New wife, mommy, and RA patient

Last updated: May 2015

At 17 I started noticing my RA symptoms, but had no idea that I was facing a lifelong battle. I was a senior in high school, when I started feeling unusual amounts of pain, and an extreme amount of fatigue. My family and teachers all blamed it on the all too common "senioritis". I was a competitive gymnast for 10 years and had stopped my sport roughly two years prior. I brushed the pain off as "wear and tear" from the years of gymnastics I had put my body through. But then I realized that none of my previous teammates were having the same issues as I was. I had many flare ups and many symptoms but continued to ignore them and refuse to tell doctors any of my symptoms because I simply did not want to know what was wrong with me. I knew it was something serious, and was absolutely terrified at what I might discover. 4 years later, on April 19, 2014 I married the man I had been in love with since I was 14. He was in the Army so I had to leave my small town in Alabama for the big city life in Texas. About 2 months into our marriage we found out we were expecting our first child! I began seeing my midwife regularly, and told her of the symptoms I had been battling with for years, only because I didn't want there to be anything wrong with my baby. She immediately sent me to a rheumatologist. The testing began. Long story short my body practically "fixed" itself during my pregnancy, so I couldn't receive a definite diagnosis. They treated my pain with prednisone and plaquenil during my pregnancy and as soon as I delivered my baby girl, I had the largest flare up I had ever experienced. So naturally, my rheumatologist ordered for tests to be done right away. I was now officially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the ripe age of 21. With a newborn. In a town with no family, and only friends I had met through the Army. My symptoms only spread to more parts of my body after my pregnancy. In the few short months that I have been diagnosed with RA, I have went through many medicines trying to find the perfect "cocktail" to fit my needs. I am currently on Methotrexate, plaquenil, prednisone, folic acid, and celebrex. This is the best I've felt in years, but I am still having frequent flare ups while trying to keep up with my growing 4 month old, and my "stay at home mom" duties around the house. I mostly have a positive outlook on my new life, but occasionally get down and out about the quality of life I will be able to offer my daughter in the years to come. I pray daily that I won't miss out on playing with her in our backyard, or embarrass her by showing up to her kindergarten class in a wheelchair. I'm telling myself that God put me here, to help someone else that may not be as strong as me. But some days my faith falls weak. My next step is biologics, and possible joint replacements. This is my crazy, painful, and extrodinarily beautiful life as a new mommy, wife, and RA patient. Although it's tough to see at times, I am extremely blessed with the life I have been given. I hope to be able to make others, in my same situation, feel the same.

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