I was 19 years old, and living my dream overseas in London, working and travelling in Europe, rock-climbing, dancing, and playing squash when suddenly my knees began swelling for no apparent reason. I had no idea at the time that arthritis was about to change my life forever.
On returning home to Australia, I joined my Dad’s squash team for one game – sadly it was my last. Within a 3 month period I went from being an independent fun-loving, active woman to a very sick, depressed and very sore woman.
It took 18 months of seemingly endless tests, doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, and eventually double knee-replacements before I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
I am ashamed to say that I told my specialist to stick his diagnosis and left the room crying. I didn’t speak to anyone for days. I just couldn’t cope with hearing about all of the terrible things that were happening to my body and about the drugs I needed to be taking for life.
I spent two years experimenting with diet changes and costly natural remedies before I accepted the help of my specialist and started progressing towards remission.
It’s taken a long time but with the support of my family and friends, I slowly overcame the physical, emotional and financial hurdles of rheumatoid arthritis.
I also attended a self-management course, and seminars held by Arthritis Queensland. To know that I wasn’t the only person in the world
going through this meant so much. Meeting different practitioners and learning how to manage my condition made me feel a lot more in
Finally, on a regime of Enbrel injections my disease went into remission about 8 years ago.
I have spent the last 12 years building the life I thought rheumatoid arthritis had taken from me in my early 20s.
I always wanted to continue to travel, build a career, and have a family. And at 43 years old, I am proud to say I have achieved all of that.
I’ve travelled extensively, for work and fun. I spent 4 years working in sub-Saharan Africa. I work full-time in scientific research for the CSIRO at St Lucia and have recently completed a Masters in Rural Development. I am a single mother to my beautiful daughter, Savannah, and own the home we live in. I am the independent and active woman I once was, before my arthritis diagnosis.
I love life again and appreciate it more than ever. I am so grateful that living with Rheumatoid Arthritis hasn’t stopped me living the life I always imagined. It simply means, I might need more time to accomplish what I want to. But accomplish it, I will!