Real Profiles of Rheumatoid ArthritisPhotos © Leslie Rott
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
How long have you lived with RA?
Diagnosed in 2008.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
I would say that it’s really important to know that RA isn’t a death sentence. And contrary to public opinion, it’s (obviously) not a disease of old age.
Do you use any mobility aids?
Most of what I use are more everyday type things like jar grippers and things like that.
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
That which does not kill you makes you stronger. I think RA has taught me that being a one woman show isn’t enough, and that I need to surround myself with people who enrich my life in multitudinous ways. I think being impacted by any chronic illness is a test of relationships. And those that stay despite illness are the ones who are always going to be there. RA has taught me that I deserve to feel like a whole person, and that some relationships just aren’t worth salvaging.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
RA has done a number on my toes, but I try to keep those hidden. My right hip is also a bit deformed, but it’s not like I whip my hip out for everyone to see.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
For me, one of the best ways to cope has been through blogging. The online lupus and RA communities, along with the chronic illness community in general, have been immensely helpful for me.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
Currently I am on Centrum, Flexeril. Folic Acid, Lo-ovral, Methotrexate, Quinacrine, and Seroquel. I am also on Prednisone on an “as needed” basis. My treatments have mainly focused on the more “traditional” medicine side of things.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?