Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Faces of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Meet Peggy Piscapo - Here is her story. You can also find her story on her blog -

My life was a normal one.. Wife, Mother, Sister, Daughter and Friend.    I had a fork in the road called RA.  On July 26th I was officially diagnosed with RA.  I had been having a lot of pain and swelling for several months and couldn't figure out why... I am only 42 and "I didn't Look Sick".   I had my husband come to this visit, so he could grasp the fact that I was sick.

Sitting in the doctor's office, I saw people in wheel chairs and have "old people" shoes on.  They were all much older than me.  We were in shock when the doctor handed me 9 prescriptions.  Tons of brochures on RA drugs.  I needed a backpack to carry all the info out of the doctor's office.  My husband and I went to the car and drove to Sonic Burger... where we sat in shock...and drank cherry lime-aids.   I had to make the call to my mother to confirm that YES,  I do have RA.    Next stop was the pharmacy:

The first time I picked up my medicine from the pharmacy... nine bottles all RA drugs.  I was in shock.  I couldn't even read the labels.  I forgot to ask for easy to open caps, not child safe ones.  I had to get two pill box's to hold all the pills.  I had to have my husband write it all down on the calender.  All the drugs are very powerful.  I used to just take Advil.   Now I take cancer drugs.

Methotrexate is the first treatment doctors try to treat RA.  I heard it was an awful drug.  It causes you to be sick to your stomach and it can cause hair loss.  I was terrified to take it.  I am on my third week now, and so far so good.  I am one of the lucky ones.  Many people who take this drug get sick and lose their hair... (I am not out of the woods with the hair thing yet).

I see my life changing every moment and in every way.  I work with horses, and its physically demanding a lot of the time.  My hands hurt and swell up at any given moment.  Heck... it all hurts.  I have a handicap placard now.  I can't have my kids hold my hands any hurts to much.  My husband is afraid to hug me...due to the pain.  There is so much change, which I will share along the way..which is why I am writing this blog.  To help myself and others.  

It is not all doom and gloom.  I have found a wonderful support group online.  I have found who my closest friends are.  I look at life in a much different way now.  I am not in a hurry to get it all done now.  I have taken time to slow down and see my life and family.  I don't get as angry anymore... I let things slide off my back now.  So join me on my journey of the positives and not so positives. 

I'm Marcy Dyer. When I first got ill, I was very active. I had just obtained my black-belt in Tae Kwon Do and as a single woman, I had quite a few friends who liked to play volleyball and softball on the weekends. 

I was the type of person who couldn't sit still. My first symptom was fatigue. Severe fatigue. I remember complaining over and over to my gynecologist. He recommended several different diets but nothing helped. I saw an internist who diagnosed me with asthma and put me on steroids. 

I felt great on the steroids but after a while I starting having knee problems. A friend recommended that I see a specialist in Dallas. The specialist drew labs on me and called me a few days later. My RF was positive and he wanted me to see a rheumatologist. He referred me to Dr. Alan Duby in Dallas. Dr. Duby diagnosed me with polyinflammatory arthritis and started me on plaquenil. Over time, with multiple flares, he added medications. In addition to RA, I developed Sjogren's Syndrome which causes very dry mouth and eyes and Raynaud's Syndrome which causes spasms of the blood vessels in the hands and feet when exposed to the cold.

Thanks to my insurance changing, I had to change rheumatologists - twice. My third and current rheumatologist is the one who finally decided this was seronegative RA. My RA titer went negative after starting treatment. All of my rheumatologists have treated me aggressively and as a result, I don't have a severe joint damage as I might otherwise.

My goal is to bring awareness to RA and to educate people on this disease while living my life to the fullest. There are many things I can no longer do but I have faith that God will use me and this illness for His glory.


  1. Marcy,
    You are the first person I've seen online who acknowledges the will and purpose of God.
    I've also been recently diagnosed with RA
    and I've believe it is the will of Him who loves me more than all.
    I believe His promises to be true. We must continue to trust His will and His way is always perfect.
    Thank you Marcy for your faith, Jennifer