My Story: Margaret Norton

Subscribe to our Newsletter

We are building our Rheumatoid Arthritis community.

Sign up to receive updates.

New Life Outlook on FacebookSubscribe with Facebook

OR

What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

Around 2001 I had intense swelling in the third and fourth fingers on my right hand. An orthopedic surgeon said it was synovial fluid causing it and referred me to a local rheumatologist, who prescribed me Plaquenil.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I take more "me" time to rest, relax and take care of myself. I have learned to not stress out over things that I have no control over. I sleep more, and go to bed and get up at same time every day. I wear rubber gloves when pumping gas. I use a cane when the pain in my knees, hips, feet and toes is on a rampage.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I try to take care of myself. I walk for exercise every morning in WalMart. I drink plenty of water and very few sodas, and eat plenty of vegetables. Though overweight, I have lost 65 lbs over the past few years and will continue until I reach my goal.

I take more "me" time to rest, relax and take care of myself.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband makes me rest, opens doors for me so I won't come into contact with extra germs and he reminds me to go to bed on time. I have always been very independent, but now he does things for me, like carries the laundry basket into the room for me to fold clothes.

We have no children. My husband insists on driving me to doctors appointments because it is a 45 minute drive to our physician and rheumatologist. I recently broke my ankle in two places and was out of work for five weeks. With my knees already fairly stiff, it was a tough time, but my husband was there to care for me, along with my church family. He is so understanding of my pain and my limited abilities.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband makes me rest, opens doors for me so I won't come into contact with extra germs and he reminds me to go to bed on time. I have always been very independent, but now he does things for me, like carries the laundry basket into the room for me to fold clothes.

We have no children. My husband insists on driving me to doctors appointments because it is a 45 minute drive to our physician and rheumatologist. I recently broke my ankle in two places and was out of work for five weeks. With my knees already fairly stiff, it was a tough time, but my husband was there to care for me, along with my church family. He is so understanding of my pain and my limited abilities.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I have just completed 20 years with the company I work for. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about three years into my tenure, and then after six years I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. When I was hired as office manager with the hospice agency ten years ago, it was a giant step up. I am blessed to have a great team to work with, and I have been able to work every day with no absences due to the RA. I have also taught a Sunday school class for 17 years, and though I have had very bad days I have not missed any because of RA.

I choose to keep my chin up and face it.

What's your advice to someone else living with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Do not be afraid to seek professional help. Find a doctor who is patient oriented. A rheumatologist knows the symptoms and can help you learn to help yourself. Be honest with your rheumatologist; he cannot treat you if he does not know your problems. Do what he tells you. And listen to you body — it will let you know when to slow down and when to stop.

Is there anything else we should know?

Sometimes I want to cry and say, “Why me?” and have a big pity party. I’ve thought about that many times, but I tell myself that all it would do is give me red and swollen eyes. So I choose to keep my chin up and face it.

I always smile. My husband is the only one who has ever seen me fall apart from the pain, except for a coworker a few weeks ago when the barometric pressure was going crazy and we had lots of storms. She saw my face and said, “You don’t look very well today, are you OK?" Of course I told her I was fine, but after a few more questions and I fell apart. She held me in her arms as I sobbed like a baby. She reminded me about how I was the encourager, and that the office staff gained strength from me as I encouraged them and kept my faith. Tough? No, I am blessed!

About Margaret Norton

My Story: Margaret Norton
I am 64 years old. I have no children but a wonderful husband of 42 years. Over the years I’ve been on and off various medications and weathered numerous flare-ups. Right now I feel much better right now than I have felt in over two years. Each day is a new beginning.
Share

We learn from each other

We all have a voice.
What's your story?

Submit your story