Anna Mortlock is like any 37-year-old Mum who has to cope with being a Mum to a six-month-old baby. But her journey is different and more complicated than that of most Mums, and that is because she has been living with arthritis since she was 14 years old.

Baby Amelia is Anna’s whole world. Anna knew that having a baby had to be planned with her arthritis in mind. From not being able to be on certain medications, being careful not to overload her artificial hip joint, to possible fertility issues. It took them 18 months to have Amelia. Anna injected herself every day with medication to prevent blood clots. She had a C-section owing to the possibility of dislocating her hip during childbirth, but she still described the pregnancy as “manageable.”

“I battle with things like car seats. These are a bit tricky because of my damaged elbows and restricted movements of my joints in my wrists,” she says. “I find it hard to get information for Mums who have disabilities. It’s also difficult to find suitable baby equipment, such as car seats, carriers, and pushchairs designed for parents with impaired physical strength and ability”.

Anna says she copes by doing heaps of research, sifting through Google searches for relevant information.

“I’m also lucky to have a friend with RA, who was a few months behind me in her pregnancy. We met when we were both cast in “Orange” – a play written for Arthritis New Zealand by Geraldine Brophy, and we swap ideas for living with RA.”

Anna’s diagnosis

Anna was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) at age 14. Later it became rheumatoid arthritis (RA). She had her first hip replacement at 17. She went on to have many surgeries, one being the Sauve-Kapandji procedure on her wrists. This procedure is to immobilise the joint between the two arm bones by the fusion of the bones. The operation does preserve forearm rotation.

“I have also had a fusion done on my right thumb and a rheumatoid cyst removed from a toe. My left hip was again revised when I was 29”.

Anna has tried many medicines over the years. She started with “the usual” methotrexate and Plaquenil, and now, many years and many medications later, she is on infusions of infliximab every six weeks. This medication helps manage her Crohn ‘s disease, RA, and uveitis (a form of eye inflammation that affects the middle layer of tissue in the eyewall).

“I had a power port inserted not long after I started infliximab as long term RA made my veins impossible. The power port has been amazing and made infusions super fast and easy.”

All of this has not dampened Anna’s zest for life. She finished a dance degree when she was 25 and has danced her way through the diagnoses and treatments. “I was always determined never to let the diseases stop me.

Anna is also heavily involved in theatre – choreography and directing. “There are physical challenges around this, especially at university, but I was always keen to work out ways of getting through. I’d be able to dance and do the physical assessments, while at other times I sit on a chair or get someone to perform my choreography for me. The university was very helpful in this area,” she says.

Arthritis New Zealand

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Arthritis New Zealand

Arthritis New Zealand now invites applications from people or organisations involved in arthritis-related research for grants from the following funds for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.

Summer Scholarships

Arthritis New Zealand offers up to 6 summer scholarships valued at $6,000 + GST each. Applications open 3 August 2020 and close 18 September 2020.

Recipients will be notified by mid-October 2020.

Read more at the following link:

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Self Talk is important!
What are some of your positive messages to yourself?

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Lucky Dip!

We have a range of useful tools for people with arthritis and we want to gift them to you! All you need to do is gift us $10 and we will send you a random tool from our Lucky Dip!

*While stocks last. NZ delivery only.

Give a $10 Gift - and please add “Lucky Dip” in the comment box on the donation form

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Gadgets to aid Independence:
Arthritis New Zealand Arthritis Educator Cathie Dowell and Wairarapa DHB Occupational Therapist Franky Spite, bring you tips and gadgets to help aid your independence.

Watch this webinar:

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Arthritis New Zealand now invites applications from people or organisations involved in arthritis-related research for grants from the following funds for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.

Read more at the following link:

Research Results out: Evaluation of Gout Stop and Owning My Gout Management Programmes
Report by Synergia for Arthritis New Zealand and its partners PHARMAC and the Health Quality and Safety Commission. Download here:

Stilettos, sex and sleep- although not in that order 😉- lovely conversation 🎙️with @normanswan about high heeled shoes and pain exacerbation in hip #osteoarthritis @RadioNational

Volunteer with an organisation that has core values that resonate with your own, and gain valuable work experience at the same time.

Valerie Milne is a Researcher and has been key in advising us on the development of our peer support programme for the newly diagnosed.

#arthritis #volunteers

Peg and Jacob are board members and both have inflammatory arthritis. Read about why they chose to be involved in the organisation and what volunteering means to them…
#nvw2020 #volunteersweek2020
"By moving the email of Arthritis New Zealand to Office 365, GoCloud reduced the associated cost by over $50,000.”
#nvw2020 #volunteersweek2020
"For many Māori, mahi aroha is carried out for the benefit of whanau and iwi, it is often seen as an essential part of fulfilling their cultural responsibility to the wider collective."
#nvw2020 #volunteersweek2020

"Being involved with Arthritis New Zealand has taught me that no goal is unattainable with the right mindset and perseverance."
Find out how volunteer camp leader Matt, and the paediatric rheumatology team help people with arthritis.
#nvw2020 #volunteers
Meet Tessa, Hannah and Laura. Tessa and Hannah help us look after some social media groups and Laura did a few video clips sharing her personal tips for managing her arthritis. Thank you for helping us raise awareness!
#nvw2020 #volunteers

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