Mesa, Arizona, United States
How long have you lived with RA?
I was just diagnosed March 2015, but once diagnosed realized it had been longer (maybe up to a year or more before). I started the process by becoming almost completely incapacitated. I couldn’t roll over in bed, I could barely walk or lift my arms, etc. I have it in every joint except my hips. Once diagnosed, I realized my numerous previous exercise injuries were due to the disease.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
Research! I am still working on that, but have learned so much already. The more you know, the better you can address the needs you have.
Do you use any mobility aids?
I do use wrist wraps and a knee brace as needed. I have been considering a toilet riser and cane for when I flare real bad.
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
I think I am more compassionate of other people’s pain. It has also made me focus more on diet and creating a better lifestyle.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
I have some nodules on toes and have been losing flexibility in my wrists.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
I have fought depression. It can be frustrating to lose control of your body, but I have looked at those who are much worse off than myself and how happy they are with their situation and realized I can cope with what I have. I also have developed a “never give up” attitude. Most of all, I rely on God. I pray and know He won’t give me more than I can handle.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
I am currently on 8 Methotrexate a week and just ending ,my second round of a 30 day 5mg Prednisone regiment. They want me to take Humira, but the side affects terrify me. I also get a lot of pressure not to take the drugs from friends and family. The RA has greatly affected my current knee issue with osteo arthritis, so I will have to get the knee replaced. After that I will probably relent and take the Humira as I have trouble dealing with the wrist and shoulder pain most of all. I also take 800mg of Ibuprofen as needed for pain, although I try to limit it. I have cut down on red meat and my diet leans heavier on veggies, rice and fruits.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I am a writer. That means I not only type, but love to take notes at church and write things as I think of them. I have realized hand writing has become a big problem. An hour of writing (or less) can cause me to have a week without the use of my hand. As you can imagine, that is a great problem for the dominant hand. I retain a positive attitude though and try to laugh most of it off and do what I can to be a happy family member and friend.