Nikki Kelliher

RA Guy Real Profiles of RA

Real Profiles of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Photos © Nikki Kelliher


Nikki Kelliher




Vienna, Virginia, United States

How long have you lived with RA?

12 years. I was diagnosed when I was 9 years old, my parents orginally thought I had lyme disease.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?

Besides the obvious start treatment right away I would say, don’t let the label scare you – you’re still the same you that you were before you were diagnosed with a disease!

Do you use any mobility aids?

No, I do not.

How has living with RA helped to improve your life?

I’ve learned not to take my health for granted, my “good” days are great days. I also believe it’s made me stronger, I’ve gotten so good at dealing with the pain that petty things don’t bother me as they would someone without RA.

Do you have any visible signs of RA?

My lovely fat fingers that can’t wear my favorite rings on most days, I make up for it with crazy nail polishes though. Also, I have a bunion along with the swollen joints in my feet so I limp pretty much ALL the time.

Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?

I love reading message boards, and of course RA Guy! It’s really helpful to be able to talk with other people who know what I’m going through since unfortunately it’s hard to find with my family and friends. My family and friends are all supportive of me but, as much as they would like to, they just don’t understand.

Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?

I am currently taking naproxen and methotrexate

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

I absolutely love the outdoors, I am a total beach bum and if I had it my way I’d quit my office job and run a shop on the boardwalk in ocean city. Every weekend I go down to my familys river house and wind down with some boating and fishing, it doesn’t get much better than than that to me. My wonderful boyfriend is extremely supportive of me and patient with me on my really bad days, I am very thankful for him and my parents. Nothing annoys me more than “ohhh, you’re too young to have arthritis!” – I wish people were more educated about RA.