Rheumatoid Arthritis Blog: 18+ Years Living With RA

Sticks & Stones

Chronicling my journey living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): looking back at what brought me here, processing the here and now, and considering the future.

“I started having shoulder pain in the mornings in the winter of 1991 – not something I gave much thought, chalking it up to usual aches and pains of being a on the junior high school volleyball team. And then volleyball season ended, and my shoulders and wrists still hurt. Off to my family doctor I went and some physio was prescribed, ultrasound on my wrists. The first time I heard arthritis mentioned was by the tech performing the treatment and of course, I said I was too young. And I was, wasn’t I?

My GP wasn’t sure so he sent me to an internist who tested me to no avail for 3-4 months. Finally, after a trip to a lupus and chronic disease conference for teenagers in search of some answers, I felt confident that I didn’t have lupus (thank God) but was convinced that his course of treatment – or lack thereof – was not doing me any favours. At the time I was on 8 aspirin a day, and then had to take medication for the minor ulcer developing in my 16 year old stomach. The ironies of taking medication for my medication.

At my appointment a few weeks after I got back from the conference, I demanded a referral to Sick Kids in Toronto (I lived in Brampton at the time). Picture a 16 year old demanding a referral for treatment. My mom sat beside me in silent support. With a bit of time and experience with the medical field, I have learned that all doctors are not created equal, and he didn’t have a clue. It was an early lesson on being your own health care advocate.”

1 Comment
1 comment
  1. Brian Twohig says:

    Yes! A significant lesson for everyone dealing with the health care system – Be Your Own Advocate. This is not about ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ but about the lethargic tendency inherent in any system.

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