Real Profiles of Rheumatoid ArthritisPhotos © Kayleigh Payne
How long have you lived with RA?
Almost 12 years.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
GET THE RIGHT MEDICAL TEAM AROUND YOU!!! Shop around for the right consultant for you if needs be, I wish I had! I could have saved myself years of agony and severe damage. Also stay positive, its power is invincible. And meet other people with RA, whether in person or online, it has massively improved my outlook.
Do you use any mobility aids?
Sometimes a crutch, very often my husband!!!
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
I am so empathetic of people with long term illnesses and I doubt I would be so compassionate if I had not felt the pain I have! Also, I am super strong because of it, I can get through anything!
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
It depends how inflamed I am. When I’m in a flare I have little to no mobility which is pretty obvious. I can have a limp at times.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
Laughing!!! I am lucky to be surrounded by very funny amazing people who always make me giggle and help release those happy hormones.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
I’m currently on methotrexate. I also use yoga to keep me mobile, and I’m part of a support group that focuses on “living well with arthritis”.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I am an eternal optimist. I have been through hell and still have severely bad days, but I let nothing hold me back – I have travelled the world, work full time, do a lot of charity work, and have gone back to do further education, and I also got married this year to a wonderful man and my best friend and plan on having a big family! You can do anything you want, RA or not, once you set your mind to it and make a proper plan.
I would also like to highlight my Young Arthritis Network facebook page for anyone who wants to get involved in the group.