Real Profiles of Rheumatoid ArthritisPhotos © Frank B.
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States.
How long have you lived with RA?
I was diagnosed in early 2003, I was working around my house and my ankles became very sore. After a few weeks the pain was still quite evident and now was in my knees. I went to my Dr. and described my symptoms and he sent me to an RA specialist where I was tested and notified that I had RA.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
I would say to get as much information as possible about RA. The Internet has wealth of information that will help you navigate your way through this disease. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor any questions you have about your condition. Early on I had all sorts of fears about what my future held, but with more knowledge I am more confident about what I can and can’t do.
Do you use any mobility aids?
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
Not sure how to answer that.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
Not permanently, I had some weird nodules that showed up on my elbows, but they are gone now.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
My favorite coping strategies has always been my families support. It has not always been easy, but through it all they have been awesome.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
Currently I am using Enbrel, I have been on Celebrex, Methrotrexate, Prednisone, and some others early on that I can’t remember. My mom said my grandfather had RA and he used a salve made from devils club root in SE Alaska.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I am an artist that works in various mediums, from painting, carving, stained glass. Currently I am into repousse and chasing of copper, which requires many hours in position that really put a strain on my back and shoulders, fingers and forearms. Since starting Enbrel I have been able to work freely and with minimal breaks. For me it is like I do not even have RA.