Does anyone know of an organization that offers free and confidential screening for R.A.? My cousin is a Dr.of internal medicine for more than 10 years. and has confirmed my suspicion that I have Reynaud's. She as well as her brother and father also share the pleasure (sarcasm, I'm sure you recognize). Mine is causing tissue damage on my toes and fingers, theirs is not. She recommended that I seek treatment for the Reynaud's because of the damage, as this indicates that mine is a little more serious than theirs. She also suggested I look into being tested for RA as it runs in our family and I am exhibiting some symptoms consistent with it. She is licensed and practices in another state on the other side of the country, so that's as far as her recommendations can go. I don't want to get a diagnosis on my med. records and be married to our present insurance carrier for life, but I am concerned about the possibilities of progression, deformity, and immobility. Currently, my Reynaud's symptoms are better than they were in the winter; the sores on my hands are healing, and no new ones have surfaced on my feet in the last 3-4 weeks. I have experienced periods of joint pain and some strange "veering off" of certain joints. The pain has not always been symmetrical, although the apparent deformity is. This has gone on for just under 2 years, and with it, I have noted that I feel more tired than I feel I should for my age (41 presently). Getting up in the a.m. has been increasingly more difficult over the last two years, and staying awake in the afternoons takes a forced effort, especially if I am doing deskwork. I have not succumbed to the draw of a nap, but it is surely something that pervades my thoughts many afternoons. The most accute manifestation of symptoms has taken place this winter and culminated in the past month when the joints in the fingers of both hands swelled so much that my hands looked foreign to me and one finger became so sore it hurt to be even gently bumped. My rings had begun to grow tight in the past year, and this month, I had to take my wedding rings off as well as give up on wearing my other rings. In order to take the wedding rings off, I had to research methods for taking "stuck" rings off, because the swelling had balloned out over the top of the rings like a mushroom cap. I had been hoping it would go down, and really hated the thought of taking my cherished bands and stones off. I waited too long. When my finger started to turn red at the end and I could feel the discomfort becoming more intense, I decided to combine a couple of suggested methods, namely wrapping dental floss in a spiral pattern to try and create a [temporarily] smaller area to move the rings upward across, while spraying the area with Windex in order to facilitate the movement of the rings. There were sores from the [Reynaud's] tissue damage which took less than kindly to this lengthy process, but as I said, they are now healing with the onset of warmer weather. I understand that all of these things can point to R.A. being the underlying condition causing the Reynaud's, but again, I don't want to pursue a traditional diagnosis. Now that I have bored you with the details, do any of you have knowledge of an organization that would do free and confidential screening? We are in financial straits at the present and as I said, I don't want to be "stamped" as an uninsurable or an "auto-decline" if we ever tried to change insurance carriers. Not to mention, I hate the whole drug scene. I'm not interested in compromising the function of my kidneys, liver, or gastro-intestinal system to take meds to "control symptoms". I prefer exercise and natural remedies if they can help. I guess I just need to know what I actually am up against in the form of a diagnosis so I can sort of formulate a plan with direction. If anyone survived my narrative and has a suggestion, I look forward to hearing from you.
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