Real Profiles of Rheumatoid ArthritisPhotos © Pollyanna Penguin
Pollyanna Penguin a.k.a. Anne but prefer Penguin (or Polly occasionally!)
Nearest city is Norwich, Norfolk, UK, although I live in a small town outside Norwich.
How long have you lived with RA?
Good question. Diagnosed in 2007 but I’m sure I’ve lived with it for longer than that!
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
1. Read up everything you can about it, but don’t assume that everything you read applies to you. Everybody’s experience of RA is different.
2. Don’t be afraid to try the drugs because of possible side effects. For a lot of people they work and work well; those are the people you tend not to hear from because they’re busy getting on with their lives!
3. Educate your family and friends about it – they can’t read your mind and they won’t know what you’re going through. Don’t assume they aught to just pick it up by telepathy. (It’s very easy to assume that, especially with people you’re really close to.)
Do you use any mobility aids?
I have a cane in the car but almost never need to use it these days.
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
It’s made me make the most of the good days and it’s also made me pace myself, which means I have forced myself not to be a complete workaholic any longer. It also got me an excellent free trip to Barcelona! (See www.mydayforRA.com)
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
Only if you look really, really carefully! Slightly off kilter toes but I’ve seen worse on people who haven’t got RA, and slightly bent index fingers.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
Cuddling the cats, ranting at my hubby, cuddling my hubby (often post rant!), living one day at a time, making the most of the good days, focusing on the positives, writing my blog (which has really helped me to focus on the positives … as well as occasionally rant about the negatives)
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
Methotrexate 15mg, hydroxychloroquine, Arcoxia (an anti-inflammatory), folic acid (to counteract mtx side effects, presumably works as I don’t have any side effects!). I also take 5-HTP (a herbal remedy that’s supposed to balance seratonin and help with mood swings and sleep) to help counteract the fibromyalgia I also have.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I am very happily married (inspite of above mentioned rants) with three cats: Enormous Cat, Middle Sized Cat and Tiny Cat. The latter is more usually known as Nollie (her official name) or Noodle (because she has the brains of a noodle, or because she looks like a noodle, although based on the latter I have started calling her Ravioli, as she’s ‘filling out’ rather too much). I am slightly cat obsessed – guess you guessed that. I also love doing embroidery and other crafts when hands allow, and going for country walks when feet allow, delving into natural history (especialy entomology) and photography (especially of entomology, but also landscapes, trees, stuff generally). I work full time but not as full as I used to!
Pollyanna blogs regularly at Pollyanna Penguin’s RA Blog.