I was diagnosed with RA in February, 2010, after demonstrating symptoms for almost two years.
The onset of the disease was brought on (I believe) by a tsunami of incredibly stressful events, including a miscarriage, a traumatic divorce and a turbulent time in my career. My Father, a former Marine, has lived with this disease for over 15 years and continues his treatment today. For a period of time, we were treated by the same rheumatologist.
I turned to books and the internet for hope after my diagnosis. There were very few stories of hope and even less of success in living an active, or even normal, lifestyle. I felt one word… Despair.
How can there not be hope? How can there not be help? How can there not be a better life?
I refused to give in.
It’s that fight in me that got me through.
At the time of my diagnosis, I was fully engaged in a rigorous fitness regime, primarily focusing on strength training. It was my rheumatologist’s opinion that the strength training had mitigated the symptoms of my early disease. This piqued my interest, and I’ve continued (even amplified) my fitness program; I view it as an integral part of my treatment. Truthfully, I’m in the best shape of my life. And, yes, there are days that I have to fight for it.
I embarked on a Paleo lifestyle 18 months ago, and have found it to be wildly successful in mitigating my symptoms. It’s not for everyone, but I’ve loved it, and my blood work has improved.
I inject 1mL (25 mg) of methotrexate weekly and have recently started 50 mg of injectable Enbrel weekly. I treat flares with Prednisone runs, prescribed by my rheumatologist. The strongest pain medication I’ve taken with RA is Motrin. I’m a folic acid junkie, and I love B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin D. I’ve also recently incorporated Vega Chlorella (from the Thrive Diet) in my daily routine.
I can’t help but believe that what we put in our bodies and do with our bodies affects our disease and our symptoms. That’s why I’ve made a commitment to myself and to the RA community to learn more, share more, and hope more… for a better life.
My hope is to inspire RA patients to be true managers of their disease, partners with their doctors and masters of their bodies.