What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
Don’t be discouraged, overwhelmed, or pressured by your new diagnosis. And don’t let RA keep you from having fun, you can make it!
Do you use any mobility aids?
When flare-ups are bad, I do have to use a cane in the mornings to get around. I’m constantly trying to stay away from stairs as they are my hardest obstacle!
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
So far, I’m still learning to handle my rheumatoid arthritis. It started off mild and has now grown to severe. On a positive note, it has taught me to be appreciative of what I can do and not discouraged by what I CAN’T do.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
I have a chronically swollen right knee after having surgery two years ago for removing a (luckily) benign tumor, my scar is 5 inches long. I also walk with a noticeable limp some days and recently me left elbow hasn’t been able to straighten completely, so I have to keep it bent most of the day.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
I pray every day, read my bible, and put my trust in God. He’s the author of my life and I know despite my illness, I’m in His hands.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
I’ve been pressured countless times to get back on methotrexate and enbrel, but I’m highly uncomfortable with their side effects in the long run. I’m taking a natural approach by starting a healthy, lean diet, there’s a ton of research on foods to stay away from, and using a long list of natural vitamins and herbs to help reduce inflammation and even pain.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I’ve been blessed to have a great support group around me, I’ve got a wonderful (new) husband who takes amazing care of me, and great family and friends that are always encouraging and offering advice. Very thankful for that!