By sharing our own stories, we can offer hope and encouragement for others and let people with Rheumatoid Disease know that they are not alone in this fight. If you're interested in sharing your story, please visit our story page.
Tell us a little about yourself and your family -- where you're from, what you do, what your interests are, etc.
I was born and raised here in the beautiful state of Texas! My interests include designing clothes and putting together funky outfits. I also love playing tennis with my friends to keep myself active and fun.
When were you diagnosed with RA/Rheumatoid Disease?
I was diagnosed at age 8.
What was your first symptom?
I woke up one morning paralyzed from my hips down. I could not move one bone whatsoever and had to be rushed to the nearest doctor.
What is the biggest way rheumatoid disease has affected your life?
Although my arthritis is challenging, it has created some beautiful achievements to me. I serve as a role model for girls in my school who also deal with autoimmune diseases. We meet with one another to uplift each up other that are battling a similar battle, it is a beautiful thing. The most challenging part of having my Rheumatoid Arthritis is getting bullied in school. This past December I was teased in front of class about how my JRA is fake and my pain is all for attention. The girls who said this in front of the class will never have to walk a day in my shoes or know what it feels like to sit hooked up to a machine receiving medicine. Although the bullying part absolutely hurt me into pieces, I had to remind myself that I am loved by my family and friends and people have a mean heart for no reason.
What has been your experience with treatments for rheumatoid disease?
My first medicine was Methotrexate, which only helped for a couple of years. My second and current treatment I have been on for 2 years now is Orencia infusions. This medicine has drastically improved my arthritis, it almost feels as if I am close to remission!
What do you want the public to know about rheumatoid disease?
That I am beautiful. No matter how many times this disease knocks my off my feet, I am a strong beautiful woman and I will not let it rule me!
How have you worked to overcome challenges presented by rheumatoid disease?
Reaching out to my peers when I feel discouraged. I've learned its okay to ask for help or if you need encourgement to get you through the pain.
What have you learned through living with rheumatoid disease?
That you need to take care of your body. What you put into it is what fuels you, make sure you are taking care of yourself and pain or else no one will.
What encouragement or advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed?
Better days are coming. I know it is a scary thing to get diagnosed with but I promise that you are loved and you are so strong, you WILL get through this no matter how severe the pain is.