I was a fourteen year old and started feeling pain in my wrist. I played sport so first I thought it was an injury. One year later I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). My pain spread from the one wrist, to the other wrist, then to my fingers, knees, ankles, feet, you name it. It took me half an hour to get out of bed in the morning and half the day to loosen up. By the time it got to 4pm, I was done. The JIA never cleared, instead it became Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Over the years the focus has not always been on my RA. I am thirty one now and I think about it more than ever. I used to do whatever I wanted with no thought about how it would impact on me and my arthritis, whereas now it is under control because I put thought into my actions. My body has had its fair share of damage and I want to do what I can to ensure I do as little further damage as possible.
How do I keep my RA under control? Education, mindfulness, light exercise, diet, limited alcohol, my choice of job, positive attitude and the best of all, relaxation and sleep. I do all of this on only a small amount of medication. It sounds like a lot of things to keep track of but, in reality, they are all just tweaks to my lifestyle.
Before I go, a little bit more about me. I have a supportive partner and we are the proud pack leaders of a ten month old puppy. She is a rescue pup and she is the cutest. I am creative. I take analogue photographs. I make books out of recycled materials. I teach adults in Foundation Education, where I also get to be creative. I like learning. I enjoy live music. I go to as many concerts as I can. And I have re-watched Friends episodes over and over for as long as I can remember.
Stay tuned and I will explore some of the ideas that help me keep my RA under control and maintain a good life.
We rely on community funding to offer education, information and advice to people living with arthritis. Please consider making a donation.