I wish you luck Dan. I have 2 very close that have it. My mom that got it in the late 70's. She is a mess with every joint in her body replaced. They there is my friend that I went in the military with in 1983. He got it in the late 80's. They tried to discharge him but he fought it and won. He has responded very well to medication. He retired in 2003
Dan I have had it for 15 years, and it has had limited impact on what I do. Everybody is affected differently. Mine is in my lungs too, and initially it really did a number on me. So much so that the pulmonary doctor gave me 5 years to live. I am lucky and mine is controlled with some of the oldest and cheapest drugs used for treatment. It took about 18 months for mine to calm down, and as long as I take my medicine I am fine. If I go off my meds it flares back up. You cannot look at those around you with horrible conditions and assume you will be like that. For every person that you see with obvious symptoms there are many more you do not even notice. Get yourself a rheumatologist to treat it not a GP. Take your meds, and you probably will be lifting boxes just like you were before.
You may think I'm crazy but it is ok. I have it in my right arm, when it get to bad I take 3-4 bees an have them sting me in the joint. I can then work with my bees with very little pain for about a week. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me
I'm with Bees of SC on this. So long as you KNOW that you are not allergic, grab a bee by the wings or front sides and place it on the hot spot. Let the venom flow. Then every other day or so, do it again. You can also increase the number of stings, but do it slowly. This may help.
This is a subject on which I am strongly opinionated. Maybe that is because I grew up seeing my mother suffer immensely from this disease while the medications she was given, if anything, made her condition worse. In the end she was down to aspirin only, but the damage had been done, head to toe.
Part of my opinion is that this disease is often diet related. Coffee all day long is bad. Sodas, especially with HFCS---don't consume. Also any excess in the diet like chocolate, sugar, and meat may increase the inflammation. Now, I may take heat for what I have stated; however, I don't care. If just one person changes their diet as the result of this, then my effort has been worthwhile.
I don't know that rheumatoid arthritis responds well to bee stings but it helps my played football til I was too broken to continue body. My wife has Rheumatoid which is more an immune system problem.
I remember 15 years ago when we had to buy the booster seat for the toilet and when she woke me whimpering at night because she couldn't move an arm or a leg, I would re arrange her. The drug EMBREL and God gave her back her life. It is uncommon for a drug to stay effective that long but it sure has worked for her. Pricey, about $1700 a month.
Sorry to hear about your arthritis Dan. I was diagnosed with low back arthritis two years ago and though my beekeeping days were over. I met with some good doctors and went through a physical therapy program and I'm doing great. I still have some back pain everyday, but its manageable. I do best when I'm consistent about exercising.
Limit your bending and twisting motion, use proper lifting technics.
Switching from full-depth supers to medium supers was a life saver.
If you will be doing a lot of heavy lifting on your trip to the bees bring along some help and let them do the lifting.
I also use knee pads when working with nucs or packages low to the ground. This helps me reduce the bending.
Dan, seven years ago I came down with RA and went from carrying 80# sacks of grain on each shoulder to being unable to lift a gallon of milk or button my shirt. My rhuematologist prescribed methotrexate and added Humera later. Now I am able to lead a normal life again. Take heart and push yourself to be as physically active as possible. Taking the new (expensive) biologicals will work wonders. RA has nothing at all in common with osteoarthritis and will attack every joint, muscle and organ if left untreated.
In the meantime, try to change over to smaller boxes, move single frames rather than moving whole boxes, build a bench to position behind hive and tilt boxes rather than lift them, partner with a good friend to help you. These changes will allow you to enjoy your bees until your RA goes into remission (stay hopeful).
Used to have help until my spouse had a systemic reaction. Just take it slow and transfer frames into nuc boxes to make lifting more feasible. I have a garden wagon also. Think of creative ways to reduce the weight of what you have to move/lift. Don't kick yourself if you need to come back another day due to fatigue or pain.
I have failed almost every RA drug out there. It's enough that my Rheumatologist ok'd trying the bee stings. My joints are already shot enough that I might be having a few replacements this year. As you can see, I'm still messing with bees, so don't let it get you down.
Hope you find relief and a treatment that works soon!
Hope this helps..........
I agree on diet modification (not only eating what you should eat, but also avoiding what you should not eat). Nutrition is important for healing.
Apitherapy/BVT - bee venom therapy; but also taking the other products of the hive (honey, propolis, royal jelly, bee bread or pollen mixed with honey and let sit for 2 weeks before taking)
Check out herbals for nutrition and other health benefits.
Mild exercise, don't let it be painful. Try swimming if possible.
Drink water. Stay hydrated.
Consider a detox cleanse.
Check out calcium bentonite clay (edible for internal use or use the external for clay baths). Some people report help with arthritis. It's another way to detox and adds minerals to the body.
Pray and ask God for healing.
WOW! Thanks everyone for the kind and helpful words. My journey is just beginning with RA and I am still in good shape. I can do most everything still, but it is painful. I just started sulfasalazine this past weekend. Its kind of creepy that in the past month I have felt increase in symptoms and its rapidly getting worse and spreading. Hope this drug helps stop that.
My overall health is great and I eat quite healthy. Not a tremendous amount of diet change I can make to do better. Up until 3 months ago I was a gym rat, almost daily. I stopped being able to do pushups and jumping jacks among other things, as it was mostly in my shoulder (now both). I was doing one armed jumping jacks and knew it was time to go see a doc of some sort.
Ill use some of the lifting ideas here, moving one frame at a time, having a wagon. those sorts of things are good ideas. A bit tricky for me to get a helper, though I am hoping my wife may assist more. She did a little last year until getting stung 3 times. As time goes on, I am happier and happier I went with 8 frame equipment for reasons such as this. Now if we could just start seeing spring to end this long cold winter..
I noticed this one late, but I'll throw in my 2 cents. My brother has RA, and I had a great Aunt who had it in my family. In my wife's family, her father and both of his siblings have it, and now my wife's brother does too.
In addition to the obvious "stay active and eat right" advice, the one thing I have determined from watching is that it is absolutely critical to get to a specialist who is up on the newest medications and will try Drug B, C, and/or D when Drug A is not working. It seems like everybody reacts differently to the different drugs. If you have a doctor who piddles around with drugs that don't work for you, the disease has an opportunity to create permanent damage to your body. My brother in particular has a lot of permanent joint damage and disfigurement because he was on the wrong stuff too long. If it were me, I would ask to be put on the new, expensive drugs right from the start. As somebody else mentioned, they can work wonders. Don't piddle around with old technology and let your body pay the price. You need a doctor with a pro-active, aggressive approach.
Second, even though I also mentioned diet and others have too, remember that one reason the diet aspects are important is that the drugs are really hard on your body, in the form of being hard on your liver and/or kidneys and suppressing the immune system. However, when you get on the right medication the advantages far outweigh the side effects.
Hang in there Dan. I've been dealing with RA for quite a few years. It's a difficult transition figuring out what your new limitations are, and having the patience to stick with it. That was the most challenging hurdle for me, coming to terms with what I had to give up and making life style changes to minimize irritation to the joints.
There have been many great suggestions on the thread. You may want to also look into the "nightshades", and eliminate them from your diet to see if that offers you any relief. Bee sting therapy has helped me quite a bit too.
Switching to mediums, if you haven't already, will help too.
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