5 years ago, I knew what it felt like to have enough energy to take my kids to the park. I knew what if felt like to be able to play with my kids on the floor. I knew what it felt like to be able to move freely. 5 years ago, I knew what it felt like to be pain-free.
When my doctor first told me I had arthritis, I thought she was mistaken. Arthritis was for old people. I was only in my thirties. My pain was from overdoing it at tennis. I just wanted a referral for some physical therapy so I could be on my way.
She explained to me that I had “rheumatoid arthritis” or RA, a disease that is blind to age. RA is an autoimmune disease. Essentially, your body’s immune system believes your joints are “bad” & tries to destroy them. In addition, like most auto-immune diseases, RA causes exhaustion. Not just, ‘I’m tired because I need to sleep better at night exhaustion’ - I’m talking about ‘unable to function at 1:00 in the afternoon exhaustion.’
Over the last 3 years, I have tried more drugs then I can remember. I’ve had allergic reactions, hair loss, weight gain, headaches, nausea, bruises, broken bones, fevers, insomnia, and multiple infections. I’ve had to give myself weekly injections, go through regular blood draws to make sure my liver is functioning, and deal with monthly IVs.
The drugs unfortunately, work by suppressing my immune system. I have had to keep myself as isolated as possible from anyone who appears sick, so as not to get sick myself. Not an easy task with my little one in preschool! I’ve had to stop and restart treatment several times now due to illness. If I am not able to stay on the drugs, I will soon be out of treatment options.
For the second year now, my amazing husband John, is running the Arthritis Foundation’s 5K Jingle Bell Run this December; not just for me, but for the millions of adults and children who suffer from this debilitating disease every day.
Like many diseases, there have been great strides made in research, but no cure.
Update 2011: Last year, I did in fact walk and finish the 5k and I plan to do it again this year. I am also incredibly honored and humbled to be this year's race Honoree.
Thanks to the generosity and support of some amazing friends and family, we have raised over $2,600!! If you would like to help “Team Toz” this year either by running/walking with Team Toz, or with a donation, check out our team web page. We thank you so much for your support!!
I'm Officially on Tour!
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Also I will be a guest on Marsha Casper Cook's "A Good Story is A Good Story" on BlogTalk Radio Today at 4:00pm EST along with Author Stacey Rourke and For You P.R. ~ Marketing and Public Relations.