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: Central Minnesota
Diagnosis: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Age at Diagnosis: 27
How are you currently treating your condition?
After having a really bad experience with the Enbrel injection I decided to seek out alternative options for care. I located a physician in my area who focused more on food and exercise to better yourself. She suggested fixing what seemed like "leaky gut" and clean eat. Now if you know me, I cannot clean eat, I mean I won't do that to myself. So I tried the supplements she suggested from a company called Plexus. She recommended them due to their all natural ingredients. She had suggested I take a few supplements so I did. After 2 weeks I noticed my constant craving for sugar was gone so I decided to TRY clean eating. I cut out dairy because she said it really adds to inflammation and I bought foods that were gluten free and non gmo when possible. After 2-3 months of the supplements and eating better I slowly stopped taking my prescribed medication and I am happy to say I don't take any as of right now. Do I still have flare ups? Absolutely, but to not have the constant side effects on the medication and to generally feel good has all been worth it.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
I tell a lot of people that the HARDEST thing about having Rheumatoid Arthritis is looking at where you are now and where you were. Remember when you could open that jar, the toothpaste, or a water bottle on your own? Those days are gone. That was so hard for me, I would get in that mindset that I would forever have to rely on someone to do things for me. That didn't go over well at all because I am very independent so unfortunately my husband got a whole lot of attitude from me during those times when I needed help but didn't want to ask for it. Luckily those days are few in far in between but they will always be there.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
When I have a flare up, the one thing I want to do more than anything is stay in bed. With a one year old though that's not possible so I set tiny goals for myself throughout the day. I physically write them out and check them off as I get them done. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something, though it might not be much, on those tough days.
How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
My son has been a huge motivator for me. He is now one and is my whole entire world. I want to be sure that I am able to care for him every single day no matter what his needs are, and no matter how heavy he gets. He is my light.
If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
I will never forget getting the call that said I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was in my car and I immediately called my now husband and broke into tears. If I could go back I would have told myself that life isn't over. I truly thought "this is it". As I learned more and more about RA I found a way to fight for the quality of life I want.
Do you have a blog you would like to share?
Are you interested in being featured on Facing Forward? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!