Jodi McKee

Kelly

Jodi McKee11 Comments

Kelly
Drexel Hill, PA
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How has your condition impacted you?  I was diagnosed with Grave’s disease when I was 30.  At the time my endocrinologist told me that having one autoimmune disease opens the door for other autoimmune diseases to develop.  I didn’t take that information too seriously at the time.   Ten years later I’m managing 5 diseases.  

Rheumatoid arthritis is usually my main health concern, but all of the diseases can kick my butt from time to time.  It’s not always easy to manage multiple prescriptions and doctors appointments, along with daily life especially when joint pain and fatigue make simple things like walking and driving difficult. I had to learn how to rest and be kind to myself.  The hardest thing has been realizing that I need to ask for help now and again.  I still struggle with that the most.
 
When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in my late 30’s I thought it was the end of the world.  Now I know it’s just a different way of living in the world.  I have a good life even though it isn’t the life I envisioned and it did take me a while to accept that.


What would you want people to know about your condition?  Whenever someone hears that I have autoimmune diseases they always say, “But you don’t look sick” or “you’re too young to have arthritis”.  I want people to know that having an autoimmune arthritis is different from osteoarthritis.  It can affect people at any age, including childhood.  According to the Arthritis Foundation,  “Rheumatoid Arthritis  affects 1.3 million Americans. Currently, the cause of RA is unknown, although there are several theories. And while there is no cure, it is easier than ever to control RA through the use of new drugs, exercise, joint protection techniques and self-management techniques. While there is no good time to have rheumatoid arthritis, advancements in research and drug development mean that more people with RA are living happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.” 


There is a lot of information out there...some good and some bad.  I’ve joined the Arthritis Foundation and Buckle Me Up! Movement to help spread awareness of autoimmune arthritis disorders like RA & Sjogren’s Syndrome.


What would you want to tell someone who is newly diagnosed with your condition?  It is important to find a doctor that you feel comfortable with and can have open and honest communication.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions about recommended treatments and holistic alternatives. I also recommend seeking out support groups or counseling because managing a non-curable disease can be overwhelming at times.  Know that you are not alone and don’t be afraid to ask for help.


Thank you so much Kelly!