How long have you lived with RA?
Over 17 years.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
Never give up hope! You may have to change the way you do things but they can still be done! Continue to do light exercise and keep moving. With RA if you don’t use it you sometimes lose it.
Do you use any mobility aids?
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
I’ve always felt a sense of urgency to find a way to do the things I want…now! I understand that my RA will probably only get worse so I try to really live life! I probably also have more compassion for other people and a greater amount of patience. I appreciate the little things and tell people how much they mean to me.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
Yes. The joints in my right hand are quite deformed and it is very noticeable. Both wrists have nodules. My left arm no longer straightens all the way because of the deformity of my elbow. I walk with a limp on bad days.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
I enjoy meditation and believe it helps tremendously in coping with the pain.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
I currently live and work in China and I’m on TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). I love it! In the past I have been on Methotrexate, Enbrel, Daypro, and other NSAIDs. Currently the TCM is working well for me.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
This is the first time I’ve ever shared my experience in a forum such as this. I’m more of a “get on with it” type of person and don’t like to dwell too much on my illness. In finding this website I’ve found great comfort in hearing about other people’s stories. I sometimes feel alone in this journey, though I have a great support system. It is encouraging to hear from others who will never give up the fight.