Living with arthritis- Maree's Story

"The greatest challenge in having rheumatoid arthritis for me was coming to terms with having a chronic illness that would never, ever go away. I was forced to change how I saw myself, as a fit and active person, and accept that my body was going to, in many ways, dictate how I lived my life.“

We first met Maree at an Arthritis Queensland Self-Management course about 8 years ago. Since she was diagnosed with RA, she has completed a Master of Arts and a PhD in Creative Writing (so we should really call her Dr Maree!!!). But this journey was not easy… She had already started her Masters when she was diagnosed with RA and had to take some time off while she learnt how to manage her condition. Maree has said that financially it has caused big challenges as well.

“When I was diagnosed, I was at the point in my career/family life where I should have been starting to get ahead. Suddenly I was looking down the barrel of destitution. I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to earn a living, if I'd be able to work. I thought I might lose my house. I've been lucky that things have worked out reasonably well, and I now have a stable, permanent part-time job that I can cope with. But RA has made my financial future a little shaky, and has definitely affected my earning potential.”

Maree’s passion is writing and her imagination is amazing. She has written a number of short stories and novels and is about to be published in a short story anthology called 'Defying Doomsday'. Maree has been a wonderful support for many people who share her condition and when we asked her recently where she saw herself in 10-20 years she replied…

“I don't think a lot about where I might be in 10 or 20 years. I never have been one for long-term plans. I would like to be a full time author, earning good money for my writing but if that doesn't happen, that will be okay. I hope to be able to continue to manage the RA well, as I do now. As long as I can write, I'll be happy. I also hope I'll be spoiling grandchildren but of course that's out of my hands!”

We would like to sincerely thank Maree for sharing her living with arthritis journey with us, and we look forward to reading more of her work in the future!