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Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid Arthritis: "You Are Not Alone."

Ladies with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Members of the America 2 Anywhere 4 Arthritis (A2A4A) running group after finishing a marathon. Through their running, they have raised significant funds for the Arthritis Foundation. Kathy Lubbers is at far right.
Photo Courtesy of Kathy Lubbers

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One morning more than 26 years ago, Kathy Lubbers woke up and found that she could not bear to lift the sheet from her body because the pain was so great. Although she had been experiencing pain in both hands, nothing had prepared her for this.

With the help of her husband, she got to her doctor and then a rheumatologist. The diagnosis was lupus—an autoimmune disease with symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs.

It would be another 18 months of pain before a different doctor gave her the right diagnosis—rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Lubbers then began trying different medicines, including several common RA medications.

For a period of a dozen years, Lubbers dealt with significant pain. Her husband lifted her in and out of her car and the bathtub. She had her desk in the bedroom, and she could take a couple of steps to do her work as a consultant in marketing communications and strategic planning—and then step slowly back to the bed.

Finally, about 10 years ago, she transitioned to a medication for moderate to severe RA, as well as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis—generic name, enteracept. It worked, and Lubbers has been thrilled with it ever since.

The reversal has been so great that Lubbers has finished six marathons. She and friends run together as a group called America 2 Anywhere 4 Arthritis. They have raised significant funds for the Arthritis Foundation. Lubbers served nine years on the National Arthritis Foundation Board.

For others with RA, Lubbers says, "Remember, you are not alone. Stay positive and connected to others."

Read More "Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)" Articles

When Your Immune System Attacks Your Body / Treatment and Causes / Research / "You Are Not Alone."

Summer 2014 Issue: Volume 9 Number 2 Page 16-17