Flare And Back Again

Healing My Rheumatoid Arthritis with Functional Medicine

I am a 32-year-old mother of three children (ages 12, 9, and 7).  I am happily married and a teacher by profession, although I don’t work in the system currently because I am educating my own children at home.   My mother and my paternal grandmother both have or have had rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

My symptoms began when I was nine years old but were largely dismissed as “growing pains” by doctors.  By seventh grade, I was wrapping my joints in bandages and forging notes from home to get out of PE because I was in pain.  By 15 I was self medicating with prescription pain killers intended for menstrual cramps.  My mother suspected juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, but the doctors continued to just dismiss it.  I took a lot of pills, missed a lot of school, but was able to pretty much get by.  Honestly, I thought I was normal.  Besides, if I hurt, I could just pop some pills, sleep it off, and be fresh in the morning.  This was how I managed until one fateful day when I was 26.  While lifting chicken out of the oven, my wrist popped.  At the time, it was no big deal; I was used to my joints popping and causing pain.  This time however, the pain did not go away no matter what I did.

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