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Sylvia’s Fight Like a Girl Story (Rheumatoid Arthritis aka RA)

Rheumatoid Arthritis RA StoriesHello, my name is Sylvia.  I am currently 17 years old.  I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 15, almost 16. I don’t want to bore you guys with a very long detailed story, so I will try to be short.

It all started with pain on my left index finger and my legs. Weeks passed by, and my pain was getting worse. I would be late for class all the time. It would take me 30 minutes to put on a pair of pants, tank top, and a shirt. Not to mention, I couldn’t button my own pants. The pain in my fingers and arms would stop me in doing a lot of things I wanted to do. One day I had to go to school, and I could not get up from my bed.  My legs, nor my hands, were strong enough to pick myself up. I sat there and cried. I was crying not only because I was in pain at that moment but because I was tired of constantly being in pain. I cried because I was frustrated that I couldn’t do things on my own because my own body was damaging itself.  I cried because I couldn’t turn my arm to turn the knob to open the door and because I couldn’t do the simplest thing of opening a water bottle.

The next 2 days were the same thing, so I considered independent studies.  I couldn’t keep missing school or getting to my classes late.  It was honestly the hardest decision I had to make. I lost most of my friends, my school activities, my prom!…everything that a normal teenager does while in high school. I’ve been on independent studies for 2 years now and will hopefully graduate in June.

I now attend a good hospital with a great doctor every 3 months for a checkup to see how everything is going. I take this medicine called enbrel. I have to inject myself with it once a week in my stomach.  December will be my 2nd year using it, and I’m still not use to it; I don’t think I will ever be. It hurts to inject it, but it’s nothing compared to the pain it saves me from. Enbrel is what keeps me going. Once in a while my bones do hurt, but enbrel is, for now, my savior.

I’m realizing that I have made this longer than I intended. But God does everything for a reason, and now I’m more sure of that than ever. When I was in high school I failed a lot of my classes and was no where close to graduating.  Now that I’m on home studies I’m much more dedicated to my homework and I have caught up on all my credits, and I am on my way to graduation.  If it weren’t for me getting arthritis, I would never have started  home studies, therefore, I wouldn’t be on track to graduate . So as I said, God does everything for a reason , and I believe this is the reason I have arthritis, so I can become a better person in life.

Submitted 3-25-13

The informational content of this article 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.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.


  1. Kathy Perry

    Hi Sylvia, I too have R.A. and became weak because it hurt so bad. I now take Humira and like you I feel so much better. However I never gained all my strength back. Last winter I broke my foot and looking back I think it was probably due to my continued weakness. Fast forward after the cast I was sent to physical therapy. I have my muscles back, and would not miss doing my exercises. Even my joints feel better after I get my routine in! I wish you no or at least not very much pain ever again. Much success with your future!

  2. Tricia DeVito

    Sylvia, You are so young to go through this – and deal with so much pain. Count yourself in there with your other blessings. You are doing what you needed to do and you see the benefit of finding some positive aspect to all experiences in life. I recall thinking two things when I got the first positive biopsy for my breast cancer diagnosis – I didn’t get hysterical or anything. At that time in my life I’d had so many losses in my life (someone at church said it sounded like it was raining rocks on my life) I felt I just took it in stride. But two thoughts surfaced as I left the clinic building, One was that I would see my mom sooner than later (she was one of my major losses), and the second thought was – at least it wasn’t one of my children. Sounds like you are someone who will continue to get stronger as you get older and maybe you will be there to aid someone in need – someone who has no one else maybe. May God continue to bless you with perfect vision – the kind of vision needed to see the positive things that move us through this life.

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