From Devastated to Patient Leader
For many years, I experienced unexplained or misdiagnosed chronic pain in various parts of my body, along with frequent infections, fatigue, and emotional disturbances. Initially, doctors suggested it might be carpal tunnel due to my physical job as an esthetician or hormonal issues. They recommended rest, exercise, and wearing a wrist brace to improve the condition.
However, my symptoms only worsened over time, especially after giving birth to my son in 2012. Even during my maternity leave, the pain persisted despite rest. When I returned to work, the mysterious symptoms made it nearly impossible for me to excel in my job.
Considering my family’s history of arthritis, I decided to consult my family doctor and requested a rheumatoid arthritis blood test. Unfortunately, my family physician dismissed the idea because of my age and lack of visible swelling.
A few weeks later, on April 8th, 2015, I met with a Rheumatologist who confirmed my life-altering diagnosis of incurable and debilitating autoimmune disease – seropositive Rheumatoid Arthritis.
During the same week of my diagnosis, my aunt passed away, depriving me of a chance to seek her guidance on what to expect. I was terrified, lost, and felt utterly alone. Witnessing the impact of this disease on my aunt’s life, I wondered what it would mean for my future, especially considering I hadn’t even turned 30 yet. Arthritis seemed far off in the distant future. Little did I know then how serious and disruptive this illness could be.
However, I also never anticipated the unexpected path my life would take with this diagnosis.
If I’m going to be the sick girl, I might as well kick ass at it.
I created this blog in 2017 to write about my journey with arthritis as an advocate to educate and inspire others living with or without the disease. My passions lie in raising awareness for arthritis, whether it be through fundraising, awareness campaigns, writing, public speaking, participating in patient centered research or volunteer committee work. I proudly volunteer or partner with:
- Creaky Joints and Creaky Joints Canada – Writer
- The Arthritis Society – Ambassador and Western Council Member
- Arthritis Research Canada – Arthritis Research Canada Patient Advisory Board Member
- Pain BC – Patient Advocate
- Canadian Institute of Health Research – Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis – Patient Engagement Research Ambassador 2020 -2023 (alumni)
- Doctors of BC Shared Care Chronic Pain Advisory Committee – Patient Partner
- The International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis (AiArthritis) – Community Awareness Assistant