. God bless! JoAnn

  3. Teresa

    I understand how each of you feelI have had lupus since I was 21 & RA then fibromyaliga it is a constant battle and no one can understand until they have walked in your shoes you guys are blessed to have the support of your family. I lost my husband & best friend in 2005 . In 2009 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and last December I had a heart attack. God is GOOD never give up he has a plan for us all may God bless each of you! I am 55 years old now and I pray that there will be a cure for all these things one day.

  4. lilly

    hi my name is lilly on aug 8,2012 I was diagnosed with R.A I had no clue to what that was.. I found out cuz I went to my dr feelimg sick and he took blood next thing I no he called me the next day to go to the er. I needed a blood transfusion and that’s how I found out I was sick.. im 48 years old the pain is all over my body I cant work nomore I applied for ssa and still waiting for an answer…. but all of us have to keep are faith in god and never give up….

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