My RA Story

My RA Story: Darlene Watkins, University of Maryland Rheumatology Patient

Q: When were you diagnosed with RA?
Darlene: September 26, 2016

Q: When did the symptoms first begin?
Darlene: They first started when I was cleaning. My hands were aching really bad and swelling up. I felt a throbbing from my elbow to my hand. I hung my hands down thinking maybe that would make it go away, but it never did. At that particular time, the pain would happen one week, but then it would go away. Eventually the next week, the pain came back and was so bad I couldn't sleep that night. I tried pain reliever and put Bengay on my hands, but it didn't work.

Q: How were the symptoms affecting your life? 
Darlene: They were affecting my work life as a housekeeper. I use my hands a lot and it was uncomfortable. I was able to do my job, but not my best like I normally would. I also had trouble with cooking. For example, chopping vegetables and peeling potatoes.

Q: How did you find Dr. Flores?
Darlene: I told my primary care physician that I thought I had something wrong with my hands. She took an X-ray and said, "I think you have arthritis." She then referred me to Dr. Flores. I caught it early before it got worse. At first I couldn't make a fist with either hand. But gradually, after seeing Dr. Flores and starting my treatment plan, I can make a whole fist! The rain used to make my pain worse, but now, I can't even tell when it's raining.

Q: What is your impression of Dr. Flores? 
Darlene: I think hes a very good doctor. He's pleasant, he lets you know what can and can't happen, and he explained everything to me. I also never had to wait long for my appointment.

Q: What is next for your treatment plan? 
Darlene: I'm feeling very good compared to when I first started seeing Dr. Flores. He said if everything keeps going the way it is, he can take me off prednozone. And I hope he can, because everything is really, really great now. 

For more information about University of Maryland Rheumatology, or to schedule an appointment, call: 410-706-6474 or visit umfpi.org/rheumatologyWe are located in Baltimore City, Columbia and Timonium.