Taking Charge of RA
Last updated: April 2023
Having found hope in reading others stories I thought I would take to share my own!
So here goes nothing...
Diagnosed with JIA
I was first diagnosed with RA at the age of 14 back in 2017. I was initially put on a short dosage of sulfasalazine as well as regular steroid injections.
Having missed a lot of school due to hospital appointments and illness due to the disease I quickly became known as the girl with the “old lady's disease”.
Fast forward to my GCSE year when I contracted glandular fever and was taken off all my RA medication in order to fight the infection. I ended up in the hospital due to complications with my spleen and being unable to fight the illness due to my unstable immune system.
Luckily I got out just in time to sit my GCSE mocks with a severe lack of revision and struggles with fatigue😱
Things began to improve during my A-level years. This led me to believe I was “cured” as such and I made the decision to come off my RA medication🥴.
Results of coming off RA medication
I am now 19 in my first year at University studying law in charge of my own health for the first time ever. It has not been easy to say the least.
Having ended up in the hospital 4 times with infections during the first month of uni and struggling with the fatigue and illness of the condition I had to revisit my rheumatologist.
Last week I got put back on sulfasalazine having refused methotrexate over fears of my hair being affected and not being able to enjoy a drink (classic priorities of a 19-year-old girl as you can imagine😬), as well as anti-inflammatory medication and regular steroid injections.
I now have to visit the hospital for blood tests, scans, and checkups every two weeks, having discovered permanent joint damage to my elbow and knee as a consequence of not treating my RA.
Overall, RA has taken my netball career, my relationships, and at times my smile from me; it has knocked me on my ass and made me change my future plans several times.
Not this time. This time I’m ready to fight. I will not let this “old lady's disease” take who I am.
Did you know rheumatologist Dr. Donica Baker is answering community questions?
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