Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis-What it Can do to People

I have observed that generally you never take any disease or condition very seriously unless it affects you or someone close to you. The surprising fact is that when you experience the condition, it would look like it has never happened to anyone else before. You would be hearing everything about it for the first time, in spite of your knowledge about the condition.

The simple difference here is that 'you' are experiencing the condition. So it was with me too. I had read about Rheumatoid Arthritis many times before I was actually afflicted with the terrible condition. The irony of this disability is that you neither look ill (except when the muscle spasms distort your face) nor need to be bed-ridden. Of course, when the condition progresses, deformity occurs but that is not very common.

Whether Rheumatoid Arthritis affects you in a small or big way, it does one thing for certain. it makes one lose self-confidence as you cannot say when or where the pain will start or spread. Sometimes it will start as a piercing pain in the knee and after a while, you'll be surprised to find the pain shifted to another joint like the wrist or the shoulder. Very funny, you may think, but for the sufferer, it is an agonizing experience.

Not only the sufferer but the parents, spouse or children of the sufferer are also affected badly by RA. The saddest part is that no physician can tell you how long the condition will stay and you can only find temporary relief from painkillers and topical applications. But all this said, with a determination to overcome the crippling condition, you can certainly find a way out of it.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a state between a disease and a chronic condition. I was shocked when I started developing stiffness and pain in the joints, because, I had been an extremely active person in my life. I was 33 years old then and very healthy. When, one day, I developed a pain in my right knee, I did not take it very seriously, calling it a temporary pain. I thought it would pass off. It did, only to recur after a full six months.

Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis

The recurrence was later attributed by my doctor to the shift in location; I had moved to a colder place from a tropical region. This time, I did not want to take a chance. I saw a Rheumatologist who assessed my condition and diagnosed it as Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I underwent blood tests and x-rays. The blood test determined the Rheumatoid Factor or RF (high levels of RF are indicative of the condition). I learned a lot of facts both from my doctor and other external sources like books. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory condition which affects the joints and the connective tissues. It is characterized by morning stiffness, swelling of the joints, intense pain in any or all the joints, etc.

Caught Unawares

The irony of this condition in my case was that even friends found it difficult to believe that I was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), the reason being that I used to look quite healthy and normal. All of a sudden, my facial expression would change when the pain occurred and I would start limping, my knee giving way without a warning.

Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

For a few days, I felt depressed mainly because I could not accept experiencing something as limiting as RA. But I knew that the condition could be managed and brought under control. Soon, my treatment began. Other than the topical treatments like hot wax, and traction and physiotherapy, the main treatment consisted of 'gold salt injections' twice a week.

New and Expensive Medication

Now, to talk about the interesting part, 'gold salt' (chemical name- sodium auro thiosulphate) is used to reduce the inflammation and contain the progression of RA. "Aurotherapy" as this treatment is called was quite effective and I felt relief from pain. I was administered 20 gold salt injections and when my Rheumatologist saw the improvement, he advised another course of the same medicine.

My Regular Clinic Visits

These were a pain not in the literal sense but it was heartrending to see small children with this disability. When I saw a 14-year-old high school kid suffering from a very serious form of RA, his fingers twisted and turned, my heart went out to him. And then there was this 20-year-old, pretty girl whose knee was full of fluid that had to be pumped out regularly. I changed my mind about being a chronic RA patient ( I used to cycle down to the clinic as per the doctor's advice!!). I wasn't when compared to several other cases.

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After effects of 'gold salt"

I had been skeptical about this 'new' medicine from the beginning, but when I saw positive results, I did not see any reason to refuse it. All the same, a doubt about the effects of the medicine on my body, in the long run, made me question the doctor.

I was in for a shock when I was told that research was still on to find out the long-term effects of the gold salt in humans, but it was giving positive results in all the patients to whom it was administered. The medicine was quite new in India in the 1990s, so there was no certainty about its good or bad effects in the long term.

I refused further treatment, said goodbye to my doctor, and started looking for alternatives to improve my condition. The big task was to cleanse my system off the gold salt which I had taken for 10 weeks.

Miraculous Therapy

About the same time, a friend told me about 'water therapy' that was being successfully put to use by RA patients. Water being an essential part of our life, I decided to give it a try, knowing pretty well that it was not going to harm my system in any way.

I read about the therapy and the procedure that has to be followed in order to reduce arthritic inflammation. I was not able to believe it when I saw astonishing results after a month and a half. I was able to do all the work normally as I used to before I was affected by RA.

Back to Being Normal

My joy knew no bounds when I was able to become a normal person without a pain here and a pull there. I went through a pregnancy after this, much to the surprise of everyone I knew (as people suffering from this condition or have had this condition are advised against pregnancy) and had a healthy baby born. It is said that pregnancy and lactation thereafter make the condition latent only to flare up once you stop lactating.

A Second Attack

Four years after my daughter's birth, the ugly head of RA appeared once again in my life, this time mainly due to the stressful circumstances I was in. Unfortunately, I was not able to practice water therapy this time for many reasons that I can't explain. Unable to balance my day job and family, I quit my job and became a stay at home mom.

Now, I was not prepared to be given gold salt injections or any other medicine, instead, I decided to go in for the Indian traditional medicine, the Ayurveda. I was given treatment which proved to be effective. The good thing about Ayurveda is that it does not have any side effects.

The Art of Living Course

It was about this time that I heard about Art of Living, a Non-Governmental Organization(NGO) that was helping people with stress related problems overcome stress by teaching them simple breathing techniques and meditation. I attended a course that lasted about 25 hours over a week's period.

This time again, I was in for a pleasant surprise. After the course, I felt that I was able to face the world with confidence. I think it is because of my change in perception of the world around me that I felt everything that was happening to me was good. I had become more positive in my outlook ; I found a great opportunity to work as a freelance copywriter and soon created a niche for myself. When my health improved , naturally the other aspects of my life also became better.

Happy Ending

I am a very happy person now, having learned a lot from the Art of Living about the art of living. I have learned one thing for sure from all my experiences in life. The world never changes, but only your perception of the world around you changes, so everything looks better and rosier than ever before.

Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis

I have also learned to 'live' with Rheumatoid Arthritis because I pretty well know that it is a condition that can never be cured but only 'managed'. With a proper diet, good sleep and yoga, I have sort of learned to manage the condition well. I am not complaining these days, instead am able to cope with the pain which sometimes occurs as a result of too much work.

'Smile, and the world smiles with you' is another thing I have learned. Be happy, do not stress yourself with unnecessary worries, instead, try to overcome stress with meditation and wonderful courses like the Art of Living. Eat well and sleep well, for they are the most valued treasures for a healthy body and healthy living.

Enjoy life to its fullest!!!

Comments 35 comments

Aiden Roberts profile image

Aiden Roberts 6 years ago from United Kingdom

Very interesting hub.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 6 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Thanks Aiden for stopping by.


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

Great hub and so inpirational for me because I was just diagnosed last year. I have a background in psychology and I know this disease to be related to stress and thoughts. I am starting water therapy soon so I hope it helps. I have refused most medications and am looking for alternative ways of dealing- thanks so much for a great hub here!!


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

I appreciate all the advice- I am taking in information about it as much as I can. I will check out the additional info you provided. I may be back to ask you more questions- thank you.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 6 years ago from Chennai, India Author

You are most welcome izettl. Glad to help.

Warm Regards,

Rema.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Remaniki, Very interesting and informative Hub! Thank you for sharing I pray that the Lord touches you in a way that only He can! May you improve more and more each day! Yes "Do not stress yourself with unecessary worries...!" In HIS Love, Peace, Joy & Blessings!


remaniki profile image

remaniki 6 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Thank you very much DeBorrah for the kind words. With a little medication and lot of meditation I have ultimately found relief. Thanks again.

Regards

Rema.


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

A very inspiring story Rema! I remember I had brought from London this gold salt medicine almost 30 years back for a cousin of mine. It did not work for him. It looks like methods you adopted has strengthened you in all aspects of life not just this disease. Quite admirable indeed. Wish you all the good luck.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 5 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Thank you Soumya for stopping by and leaving a comment. Yes, you are right, all the experiences in our life do strengthen us. Thanks again.

Regards

Rema.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Great hub, and while I don't have arthritis, my mother does and I know many others that do as well. Thanks for sharing.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 5 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Hi oceansnsunsets,

Glad you like my hub. Thanks for stopping by.

Regards

Rema


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

I think this is a very interesting hub as I have lupus and osteoarthritis, plus I am a nurse my trade. It is wonderful that you have found some answers to your disese and live a good life. Great hub.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 5 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Thank you very much Pamela for the feedback. Yes, it is indeed a wonder that I am in total control of my arthritis now. I am very happy now because I have a great work-from-home job. May be (and I believe it is)part of the reason for my good health. For Rheumatoid arthritis, you need to be free from stress and you're almost out of it.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

I am also a patient of Arthritis and can understand the pain you went through...I am a follower of AOL and yes, breathing well does give good vibes to the body to fight stress (if any)and make it swelling/pain free.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 5 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Thanks Ruchira for stopping by and leaving a comment. Glad to have found an AOL member on Hubpages.

Cheers, Rema.


superbob17 profile image

superbob17 5 years ago

Very good Hub.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 5 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Thank you superbob17 for stopping by.

Cheers

Rema


dany 5 years ago

Hi Rema. I'm from a remote village of India. I humbly request you to extend this thread by explaining about water theraphy or send me the details about the same to my e-mail dhaneesh.since1989@gmail.com


remaniki profile image

remaniki 4 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Hi dany,

Nice to see a person from a remote village in India on the web. I am glad you are connected with the outside world through the web as it will give you access to a lot of information. As for the details about water therapy, I have plans of publishing an e-book on this subject very soon. I'll let you know the details of this so that you get to know more about this wonderful therapy and use it to help people find cure for many commonly found ailments including rheumatoid arthritis. Thanks for visiting my hub and posting a comment.

Cheers

Rema


r jayanthi profile image

r jayanthi 4 years ago from india

Thanks rema, its a great hub I can understand your pain as my mother suffers from this.She says that it erupts anywhere and everywhere in the body.It is great to see how well you have managed it. Please let us know about your water therepay e book .Mom is a person who refuses to take painkillers . You could try pranic healing along with AOL


remaniki profile image

remaniki 4 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Hi jayanthi,

Thanks for the nice comment and welcome to HubPages. Nice to know you. Arthritis pain is something people are scared about as it attacks them without warning and prevents them from being able to plan things.

I have gone through this painful experience for seventeen years and I understand when my family and friends suffer from pain. I always wish that even the worst of my enemies should not suffer from this condition.

Hope your mother is able to manage her pain well. There is no other way but manage it. Anyway, thanks very much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Cheers

Rema


r jayanthi profile image

r jayanthi 4 years ago from india

hi rema, mother is quite better now thanks. She went to a doctor for reumotoid arthritis, was prescribed lot of painkillers and one medicine (which is usually given to cancer patients). Six months later her hemoglobin count came down, she lost appetite,and interest in life as well.She decided to stop the medicines.

Now she is managing it with help of homeopathy medicine given by a senior Pranic healer .

thanks for the wishes

jayanthi:)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Rema, what remarkable journey! I applaud your keeping abreast of your illness and knowing how to live through it with a positive attitude. I have family who suffers from RA and it has affected us all in watching the progress. However, as you stated, today there are a lot of great methods in which to help someone cope with RA and remedies that make life enjoyable once more. You have much talent in writing and great style in telling your story. Voted way up!


remaniki profile image

remaniki 4 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Hi teaches,

How nice of you to visit my hub and post a nice comment! I am glad you did. Thank you very much. Yes, I have had a very difficult journey but today I am a very happy person and I don't complain because I know how to manage my arthritic pains. Of course, sometimes things do go beyond control but that is very rare. This is a rude reminder that RA is a condition that sticks with you for life but it is the strength in us to effectively combat it that wins ultimately. Thanks again. Cheers, Rema.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I am glad that you were able to find a treatment method that works for you, and great that it is one without negative side effects. I have heard many good things about AOL. Voted up.


remaniki profile image

remaniki 4 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Hi Shasta,

Thank you very much for visiting and commenting. Yes, the meditation I learned through AOL gave me a lot of strength to fight this nasty disease. Water has also played a very important role in helping me manage it. Thanks again. Cheers, Rema.


midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

Thanks for sharing this, Rema. A great write, and I m so glad the condition is under control for you!I will forward this to my grandma, who has this too. Thanks for sharing, and I share too!


remaniki profile image

remaniki 4 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Very nice of you Michelle to come by and comment. I hope your grandma gets some relief from her arthritis. I find walking early in the morning very useful now for my arthritis as it relieves the morning stiffness and helps me be active throughout the day.

Thanks for the share too. Cheers, Rema.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I have a daughter who is 50 who has RA, and is in pain a lot of the time. I didn't understand what the water therapy was that you did that seemed to help??

I voted this Hub UP, etc.


DanaTeresa profile image

DanaTeresa 3 years ago from Ohio

Thank you for sharing this!!! I am 33 and have recently seen a Rheunatologist. She has not made a diagnosis. It is not RA but could be Fibromyalgia and Sjogren's syndrome, possibly Lupis... I am so encouraged by this article. The treatments I am looking at are very similar. I want to focus on diet and exercise. You have renewed my commitment to that.....

So great of you to share your experience.


lovedoctor926 3 years ago

Useful and informative hub. You developed this condition fairly young. My mother has been suffering from this painful and deliberating condition for several years now. The worse part of this illness is that your joints start to cripple, which is what happened to my mother when she was in her 50s. It's good to know about the water treatment. Keeping active like you mentioned is another option as well as a good diet. I've read that cherries and beet juice are good anti-inflammatory agents for arthritis.. Voted up!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

Well-written, informative and encouraging hub about Rheumatoid Arthritis. Thank you, ramaniki!


remaniki profile image

remaniki 3 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Hi Dana,

I am very sorry about the delay in responding. I have not been on HP for a long time now. Your choice of treatment to your problem is excellent. We make mistakes only in this choice and suffer later. I am working on an eBook on water therapy as a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, asthma and several other illnesses. Thanks very much for your comment here. Cheers, Rema


remaniki profile image

remaniki 3 years ago from Chennai, India Author

Please accept my apologies for the delayed reply Marlene. I take a lot of beet almost raw as it is my favorite vegetable, of course not as juice. I will try taking cherries too. Thanks. This condition aggravates with stress and I used to always be stressed that could have been one of the reasons for my arthritis. Yoga helped me de-stress and of course being on the move without too much of strain or too much rest. Thanks very much for the comment here. Cheers :)


remaniki profile image

remaniki 3 years ago from Chennai, India Author

I am very sorry for replying so late Martie. Please bear with me. I am back on HP after a few months. Thank you very much for visiting and commenting. Cheers :)

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