1. Today I was reflecting, with gratitude, about being able to walk pain-free. Of being able to type, pain-free.
  2. When I was 19, I returned home from my first overseas holiday and went to the doctor for swelling in my knees.
  3. The outcome of that was a referral to an Immunologist and a Rheumatologist. The diagnosis was clear.
  4. I had Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
  5. Living with RA (at that age) was horrible.
  6. There was very little in way of treatment and only managing symptoms with diet and immunology.
  7. I swallowed 25 pills a day.
    an excerpt from my diary.
  8. I just wanted to live like every other 19-20 year old. Except some nights looked like this:
  9. And others looked like me ordering a burger from McDonalds minus all the things that make it a burger from McDonalds!
    It once took 3 order/send backs to get it right and in the end I gave up and sobbed in the bathroom. I was desperate to feel 'normal'.
  10. And for one whole month I ate only fish. Yep, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just fish (and vegetables).
  11. It was hard going on my mum too. Mum was already Dad's full time carer and my part-time carer.
  12. I recall a low-low: one day, my inflammation was so bad in both knees and one elbow that I could not walk or use crutches. Mum carried my 20 year old body from the car to my bedroom. We both broke down.
  13. I eventually went on a weak version of a chemotherapy drug called Methotrexate. It was a devilish miracle.
  14. I didn't manage the drug well. Then again, I never really understood what I was taking either.
  15. Driving home from work one day, the "methotrexate fog" was so bad I nearly passed out at the wheel. I pulled off the road in time.
  16. I eventually pulled through those 'foggy' moments and my inflammation cleared up.
  17. Though I am clear of RA, I still get a bit worried if I feel 'warm' in my joints. It's mostly just fear playing tricks on me.
  18. Yet, here I am, forever grateful at the humbling experience and feeling the sweet little high of remission.
  19. Always maintain hope and action.
  20. 💜 + 💪🏼