5 years diagnosed but suffered with systems many years before this.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
Take a deep breath. It’s not the end of the world, but it is scary. Read all you can. Learn from others. Take it one day at a time.
Do you use any mobility aids?
I do not have any mobility aids yet. I am working on getting orthotics because of my feet issues.
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
I have been (and sometimes still am) a very independent person. Having RA has forced me to not be “an island unto myself”. I have to take it easy sometimes and give myself permission to take rests. I used to be a perfectionist with my home. Now, I’d rather enjoy my children and take things easy than worry about what my house looks like. Having RA has also taught my children that some people need help and we should help others if we can.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
I have large nodules on my right hand and smaller ones on my left. I have nodules on my feet, knees and elbows. I used to have large nodules on my elbows but had them removed before I was officially diagnosed. I do not get to wear cute shoes that other women my age wear. I have to wear shoes that do not give me pain. Unfortunately I haven’t found many.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
During rough times I really enjoy listening to music that lift my soul.. I also enjoy reading my Bible. I have friends that I can vent to as well.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
I am currently on 15mg of methotrexate, 5mg of Folic a week, 20mg of Arava, 200mg of hydroxychloroquine, 10mg of amitriptyline daily. I also see a massage therapist and chiropractor monthly.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I am a divorced Christian mother of three. I have homeschooled all three children for six years, but this year I’m only schooling my youngest. I love my lab-shepherd Ginny. I also love to scrapbook, watch tv and movies, read books, outdoors and the beach.