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Kelly’s Story (Rheumatoid Disease)

Kelly RA StoryI came home from work one morning and my index finger hurt like hell, didn’t think much about it I get banged up all the time. I’m a paramedic for a busy 911 service and I work 24-hour shifts. I’m also a wife, mother of three young adults, and grandmother to three grandchildren.

I had just turned 45 when I noticed the first symptoms. The day I decided to call my doctor all the knuckles on both of my hands looked as though they had marble sized water balloons on them. I went to the doctor got an order for blood work and was told it could be up to a week before all the results were in. So I went the next morning around 7AM had blood drawn and the doctor called me at 1PM, the same day, asking if I could come back to the office now.

The news was quick, I was seropositive for Rheumatoid Arthritis.

She made a few calls and pulled some strings and I was being seen by a local rheumatologist that usually has at least a 6-week waiting list. Sure enough after more tests and blood work, RA was the diagnosis. The only family member I have with it is a second cousin on my moms side. So we started off with the usual medications; prednisone and methotrexate, which proved to be of no use.

Now here I am,  almost 8 years later the RA has not slowed much. I don’t have any deformities as of yet, but I do have plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, two sinus surgeries from chronic sinus infections, and allergy shots to help reduce the allergens outside. I have been through eight different medication changes, Achilles tendinitis with a side dose of cubital tunnel in both elbows.

But, here I am still killing it as a medic working 120+ hrs in two weeks. I not only work my regular shifts, but I also fill in for co-workers going to school, special detail of stands for sporting events, show-n-tells, and any other extra events that the county may ask us to do.

I have noticed lately though that I’m having to slow down just a bit, but I will continue to work as long as I can safely do the work. Yes, I have RA, but I will not let it keep me down, I’m “FIGHTING LIKE A GIRL,” the best way I know how.

Submitted 05/14/2018

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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One comment

  1. Katy

    Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your story, It doesn’t sound like you are going to let anything come between you and your passion for life. Many blessings to you.

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