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Katie Rix

Katie Rix

Real Profiles of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Real-Profile-Rix-Katie
Photos © Katie Rix

Name?

Katie Rix

Age?

22

Location?

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England

How long have you lived with RA?

I was diagnosed in 2008 when I was 18.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?

No matter how bad things seem right now it’s really not the end of the world, there are so many amazing treatments available. It can take time to find the right treatment for you and for the treatments to begin to work and to see the results, so although it is difficult you have to be patient.

It is totally natural to want to find out as much as you can about the disease but do NOT believe everything you read on the internet because you will come across horror stories and frightening thoughts that probably don’t even apply to you. Try to make sure you have as much rest and sleep as you possibly can, the fatigue caused can have as much an effect as the RA itself. Try and be patient when explaining to others exactly how serious RA is and what it involves and how it affects your life because RA is often considered to be an “unseen” disease it can be difficult for people to understand how serious, painful and debilitating the disease is. I had no idea what arthritis really involved before I was diagnosed. If I’m honest I thought it was only for people in their seventies.

Do you use any mobility aids?

I have an electric tin opener but I couldn’t use a handheld one before the arthritis struck haha! I sometimes use wrist supports.

How has living with RA helped to improve your life?

I have definitely turned into a “glass have full” kind of person and I try to see the positive in everything. I’m a lot more tolerant and understanding towards other people now. It’s also made me thankful for what I already have, my family, my boyfriend and my friends.

Do you have any visible signs of RA?

I often have swelling in my joints, especially my wrists and have nodules on my fingers which come and go.

Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?

Looking at photos from a really happy time such as holidays and birthdays and websites like his are also good and remind me that I’m not the only person in the world with RA and that there are people who are much worse off than I am.

Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?

Hydrocloroquine sulphate, humira, methotrexate and folic acid.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

RA is a huge part of my life but it doesn’t control everything I do. I’m only just 22 and I still do everything I want to. I have just completed my degree in English Literature and I am deciding what to do next.

Already this summer I have been to Turkey and a festival with my boyfriend, had an amazing time in Ibiza with my friends and I still go out, get drunk and fall over. Yes, I probably feel worse than most the day after but that’s something I can deal with. Next summer my friends are planning on volunteering in Asia… Don’t let rheumatoid arthritis slow you down!

5 Comments
Tamara Vasquez

Tamara Vasquez

Real Profiles of Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Photos © Tamara Vasquez

Name?

Tamara Vasquez

Age?

24 years young!

Location?

Alvin, Texas, United States

How long have you lived with RA?

I have lived with RA for 6 yrs now.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?

The most important advice is follow the doctors orders. Do not miss your appointments, because the longer you wait to get treatment the worse your condition and damage will get. I was so hard headed about following the doctors orders and sticking with the appointments because I had not accepted it. I was always healthy and to all of sudden be told you can’t do this and you cant do that, take this medication with food and take this one once a week or twice a day was just ridiculous but I wish I would have followed the orders sooner because who knows, I might have been in control of my RA by now.

Do you use any mobility aids?

Before I had my 7 month old, I would wear ankle braces on both my ankles, I had a knee brace on my right knee and I also wore a wrist brace on both my wrists. Now, and I don’t know why and neither does my rheumatologist, I only wear a wrist brace on my right wrist. My right hand is the only thing that gives me a whole lot of problems. My ankles, knees and left hand no longer hurt but they still swell every once in while.

How has living with RA helped to improve your life?

It made me such a strong person, I can withstand any other pain, cut, fracture,sprain, surgery etc, other than my flare ups. Not only did it made my physically stronger, it has made me emotionally, and mentally stronger. I was depressed at the beginning of this RA journey but i have overcome that and accepted that fact that yes I do have a disease but its a great conversation starter. People seem to be amazed that someone my age has this “old people” disease and fills me with joy when I explain to them that RA knows no age and I share with them the facts. They leave with something new. I amaze myself at the fact that I DO NOT allow this disease to control me or my family’s life. I spend a great deal of time with my children doing activities that we all love because who knows maybe one day I will not be able to but I will do everything in my power to prevent that.

Do you have any visible signs of RA?

In my right hand you can start to see a little deformity in my fingers but it’s not too much and I’m hoping that we are slowing down the damage. My MRI showed there was great damage to my cartilages and quite a bit of bone loss. You can definitely tell that my hand is constantly swollen.

Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?

Some of my absolute favorite are spending time with my kids. Just joking around with them, playing games and just laughing. My family never quit on me, no matter how hard headed I was, they never quit and they are still here for me. I also see a counseling therapist who has helped me deal with my emotions especially when i have a flare up and get so overwhelmed with the fact that I can not button my pants or brush my hair. I have what I call “me time”, this is when I spend time just by myself or with a friend getting pampered for example pedicure,manicure, movie or anything that is just plain relaxing.

Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?

I was taking Celebrex but wasnt working anymore. So I’m back on Prednisone and Lodine for now but I am waiting on my insurance to approve Enbrel.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

I am 24 year old divorced mother of two beautiful boys.I am a fabulous RA Gal who switched from wearing heels everyday to flats because my ankles swell or I am in pain but i make it look good! I work full time and a mother full time. I am a daughter, mother, aunt, sister, cousin, granddaughter and ex wife(but happily free) and I am a friend. I will NEVER allow rheumatoid arthritis to control my life or control me. I love my life and anything and everyone in it. I live to the fullest, love unconditionally and I laugh because I AM HAPPY! I may be in the worst pain imaginable but I smile everyday! ;-)

4 Comments
Jordan Lynne

Jordan Lynne

Real Profiles of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Real-Profile-Lynne-Jordan
Photos © Jordan Lynne

Name?

Jordan Lynne

Age?

9

Location?

Los Angeles, California, United States

How long have you lived with RA?

7 years and I have uveitis.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?

Don’t think that it stops you from doing things you like. There are ways to treat your JRA. Do all the things you like but if it hurts you may want to stop and rest.

Do you use any mobility aids?

Daddy carries me if I hurt.

How has living with RA helped to improve your life?

I don’t give up.

Do you have any visible signs of RA?

I have 2 scars on my right knee from surgery when I was 2 and my knees are bigger then they should be because of the JRA.

Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?

I cuddle up with my parents in bed and watch movies. I have a little stuffed dog, Peter, that was given to me as I was coming out of surgery when I was 2 and in the process of being diagnosed. I need Peter and the blanket my mom made me when I’m having a bad day.

Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?

Remicade, CellCelt, naproxen, pred drops too when my eyes are flaring and physical therapy.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

When I’m sad I always pick myself back up. I try not to keep myself sad about having JRA.

Jordan blogs at Warrior for JRA and also has her multiple videos available on YouTube.

16 Comments
Marissa Hormell

Marissa Hormell

Real Profiles of Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Photos © Marissa Hormell

Name?

Marissa Mullins Hormell

Age?

16

Location?

Kennerdell, Pennsylvania, United States

How long have you lived with RA?

14 years. I was diagnosed at 2 with JRA.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor/rheumatologist questions. Find local or online support groups that help with dealing with pain/depression. Check sites like arthritis.org or, of course, rheumatoidarthritisguy.com for facts and other people who have RA. No one understands better than they do! RA tests your courage and emotional strength in many ways, so don’t give up on yourself. This isn’t the end of a long wonderful life and you are the strongest you can be at this time.

Do you use any mobility aids?

No aids yet!

How has living with RA helped to improve your life?

Living with RA has helped me realize that I CAN do things I’ve always wanted to do. I still swim, hang out with friends, and go on vacation. Also, some days I feel like I am stronger because I can cope with my arthritis in a mature way. Some people wouldn’t think that RA can help you in a positive way, but it really can.

Do you have any visible signs of RA?

I have purple blotches on my legs and dark bags under my eyes. I also occasionally have visible swelling of my knees and fingers.

Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?

When it comes to feelings and mood and my RA, it’s like a rollercoaster. Some days I feel great about myself but other days I feel as if nothing is going right and I am always in pain. The #1 thing that always can help me through a depression stage is music. Usually I’ll listen to the kind of music to fit my mood. Like if I am angry, I’ll listen to loud rock music. Or, if I’m sad or depressed about my pain, I’ll listen to inspirational music. I remember when I was going through a tough time a while ago with school and everything was so messed up it seemed, and the only song I listened to for 3 days straight was “No Boundaries” by Kris Allen. It really helped me realize that I could make it through the bad days. Music really helps me cope with a lot of things, not just my arthritis pain. I’m glad to have such an awesome therapy method.

Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?

Right now for my RA I am not on any medications. I was put on Methotrexate and Folic Acid a couple of years ago for my RA. I was doing exceptionally well and my arthritis was also doing great, so I was taken off. Now though, since the pain has returned, we concluded that I was just in a remission. As for my pain, I have another condition called RND, which has to do with my nerves. Most of the pain is in my nerves and muscles now, which I only take OTC drugs for that pain.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

I am a huge animal lover. I have 3 cats, a bunny, and my grandparents have the cutest dog. All of my life I have been around animals and have always had a knack for getting them to trust me. Hopefully someday I can have a job that deals with animals along with my dream of becoming a journalist. I can also be found on Facebook.

5 Comments
Joseph Bayliss

Joseph Bayliss

Real Profiles of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Real-Profile-Bayliss-Joseph
Photos © Joseph Bayliss

Name?

Joseph Bayliss

Age?

22

Location?

Dudley, United Kingdom

How long have you lived with RA?

While I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 10 years old, I’d had severe aches and pains in my legs since I can remember. Though we always put it down to ‘growing pains’. It simply never occurred to me to ask why I was the only boy who was in immense pain after a kick around or when we played soldiers in the school playground. It wasn’t until my right knee swelled up badly one day that I and my family started to worry. Unfortunately it took nearly a full year going from hospital to hospital until I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the Birmingham Childrens Hospital. I have found it difficult to live with it ever since.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?

Seek out fellow sufferers! The internet is wonderful for seeking out help and advice from people in the same situation as you, with the exact same feelings and physical challenges. Learn to understand the mental challenges that come along with any form of chronic condition, especially when chronic pain is involved. Find a good rheumatologist! Do your research, thanks to great sites such as RA Guy’s site, trustworthy information is just a click or two away.

Do you use any mobility aids?

I use a walking stick(s) quite often due to both pain and an inability to walk when the condition is at it’s worse. I sometimes use knee pads to both protect my knees and calm things down, they actually work surprisingly well. Had a stair railing fitted to help me with getting up and down stairs.

How has living with RA helped to improve your life?

Hmm, that’s a difficult one. I’d say I’m more understanding of the limitations and challenges disabled people suffer from and care a great deal about them. I appreciate a comfortable seat more then most, same can be said for baths.

Do you have any visible signs of RA?

Thankfully I currently have little serious disfigurement and the only signs of surgery are two small holes in my knees where cameras were used to inspect inside the joint.

Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?

I struggle to live with this condition daily, so I’m certainly no expert on coping with it to well. But I’d recommend writing down your feelings daily to help you mentally get a grip of matters and will help you understand your pain and the best ways to cope with it. Become part of a social environment where you can discuss RA, this can be locally or of course on the web, there are many great sites out there but it’s good to interact with people who simply understand. A weird one, but I’m a fan of self-hypnosis and it might be worth checking out.

Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?

Currently take Celebrex Celecoxib. Been doing the usual physical exercises to help the joints and muscles. Take painkillers to help with the immense pain, not sure where I’d be without them.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

Yes, I’ve struggled with handling RA both physically and mentally. I’ve had spells of depression and even other related symptoms such as panic attacks and anger attacks. I think it’s important that those newly diagnosed are told about the mental challenges that RA can bring let alone the physical troubles. RA is as confusing to those who suffer from it as those who do not, so helping people understand this condition should always be of importance to anyone who is in such a situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when it comes to doctors and specialist who will more then happily ignore you if you don’t speak up for yourself. Oh and stay strong!

11 Comments