I live in the beautiful western mountains of Maine. I lived most of my life as a very healthy woman who enjoyed outdoor activities, photography, and gardening.
Everything changed in 2013 when I was diagnosed with Seropositive Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Early in 2013, I knew that something was wrong. While on vacation, my left foot became swollen and I started to limp. Then another joint became swollen, then another, and another. A quick Google search told me that this could be RA. I was terrified. Upon returning home I went to my doctor who ordered blood tests and sent me to a specialist.
Is there anything that helps you to rise above your condition? (Include anything that has worked for you. Examples: conventional medication, supplements, alternative treatments, diet, your faith, religion, healers, spirituality, exercise. Please also include any advice, tips or tricks you may have)
The more research that I did on the possible causes of RA, the more resolved I became to fight back. The first thing I did was to find a good Naturopath because I wanted to work with someone who could help me to look for the root causes. She started with my gut. I began taking probiotics and eliminating foods that can cause inflammation. I also learned that I was Vitamin D deficient so began taking a good quality supplement. When a test confirmed that my Candida level was high, I started to avoid food products with yeast. I’ve taken many supplements over the last 4 years to support various deficiencies. My current medications include a weekly self-injection of methotrexate along with occasional steroid injections when joints flare, along with daily fish oil, liquid folate, turmeric, and a good multivitamin
Along with regular appointments with my Rheumatologist and Naturopath, I’ve also seen reiki healers, psychic intuitives, a nutritionist, and an acupuncturist. The wisdom that I’ve gained from seeing many providers has made a huge difference in my life.
What does life look like at its best with your condition? (Describe what a good day looks like)
I worry that although I feel very good today with little inflammation, it could change tomorrow.
What challenges have you faced in regards to your specific situation?
I’ll never forget the day that I was told by a Rheumatologist that I had RA. I sobbed for days. It felt like my life was over. I went from having full ability to disability in a few weeks.
They say our life experiences shape who we are. How has your condition molded you to the person you are today? How has it inspired you and what strengths have you gained from your health journey?
Being diagnosed with a chronic illness changed me. I became more determined and more fearful. As a photographer, having RA has changed the way I approach artwork as well. Last year I developed a series of images to support those who live with chronic illnesses. This year I started writing about my experiences for The Mighty.
What is the one life motto or mantra that helps you to keep fighting/going on with your condition and why?
My motto is – ask, believe, receive. Try it for yourself!
Spirituality plays a big role in my life. My belief that thoughts are energy, and energy creates form, has helped me to get very clear on what I want in life. This year my vision board is focused on remission. I’ve used vision boards for at least 10 years and I can prove that they really do work. Last week’s appointment with my Rheumy confirmed that I am (nearly) in medical remission.
I encourage anyone who has a chronic illness to think positive, do a vision board and ask for healing, and use your health plan to its full capacity. If you aren’t happy with a provider’s advice, get someone else. Find the best people to help you. You deserve all good things. Namaste.