I have lived with RA since I was diagnosed at the age of 22, so that is 19 years. Although, I think I had it several years before my diagnosis.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
Take care of yourself! Often times others have no understanding of what is happening in our bodies and we have to be proactive with our health! Learn about your disease and find the best support you can. Keep moving as best you can and enjoy the good days.
Do you use any mobility aids?
I have used wrist splints in the past, but I’m able to go without them currently.
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
I have developed a better sense of empathy for others. I have become more in tune with my body. I realize that I will soon have to give up teaching due to the degeneration in my spine, but I am super motivated to finish college! I graduate in May from grad school!
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
Yes, both hands have visible nodules in several knuckles. My right wrist is frozen and has very little range of motion. I have trouble with writing sometimes.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
My family is very good to help me with anything I need, and I have found a great online community of people who are wonderful. My dog plays a big part too. When I am hurting or fatigued, it seems like he knows and he stays close.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
I am currently taking Plaquenil, Methotrexate, Tramadol, and Folic Acid. The Methotrexate has been a life saver for me.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I would like to share my online hobby of t-shirt design! I design for Zazzle and Cafepress.