Real Profiles of Rheumatoid ArthritisPhotos © Maira De La O
Maira De La O
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
How long have you lived with RA?
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
I would tell them to have faith that they’ll be ok and to look for their family for support because they’ll be needing a lot of it. Also to look for help if they feel depressed because there are other ways out besides ending it all, and I say this because I have been there and at the time my only motivation was my newborn child.
Do you use any mobility aids?
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
I take everyday as if it’s my last one and I enjoy every minute I can enjoy with my son without having to struggle.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
No, well my right pinky is crooked and it is noticeable.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
Watching my son grow gives strength and just hearing his laugh makes me feel better and makes ME want to smile as well. I love him to death and he makes me want to live long and hard.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
I get an IV Infusion once a month I am not quite sure of the medication name, I think its tolanocitabe??? I also take Leuflonomide, Calcium and Alendronate.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I was on steroids for over a year after the birth of my son. You can imagine what I looked like. I used to be a skinny girl and I got so big in like 3 months that I didn’t even look like myself. Some of the pictures I sent you I still look a little swollen but I don’t have any when I was really fat. When I was on steroids is when I wanted to hurt myself but the only reason I didn’t was because of my son. It was hard at first and my pregnancy was with no doubt the most painful 8 months of my life. I’ve been through so much and still 4 years after people think it’s whatever, they don’t care to know that it’s serious and very painful to live with RA. I have been through so much and I really love reading the same stories others tell it helps me not feel like I’m completely alone with it in this world. Still now I get depressed and sometimes I wish I could find a cave very far away and just hide for the rest of my life, and when I feel like that I like to be left alone and I hide in my room and just cry because my life just started and RA is a lifetime of pain and suffering.