My Story: Sheree

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

My Story: ShereeOne step forward, two steps back. Most people see backwards steps as a negative thing. But I figure those backwards steps aren't a disaster – it's more like a cha cha.

I was 27 and working for a pain management office doing psych evaluations and drug testing and LOVING my job, except for the fact that I was unexplainably sick. Extreme fatigue, fevers every day, unbearable pain. My primary doctor brushed me off, and basically said I was being a drama queen. (Prom queen, yes, DRAMA QUEEN?! Never!) So my boss at the time sent me for blood work and TADA! My RA Factor came in at a whopping 222.9. Rheumatoid Arthritis was the last thing I expected, but there I was, on the floor of my kitchen, crying my heart out with a diagnosis that would change the rest of my life.

Who has been there for you? How?

My dad has always been my rock. He's the one who picked me up off my floor and drove me to my doctor to tell him how wrong he was to blow me off all those years. From that day, 8/9/12, to now he's the one who picks me up when I fall apart. Reminding me to keep my head up, look at the glass half full and all those other positive things parents tell their kids to keep a smile on their faces.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I had to change a lot, both professionally and emotionally; but the one thing that took the longest to change was the fact I needed to accept my diagnosis. I was in denial for so long. Once I changed my mindset, all those other changes seemed easy.

My Story: Sheree

I needed to accept my diagnosis. Once I changed my mindset, all the other changes seemed easy.

You need to find something, anything, that can make you forget about Rheumatoid Arthritis for a moment.

You need to find something, anything, that can make you forget about Rheumatoid Arthritis for a moment.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

My Story: ShereeI can list a number of things I'm proud of. Graduating medical school, saving patients' lives, getting engaged etc. But honestly, when you live with a chronic illness, no matter what one you have, getting out of bed everyday is an accomplishment! Anything else we get done in a day is just a bonus!

We are one tough bunch of cookies!

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

This disease sucks, and it's going to suck for the rest of your life. But you need to find something, anything, that can make you forget about it for a moment. A pet, a friend, a TV show/movie that you can watch over and over again. Those are the things that are going to get you from one moment to the next. You never see bad days in photo albums. It's what gets you from one happy photo to the next happy photo that truly counts.

Is there anything else we should know?

I recently turned 30, I’m getting married in June, I still have a baby tooth and am hopelessly addicted to Sex and The City.

About Sheree

My Story: Sheree
My name is Sheree, I'm 30, recently engaged (woohoo!) and I'm a PA. I recently had two screws put in my foot due to a car accident (not RA thankfully!) so I have plenty of time on my hands to share my story and read everyone else's. And I must say, we are one tough bunch of cookies!
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