I Was Younger and Stuffed with Plans — RA Was a Detour I Did not Anticipate

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By Andy Pendergrass

As a younger man graduating school and marrying essentially the most fantastic girl I had ever met, life was good and the long run appeared vivid. My new spouse and I had been about to go as much as Alaska to work for the summer time earlier than attending a post-grad program. I deliberate to change into a wedding and household counselor, and he or she can be a instructor. 

Then I began having foot ache.



It began in January of 2011, 5 months earlier than we had been supposed to depart for Alaska. I chalked it as much as soreness from enjoying basketball, or tennis, or final frisbee, or flag soccer, or golf. (You get the image: I used to be ACTIVE.) This ache endured. It was unhealthy sufficient that I purchased some insoles from the pharmacy to put on in my sneakers. That didn’t assist. I discussed the ache to my physician. At first he thought it was in all probability plantar fasciitis (a standard harm for athletes that includes the tissue within the backside of the ft tearing), however then advised that we get some blood work finished since my mother and grandmother each suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Every week later he known as with the outcomes. I may hear in his voice that he wasn’t wanting ahead to having this dialog. He mentioned, “Andy the outcomes of the blood test are displaying that you’ve energetic RA. I’m referring you to a rheumatologist.”

That was the second that my life went from going as deliberate to one thing totally different. A detour. This was unexpected, undesirable, unprepared for, and unthinkable. Truthfully, I didn’t consider it as a detour on the time. Within the second, it felt like my life hit pause. 

The appointment with the rheumatologist went horribly. He principally talked to me about issues that weren’t well being associated nor medically related. At one level he did ask me to take my footwear off, however he didn’t look at my ft. He appeared down at them whereas I used to be standing on the navy blue carpet of the room and mentioned, “Your ache is probably going due to flat footedness.” I’m positive the look on my face may have been made right into a meme. However I didn’t verbally reply. I don’t know if I used to be too shocked, or too confused or what. However after a steroid shot in every hip to assist with some hip discomfort I used to be having and a few blood work, he despatched us on our approach. (Later I bought a invoice for $535). When my fiancée and I made it to the parking zone, I exclaimed, “FLAT FEET!? I’ve an enormous arch in my foot!”


My ache subsided for some time, which was nice however complicated. Then, a few month into our time working in Alaska, my ache returned with a vengeance. I did my greatest to push the ache to the again of my thoughts in order that I may take pleasure in that summer time.

Then got here all-time low. On the conclusion of the summer time, we flew again to the decrease 48 and my spouse actually wished to buy groceries on the mall to get some new garments. I bear in mind mendacity awake the night time earlier than considering that I wasn’t positive I may truly stroll across the mall the subsequent day. That led me to start out questioning what the remainder of my life was going to appear like. I felt desires of getting children and being energetic with them slipping away. For the primary time in my life, I used to be struggling to see an image of the long run that was any model of the life I wished.

Shortly thereafter, we moved to Missouri. I requested the director of my post-grad program if he may assist with discovering a rheumatologist within the space. He did, and he additionally made his sizzling tub obtainable to me to take a seat in once I was having ache. The new tub helped my ache a ton, and his generosity lifted my spirits.

I bought in to see a rheumatologist in January of 2012. She was precisely what I wanted. I’ll always remember the puzzled look on her face once I advised her about my earlier go to with the rheumatologist in Louisiana. She mentioned, “Andy, you undoubtedly have RA, and we have to get you some remedy ASAP.”

After lastly getting recognized, I not solely bought remedy but in addition solutions. It was a aid to know why I used to be having ache. Though I used to be nonetheless petrified of the drugs and the long-term results of getting RA, I may lastly title my situation and cope with it accordingly.

10 years later, my desires of being energetic with children haven’t been crushed by RA. I now have 2 boys, and I can do all of the issues I wish to do with them. I’m so grateful that I lastly bought the assistance I wanted in order that my future is one thing to look ahead to once more.


For those who suppose you may need RA or one other continual illness, preserve looking for solutions. Even “consultants” can get it mistaken or have an off day. Many continual sicknesses are decreased in severity if you eat neatly. So even for those who don’t know what’s going on, you will get some stage of aid by placing the precise issues in your physique.

Lastly, be inspired that although the street you’re on may need a detour, you’ll survive. The key that almost all of us with continual ailments don’t say usually is that we’ve truly change into stronger individuals because of the wrestle.


Andy is an energetic 33-year-old Licensed Monetary Planner™ who has been residing with rheumatoid arthritis for 10 years. His ardour is being wholesome, energetic, and as ache free as potential in order that he can maximize the enjoyable together with his spouse and two sons. His flare ups normally happen in his hips and toes, although he often has them in his fingers and wrists from overuse. Andy does CrossFit, Peloton, and soccer to remain in form and loves enjoying golf and bow trying to find enjoyable. Comply with Andy’s journey on Instagram.



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