Steve Robson
© F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd.

Thirteen years ago, when Steve Robson was 35 years old, he casually tried out a jackhammer while working on a jobsite in Dublin, Ireland. The next morning, Robson's left hand wouldn't work. Everyone assumed that the jackhammer was to blame, and that his hand would soon be fine. It wasn't. In fact, it wasn't the jackhammer at all. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) caused the trouble. Moreover, the trouble with Robson's hand turned out to be just the beginning. Over time, RA affected many of Robson's joints. He's had one hip replaced, a carpal-tunnel operation, and dealt with enormous pain.

Robson's ordeal echoes the twisted and often discouraging path that many people with autoimmune diseases experience when they seek diagnosis and relief. Since his left hand was still useless on the Monday after using the jackhammer, Robson made an appointment...

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