by Julie Fontaine
(Whidbey Island WA)

I was diagnosed about 8 years. It all happened so fast. I was struck by extreme wrist pain and ankle pain along with fatigue I couldn't describe--I remember going from an physically active healthy state to someone who had to nap and when I woke up after a full night sleep I would feel as if I hadn't slept at all. I still feel this way, but the difference is that I've learned to cope. I get flare ups and I do take care of myself and let myself rest more but I NEVER GIVE IN to it. Meaning i still work out but when I have a flare up I might cut down the time a bit and try and sneak a nap when possible.

When I first had issues, I coudn't just push myself. I didn't know how to push myself. It took years to find the right combination of rest and exercise. And don't get me wrong... I tried everything from protein shakes and health food mushrooms and colidal siver to oxycontin and vicodin. But the first was just really expensive and the latter caused addiction.
For me the best remedy is to keep the stress low, exercise regularly, and rest when needed. I also take antidepressants and antiinflammatories. Of course I know as well as anyone that this is all easier said than done.
I work full time as a case manager for the state and it's sad to see so many young adults with autoimmune disorders who give into the pain and fatigue and this becomes a continuous disability in their lives.
Today is a bad day for me. My wrists feel like their burning and being cut by a knife at the same time. I was so fatigued today I fell asleep in my cubicle at work. I still worked out, but only 35 min instead of 45. I ALWAYS TRY.
I wish all of you good luck if your new to this pain and I wish I could say it will get better for you. If your like me, this will be on going. You'll have anemia and vomit at least once a week. But I promise you that if you push yourself and get up in the morning with purpose everyday, you feel better. The days I've given in and slept in or did nothing have been the worst for me.
I would be happy to try and inspire someone out there if needed. Please let me know if this is possible.

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Oct 25, 2009
Beggining of arthritis
by: Manisha

Dear Susan,

Good to read all the information.I just turned 40. I have been having pains in my joints esp knuckles and knees for last 4 months now. I am quite active otherwise, regular pilates and yoga classes, regular walks, but now because of these pains life has become very slow. If I sit down it's difficult to get up. Picking up the grocery bags has become so difficult. Squatting is complete no no.

Doctor has mentioned that I have early symptoms of arthritis.The medicine I am taking is Bromelain-POS, I wonder if you know this.

Basically, if you could help me finding out how and where I should start from. Good diet which you think really helped you?

I will be greatful if you could send me some information as you would understand it more since you have been through it.


Aug 20, 2009
Regarding pushing through the pain
by: Susan Dorey

Hi Julie, I respect your strength of character, however I disagree as I don't believe that we should JUST push through the pain and continue on, although I think it's excellent that you have remained active and respect your need for rest.

This disease is serious and must be respected or we will suffer damage that can not be repaired leaving us unable to function.

I believe RA is simply a signal from our body telling us we must correct what is wrong. When we do this we can get our immune system working again and the suffering can end.

It is for this reason that I developed this website.

We must remember, RA is not a joint disease, it is an auto immune disorder that shows itself with pain in the joints and exhaustion as two of the symptoms.

It is not always easy to discover what is triggering the RA, but, with work it can be done and I hope I've outlined many techniques that will help with this.

I understand your exhaustion as I suffered the same for many years.

Having made the changes in my life this is a thing of the past, as is the inflammation and the suffering.

I guess it's fair to say that the years I spent testing things has paid off for me as I now live a normal, active life again and I don't have to push through the pain, it's gone.


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