Hey guys! I hope you’re doing great and that you and your family are happily COVID-19-fully-vaccinated people by now.
I’ve been gathering some Rheumatoid Arthritis related questions from you throughout the last couple of years and I thought it was a good idea to put them all together in one blog post that I can update as I get more in the future. So please think about this page as a “live resource”.
This blog post will always follow a “Q&A” layout. You can always submit new questions through this blog, or my Instagram account and I’ll do my best to post the answer right here.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor and all the answers I will provide are completely related to my own experience as a long-term Rheumatoid Arthritis warrior and survivor. Please talk to your doctor!
Without further ado, let’s do this!
What were your initial symptoms?
I was around 20 years old when I woke up and just couldn’t move any part of my body, I immediately called my mother who helped me stand up. Once I was able to move again (it took about 15 minutes), we started the “doctor rounds” and I ended up with a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Juvenile Arthritis.
I didn’t have any specific symptoms at that time, I worked our early in the morning, I was in college from 7 AM to 1 PM, doing extra curriculars from 2 PM to 3 PM and working at Blockbuster (yes, I’m old) in the afternoons. My doctor said stress and food played a huge role in my diagnosis.
What medication are you on right now?
I am only on Methotrexate with the occasional antioxidant medication.
What do you recommend to people that was just diagnosed with RA?
Ask questions, start understanding your body and follow your doctor recommendations. I know being initially diagnosed with a chronic disease like RA is VERY overwhelming the first year, there’s a lot of pain involved and changes in your body.
Everything you feel this first year is new to you, and it is not pleasant. You will be able to have a better life and fight this disease the more you know about it. Use your doctor’s appointments as Q&A sessions, keep a journal and prepare questions for your rheumatologist. This is a new topic you will learn about that will benefit your body a great deal. You can try the VIM app!
You must know what foods, medication and habits are positively and negatively affecting your body. Try to keep an online journal to track your emotions and blood tests. Little by little you will understand your own body.
Always select a doctor in which you can TRUST. You will have a long relationship with this person, and you must respect and trust them. Ask around for references, google them, talk to them. It is important that you feel completely comfortable with this new person in your life.
What kind of exercise do you do?
I try not to limit myself in anything, exercise included. However, I try to keep it very low impact the important aspect of this is that you MOVE no matter how. What I do includes:
We see you on Instagram drinking alcohol; how much do you drink?
Yes, I do like to drink. For me there’s nothing better than a summer day and my negroni, my Aperol spritz or a cold glass of chardonnay. I am human. I do try to have a drink or two on days I know I CAN. It is important to check with your doctor if having a glass of wine is ok with your treatment. Be mindful that alcohol can suppress the efficacy of your meds, so you must be careful with this very sensitive topic and always talk to your doctor about it.
These are the most common questions you guys have asked so far. I will be adding more as I group them over time.
It is important to me to introduce you to an institution very near and dear to my heart, the Arthritis Foundation. This institution provides educational materials for all of us Arthritis warriors, their/our goal is to fight to find a cure for this disease. You can learn more about their amazing work on their website.
I’ve been working as a volunteer with the Arthritis Foundation since for only a few months now and I plan to continue my support for the rest of my life. If you want to help with our goals, you can do it in two ways:
Help us out to know more about Arthritis. The foundation has an INSIGHTS program where we constantly survey arthritis patients to improve our resources and work on more impactful research. You can take this survey right here; it will take around 10 minutes to answer.
Help us get to more people and to support meaningful research by donating your money. Every single dollar will help. You can use this link to support this cause, it doesn’t matter the time of the year!
I appreciate all your messages, emails, and comments. I hope all the information of this post is useful to you in a constant basis.
Let’s do it!