When I read your story it was like going back in time. I was diagnosed with RA at 17....I was in my senior year of high school. No one knew what was going on, all i knew was I would rather walk to the other side of the school and take the back stairs than try to make it up and down the main stairs in front of everyone. My mom took me to different doctors and I always came up negative for RA, lupus. They just thought I was faking, what they didn't understand is I hid the pain for years before it became too bad that i couldn't anymore....but I was hiding it from myself too...always had a high pain tolerance. Sometimes I wouldn't even realize I was in pain...it was my life from about 13. Then the final straw came when I got off the bus one afternoon and could not walk to the house....Thankfully my mom called University of Alabama Birmingham and got me an appointment the next day with a rheumatologist.......They told me in 5 minutes i had RA....it didn't matter if the Rheumatoid factor was negative.....I had RA. Now it was a relief to know what was wrong....but I didn't realize the journey ahead of me.
Okay, took a long way to get to my point but....no you are not too young for RA. Very few people that you encounter will understand what you are going through, you will always get..."OH, I have arthritis in my knee, shoulder etc". Over the years I have perfected my "everything's fine face".....On my BAD days I do tend to hide myself away, only because it makes me feel better, a cocoon of sorts. Now there are so many wonderful meds out there for the treatment of RA.....you still have a future, something they told me I wouldn't have when I was diagnosed....I remember my OT telling me I would be in a wheelchair by 30. I am 40 now and still kicking, although somedays not as hard as I use too.