Real Profiles of Rheumatoid ArthritisPhotos © Lindsey Thies
Norwalk, Connecticut, United States
How long have you lived with RA?
I was diagnosed after 10 years of symptoms at the age of 20. So 19 years total.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
Be your own advocate and learn all you can. Also don’t let the doctors bully you, you are their boss!
Do you use any mobility aids?
None at this point.
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
My disease has given me compassion, and that fighting spirit to make my dreams come true no matter what.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
My hands and feet are a disaster, plus the visible signs of taking prednisone for too long.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
Two years after diagnoses I got a puppy and she brought me out of my funk. Also Facebook support groups really helped me. Also don’t be to proud to seek professional help when you need it, when I started college I had a hard time coping with all the new responsibilities and RA.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
Well I have been trying to get pregnant for 2 years now, so I can only take prednisone and plaquenil. I really have to work on reducing my stress which always benefits my RA.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
My dream was to get my college education and have a great job. I started college 4 years after being diagnosed with RA. I am currently about to graduate and have a job working as a product developer for Pepperidge farms. Also while in college I studied abroad in Guangzhou, China for 6 months, by myself!! The point is I thought my life was over when I got my diagnoses and it turns out it had just begun!!