Friday, March 4, 2016

Facing Forward: Angela

Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible chronic 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!

Name: Angela
Location: Russellville, AR
Diagnoses: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Raynauds
Age at Diagnoses: 40

How are you currently treating your condition?
I am currently treating my conditions with diet, Nerium, NSAIDs, and juicing. In the beginning I was taking 60mg of steroids per day. My body did not react well to this so I started researching foods that were good for inflammation. The results were so amazing I started juicing everyday and was able to get off the steroids.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
For me my biggest challenge was accepting the fact that I have a chronic illness and I would have to modify my lifestyle so that I could continue to do the things I love. I was a very active person and loved going to music festivals, camping, and hiking. Now when I plan something I have to worry about what the temperature will be, getting fatigued, and if my body will be able to accomplish the task without having to suffer for it later.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
For me staying warm makes managing tasks easier. I love my heating pad and electric blanket. When doing a task such as cleaning, I take frequent breaks. When going to the grocery store, I wear my gloves so that my hands don't get cold, as this is very painful for me. I also like to keep hand warmers in my pockets so that I can warm my hands when needed. When traveling I put a pillow under my elbows when holding the steering wheel for support. I also take frequent breaks to avoid getting stiff. I guess my biggest tip would be not to sweat the small stuff and know your limitations.

How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
I learned to "embrace the suck" and to remember that I have a purpose for being here. I love helping people and one thing I have learned form having a chronic illness is how important having a support system is. So its very important for me to be there for others in need.

If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was at work when the doctor called with my test results and I remember I just broke down crying. If I could go back, I would tell myself that the life I knew was not over - it would just have to be modified. And to remember that there are people who have it a lot worse than I did.

Do you have a blog you would like to share?
Yes, I blog at Rockin RA

Would you like to be featured on Facing Forward? If so, please send an email to  

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