One of our members invites you to walk a mile in her shoes:
Q: Current Age?
Q: Age of Onset or start of symptoms?
A: 6-7. Teachers noticed that when I turned around I turned at the hips like I had a sore neck and told my mum. Soon after that lumps appeared on the backs of my palms that couldn’t be fixed with creams or explained any other way. Mum wonders now if maybe I’d had symptoms longer that she just wrote off as me being a careful kid. I never played roughly, jumped off things or climbed stuff. So maybe I was in pain earlier but didn’t know any better!
Q: Age of Diagnosis?
Q: Where are you located?
A: Melbourne, Victoria – Australia
Q: What is your profession?
A: Receptionist at a backpackers in the city. Also at uni studying to be a nurse!
Q: What are your Medical Conditions or diagnoses?
A: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis (however I sorted that out quick smart with a total hip replacement…)
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Reading, friends, movies, cycling.
Q: What is one thing your doctor didn’t tell you about your Autoimmune Arthritis that you wish they had?
A: If you’re not absolutely regimented in taking your meds you’ll move like an 80 year old at 23. He probably did tell me but I was 15 and knew better than everyone…
Q: If you could tell your past self something before diagnosis, what would it be?
A: You can still do everything you want. Listen to your parents. Do your physio. Take the medicines. I probably wouldn’t have listened to myself then either!
Q: What would you like to tell others newly diagnosed with Autoimmune Arthritis?
A: Research your illness. Know as much as you can. Ask a million questions. Find others out there – even if they just have a chronic illness, you’ll still have shared experiences and be able to share tips and tricks to coping. Never be afraid to tell your friends /family /workplace that you can’t be bothered. Your health is not worth it. If they’re good friends they’ll understand. If not, they’re not worth it anyway. If you wake up after 10 hours of sleep and are still tired – go back to sleep. Take it while you can get it! Steroids are the devil, but if you need them take them, they’re amazing… If you don’t like your doctor, find another. An educated, no nonsense GP is a must if you have a chronic illness. Find one and never let them go!
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: Laid back stress head. Ha!
Q: What part of dealing with your Autoimmune Arthritis has made the biggest impact on you?
A: Missing out on a childhood, growing up too soon. Kids with chronic illnesses are frequently mature beyond their years. Responsibility is pushed on us at an age where other kids are mucking about and being carefree. Missing out on school camps and classes really sucked. Joining a peer support group for adolescents with a chronic illness was one of the greatest things I ever did. I frequently think that if I didn’t have RA I wouldn’t have met so many awesome people or have the mindset that I do. I’m not judgmental because I know that what’s on the outside is usually poles apart from what’s really going on.
Q: Favorite quote?
A: Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt
Q: What are three random things about yourself that others may not know?
A: 1: I couldn’t put my own socks on my right foot due to very limited mobility for about a decade. Between the ages of 15-17 my Dad would put my knee high school socks on me and do my shoe laces up for me every morning. His work and my school were pretty far from where we lived so we both got up at 5.30am in the dark to get ready and travel together. It was like a secret little ritual we had. He never made a big deal about it, he just did it. Now at 24 when I think about that it makes me cry.
2. I cry at the drop of a hat! I cried the first time I did my own
shoelaces up after my hip replacement! My shoe photo is of the second
time I did it to prove that the first time wasn’t a fluke!
3. I love running. I just can’t do it for very long. Sometimes I have
dreams where I can run and run and run.
Thank you for walking a mile in my shoes!
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1 comment… add one
Thank you for sharing this!
It gave me some hope… i am 21, recently diagnosed and it hit me pretty hard … i’ve been in a wheelchair since i got diagnosed and am so tired all the time, and I’m at uni too!
It’s pretty stressful and upsetting, but i have my good days of better spirits !