What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
Learn as much as possible about your condition, talk to others with it, remember you’re not alone! Keep positive and listen to the specialists but don’t forget you know your body better than anyone else.
Do you use any mobility aids?
I have night splints and working splints, but I don’t really use them that often, I also have finger splints which I use everyday.. Oh and my mum!
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
It’s allowed me to realise the true values of life! It’s shown me that I have the most supportive family and friends and as cliché as it sounds, it does make you stronger. You don’t know how much pain you’re going to be in one day from the next, so you must live each day as it comes and do everything you wish. Also on a ‘good day’ you feel on top of the world, life really does become more precious.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
Not really, sometimes rashes and the swelling during flare ups. Oh how we all love sausage fingers and the occasional limp if my knee or hip are playing up!
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
Let it out, I used to hold it all in because I thought it was weak if I didn’t, who was I kidding? Moan, cry, scream! Being sarcastic and using humour to get through it is also a really good way! It’s also really good to have someone you can trust to talk to when you’re having a rough time. If not Twitter is such a good place to rant, I prefer moaning on twitter as it means less moaning in real life!
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
Methotrexate injection (with folic acid), Enbrel, Prednisolone, Naproxen, Paracetemol and Tramadol. Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
When I was suffering from RA but hadn’t yet been diagnosed, I put the pain down to other things and carried on with life as normal. I got through my GCSE’s with good grades, even though I was barely able to hold a pen, I took part in my sports classes like before and I still attended my boxing sessions 3 times a week and riding lessons on the weekend. I even managed to uphold my social life. Obviously as time progressed my RA got more severe and this all stopped, however it just goes to show how powerful the mind really is if you don’t know what’s really going on. Although I can’t do half as much as I used to, I count myself lucky and keep positive.