Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different – and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren’t alone!
Location: Nashville, TN
Diagnosis/Diagnoses: Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Age at Diagnosis/Diagnoses: 16, symptoms started when I was 15
How are you currently treating your condition/conditions?
Mainly recreational marijuana and DoTerra Essential Oils (best treatment I've ever had). I lost my insurance when I turned 18, so endless visits to specialists and medications don't fit in the young parents trying to raise a family budget at the moment. So weed and oils are the easiest and cheapest route for me.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
Wow, this is a tough one. The biggest challenge would be learning how to be a mom and wife who is also chronically ill. I've learned to embrace my good days because they are always the light the the end of the tunnel when I'm in a bad flare.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
Keep Moving. I've started going to the gym and finding simple exercises on Instagram that have really helped my mobility.
How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
We don't have a choice so just roll with the punches. I never forget: tough times don't last, but tough people do!
If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
That 8 years in, life is still pretty great. I am so thankful it hasn't progressed like we were first told.
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