The Onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms: How Does RA Begin?

pink flower

The story of how my Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms began

Several months ago, I wrote out the story of how Rheumatoid Arthritis began for me. I determined to put down the whole story in case I ever needed to share it. It was punishing for me to write for two reasons:

1) I did not want to relive the story.

2) I forced myself to stick to the facts, refraining from humor, sarcasm, anger, or grief.

As I have stated recently, I am uncomfortable writing about myself. Today, I am publishing my onset story of RA, Onset Upon a Time. So often on the blog, I edit out my own experiences in order to be objective. Now is your chance to see the long version of my own RA symptom story. I hope that I am finished discussing details of my own Rheumatoid Arthritis for a while.

Next week, I have some fun things planned for the blog. Meanwhile, have you ever written down your RA onset story? I am planning to post some here on the blog. So, click here to see how to send me your RA onset story or read more about the purpose of the Onset Story project.

Go straight to Kelly’s onset story

Click here to learn more about how to send in your story.


Recommended posts:

Dr. Dolittle and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Can I Delay Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis? part 2

Palindromic Rheumatism Is Not a Rare Form of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more accurate awareness of Rheumatoid disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the Rheumatoid patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA of about 950 pages and writes periodically for other newsletters and websites. Kelly served on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board. There are over 42,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She has lived over nine years with unrelenting Rheumatoid disease. See also

12 thoughts on “The Onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms: How Does RA Begin?

  • October 23, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Kelly, I could feel the pain in your words. Perhaps because we went through a lot of the same pain, the feet, the dislocated shoulder feeling, etc. Thank you for sharing this.

  • October 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    What a powerful and painful story. Thanks for sharing. May the God of all things give you peace, rest, and more trust in Him.

  • October 23, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing. You have such a powerful story. It is crazy that is took so long for you to get diagnosed. I can definitely relate to the fact that other people do not have a clue as to how much pain you are in. This is a really, really good idea. It lets you know that you are not alone.

  • October 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Kelly, thank you so much for sharing your story. I have longed to hear other RA’ers experiences. We can learn so much from others stories( so could doctors!). I have racked my brain trying to figure out when mine started. After reading your story I think it may have started earlier than I thought. God bless you.

  • February 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, kelly. I know what you mean about not wanting to relive those very difficult times. It causes me strife as well when I have to go back to those times of being sick for a long time especially without a diagnosis. It brings back all the hurt, anxiety, self-doubt, and tears. But by sharing, hopefully we are all helping to prevent someone else from going through similar painful experiences. God bless you and your precious family.

    • February 26, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      Julie, thank you. 😎 I still can hardly believe some of it although I remember it vividly as if it were this morning.

  • January 1, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Surgery in 5 joints, taking RA meds for years, stopped shots because of Prostate Cancer, pain in hands and feet, narrow throat w/no answers, asthma, HBP, sleep apnea, 1st cousin w/deformed feet & hands(RA), MDs diagnosed = NOT RA. Now one RA MD says a little RA, maybe? Sulfazalazine 2AM & 2PM. Don’t want to have it, but do I? Ret ARMY, always problems with swollen ankles, even running 6+ miles daily. “No pain no gain.”

  • January 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Dont give up, Not sure about Sulfazalazine except that it is used to treat several Auto-Immune Diseases including RA, Keeping looking for a new Rheumy Dr. if your not comfortable with this one. Stay active and Refuse to Lose….

  • December 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Five years ago we were getting ready for a trip to Canada. We live in Alaska. My feet started hurting and burning over night. Up till that point I walked five miles a day. I was in tears and could not walk for any distance. I went and saw my favorite herbalist and she recommended cherry extract. It had helped my son with gout so I thought it couldn’t hurt. However it did relieve a bit of the pain.But did continue to get worse. Five years later I woke up one morning with searing pain through out my joints and felt like I was coming down with the flu. I called my physician and when I was able to get out of bed went in to see her. She prescribed predisone. Three hours later I felt amazing but the feet still continued to hurt.
    She suspected RA, but I never tested positive. She prescribed Gabapenten and finally my feet stopped hurting and I could walk. I have had no other symptoms other than a few flare ups through out the last five years.The flare ups feel like the flu and are gone with in 24 hours. These events would happen after something very distressing would happen then the next day extreme fatigue. I chalked that up to getting older. At the request of my doctor I flew down to see a specilalist in Seattle for two days of testing. Still never tested positive for RA. But he says I have it. It is now 2012 and this started in 2006. I was told to start the methtotrexate immediately as it would stop the progression of the disease. Yet x-rays show no damage and I have put off starting the chemo therapy. AS they want to put me on three types of drugs. Since the feet don’t hurt and there is no more damage other than a few spurs I wonder if this isn’t a bit too aggressive. There may come a time I will go with this treatment, but all the side affects from the chemo seem worse than what the RA is doing,I am now 63. I have read many of the blogs and I just don’t seem to fit into most of the criteria. Yet I have neropathy in my feet. Not a diabetic. Don’t smoke, don’t drink and don’t do caffine. Not even chocolate. I feel like I got thrown into the general public of something I may not have.My thyroid was checked and it was not working and that has been addressed and it seems to be fine now.
    My specialist is known world wide for his knowledge and I liked him a lot. But he said to me it is my body. His job is to give me the information and help me make an informed decision. I appreciate that, but my physician at home felt a bit put out at not taking her advice. The only side affects I have are fatigue and some foot pain if I do not take the medication for that. No one seems to know why my feet over night started burning and hurting. I do have osteoarthritis. But that does not seem to cause pain if I take Turmeric, Vit D and
    Omega Threes. The Turmeric made a huge difference in my joint pain. I no longer take tylenol, aspirn or any other pain meds for the previous joint pain. Just confused as to why I was being pushed into chemo when no evidence in x-rays show any damage other than some spurs. As well as just the foot pain. And no RA positive test. I want to prevent any damage if that is indeed the case. But I also wonder if it is going to go so slow that the side affects from chemo may be worse than the RA itself.

  • June 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    To Whom It May Concern,
    I would like to thank you for sharing your story.I know it must have been hard to write what you and others are going through I am also suffering my R.A. and had been since I was 14 years old although through the years I would have flares now that I am a diabetic my R.A. flares are happening more and more. Went to dr other day and my sed rate was high which is a good sign for me I also suffer from muscles pain to.

  • January 16, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Hi I have Ra for about 10 yrs now very difficult to tell people about the pain you get when it happens I have had both knees replaced now due to RA but having very bad trouble with my shoulder at the moment unless you have have this it’s difficult to tell how tied you become and painfull it is so I feel for you who suffer with this so it good to know that I’m not the only one going through this going for injection on Tuesday to get to my shoulder again as I am a mechanic so having a bad shoulder not good take care everyone you never know they may find something to helps one day


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    Welcome to RA Warrior!


    Thanks for visiting this unique site full of information and encouragement to fight Rheumatoid Disease. You'll find hope, humor, and a helpful online community. I'm Kelly & I'll be glad to show you around if you'll click right here.


    View more gifts at Zazzle.

    Let's Pin Together!

Would You Like Free Email Updates?
Stay in touch with RA Warrior.
We respect your privacy. Your email address will never be shared.