Friday, August 26, 2016

Facing Forward: Katie

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: Katie
Diagnosis: RA, Mild Lupus, Small Fiber Neuropathy, Dry Eye Disease, Raynaud's Disease
Age at Diagnosis: 34

How are you currently treating your condition?
Methotrexate, Plaquinel, Lose Dose Naltrexone. I try to eat clean, healthy foods.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
Balancing work, family, and disease. Many days it feels like each one is a full time job and I get really overwhelmed. 

What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
My kids are 8 and 13, and I rely on them to "go get things" for me a lot! I have found that adequate rest is a must to get through the next day. I require much more sleep than I used to. I make it a priority to get 9 hours of sleep every night. During the winter, I set up a portable heater in my office to keep me warm, and I wear gloves all the time. I don't get as stiff and sore if I'm warm, and it's much easier to get through my work day.

How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
As my disease progressed I struggled greatly with acceptance. But, the more this becomes my day to day reality, the more I see how strong I am inside and out. I have a lot of life left in me. My children need me to be there physically and emotionally for them. They are my driving force! There are still a lot of unanswered questions about my disease, and I am having more tests and new treatments in the near future. This can be frustrating. I am really fortunate to have a supportive rheumatologist and family. I couldn't get through all of this without them.

If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
I was relieved to be diagnosed. It had been a long time without a formal diagnosis. I would tell my old self to take things one day at a time. Be involved in a support group and ask for help from family when needed.

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