Multiple Sclerosis Community
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645390 tn?1338558977

Can autoimmune disease be connected??!

Ok, yet a new and VERY upsetting symptom for me.

My middle finger on the right hand has been VERY painful and stiff for about 1 1/2 weeks. Seriously painful. The knuckle area and it is starting to travel down the top of my hand. Also from the knuckle and up towards the finger, is started to turn towards my pinky finger.  I called the new neurologist to see if perhaps the new med I am taking, Lamictal, could be the cause of this.

He thinks I might have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I need a blood test. WHAT? Seriously?? (This was one of the diseases my mom had).

I looked quickly on WebMD, know I shouldn't, but there is was in black and white. Me and my symptoms.

It said RA affects the fingers, toes and Cervical Spine. (I had cervical spine surgery Jan 08 for 2 herniated discs. Surgeon said it was due to I had a congenitally small spine and arthritis).

Also, my toes for the last year, maybe longer, have been turning in wierd directions, Something my brother-in-law noticed. (He is a Podiatrist). They are turning even more at this point.

So, I cried and cried the last 2 days. Hubby sent me flowers yesterday, which the card said, "Through think and think, I love you."  I think he really married a lemon.

So, can this be??? Can MS and RA be related??  I am going to PCP this week for a blood test. I don't even want to know the answer, but my finger is killing me, and I cant even undo my pants with my right hand.

Yet another thing...always something.  Come on already...I am 42, what the heck is happening to me?!

14 Responses
1382889 tn?1505074793
   Wow girl, you have your plate full.  I don't know a thing about RA and it's relation to MS but I feel your frustration and anxiety.

   I can so relate the the lemon comment.  With autoimmune diseases, out bodies are turning on themselfs.  I often think, can I just turn myself in and get a new one?  

   Hopefully someone can help direct you or comfort you better than I can.  Get the blood test though.  It's always better to know than to not know so you know what you are dealing with and fighting against.

1396846 tn?1332463110

I am sorry to hear what you are going through and my thoughts are with you.

I can't be of much help in this matter, but I have heard some people talkling on here that have fibromyalgia with MS and other things that I can't remember.

This is all so confusing for all of us, that is why I am very happy I found this forum, I am learning as I go.

Hang in the kiddo. When do you go for the test? I hope everything works out but if you do have RA just remember that you are strong and sounds like you have a wonderful husband who is willing to stand by your side and support you through everything.

good luck

572651 tn?1531002957
MS doesn't hold a monopoly on our bodies - just because we have one major thing wrong, doesn't mean we can't have other autoimmune issues.  I'm so sorry you are hurting like this ....
I'm ready for you to catch a break.

So glad to hear DH sent flowers - that made me smile.  
hugs, L
Avatar universal
I know how you feel.  I was dx'ed with celiac disease about 3 years ago.  At that point I thought, "Yeah, maybe this is an explanation for all my unexplained neuro sx."   However, over a year after going completely GF, I experienced my worst neuro flare, including the start of the TN and occipital neuralgia.  So I had to face up to the fact that the two were probably not related.

I'm with you on the denial though.  I've recently had problems with both thumbs and two toes along the lines of what you are describing.  I've also had unexplained low grade fevers this year, so I too looked up RA and was distressed by how closely things seem to fit on the joint front.  (But again, this would not explain my neuro issues.)

Dx'ing RA can also be a long process.  My MIL has it terribly bad so I've seen it close up (though her's is a unique case as she's had it since she was 3).  My grandma has it too, as did her mother.  I'm just not willing to embark on another set of doctors until the pain gets unbearable.  Besides, I can't take loads of NSAIDs that they rx for RA because they do terrible things to my stomach.

Funny, when I was dx'ed with celiac, after my initial 2 hour grumpiness over the restricted diet, I actually said, "Of all the autoimmune disorders I could get, this is by far the best, since I can completely treat it with diet alone!"  Seems like my body wasn't happy with just that though...

What to do except laugh at the craziness of all of it and do what we need to do.  You know I understand the pain you've felt recently and you do start to feel like it's just so unfair that you should get one more pain on top of what you already have.

Funny story about that.  Our kids are visiting the grandparents and my husband and I had a weekend alone.  What did we do?  Visit the ER because he accidentally dropped something on my wrist and we were worried it might be broken.  At first I didn't want to go and I ended up crying because I feel like I ruin everything by being hurt or in pain.  (He couldn't really understand this as he was feeling badly about accidentally hurting me.)  I did go and it's not broken, though there does seem to be some irritation (bruising? inflamation?) of the nerve.  But, this thankfully, will heal.  Okay, maybe it's not funny, but I do know the feeling of feeling like your body is a lemon.

I hope it's not RA, but if it is, like MS, every course is different.

Avatar universal
I should clarify: by "not related" I meant I don't think the neuro sx were caused by celiac (some people say that celiac can cause neuro sx) because I was pretty much healed at that point and eating only GF.  I do think there is evidence that having one autoimmune disorder puts you at greater risk of developing another, though.  So they are related in that way.
1253197 tn?1331212710
Back to Limboland again feels very hard and especially when it has now been suggested that you may have RA. Just hang in there and there is nothing I can say that will make this any easier.

Just thinking of you and sending you lots of hugs

Sarah xxxx
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