Juvenile arthritis is something that I was born with so pain is a normal part of my life. When I was 25, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I did not change my life nor worry about the future, as I needed to live in the reality.

Like many Americans, I do not have insurance, which means I cannot get prescription medications without paying a steep price. Even when I had insurance, and could afford the medications, they really did not help me out as the doctor claimed they would.

Yes, this disability does limit me at times especially in the early morning when I am stiff or at the end of the day when I have simply done too much walking or work. I can sit maybe for an hour before the pain becomes unbearable. I can only be on my feet for an hour before my feet start to hurt. It is how my body works. I realize this and rest when needed.

Yes, that I could get Social Security disability however, I know that I am still able to work and bring in money to support my family as a single mom. I work from home, this way I can sit or stand whenever I have to.

I learned long ago that life is always painful when it is damp. Sometimes I work through the pain, but it always gets worse until I get my legs warm once more. I simply need to sit down with my legs covered in a blanket to keep my joints warm to keep the pain at a minimum.

Yes having rheumatoid arthritis does interfere with intimacy, as it hurts to be in some positions. Right now it does not matter as I am single, but when I am involved in a relationship the intimacy parts of the relationship suffer because of the RA. I realize this and this is why I choose to be single.

I have often heard getting more exercise will ease the pain. However as anybody that has any form of arthritis will tell you, some days are painful enough that exercise is the farthest thing from your mind. Those are the days to kick back, cuddle under a blanket, and endure the pain.

Losing weight is often rumored to help ease the pain. I have not found that to be the case. When your bones hurt, they hurt. They hurt as much when I weighted 140 as they did when I weight 235.

I have noticed that when I changed my diet to low salt and quit eating a lot of red meat I did began to feel better throughout my body not just with the arthritis but also with everything. When you put garbage in your body, you are going to get a rundown feeling. Now days I eat healthier foods that are rich in calcium, low in fat and salt and this seems to help with this pain of arthritis.

I know someday my body will seize up and quit working as the rheumatism cripples my body. So far, I have no crippled areas. I thank God for that every day. I still need to move around and do what I need to do in order to survive. I cannot function as needed if I am crippled. I know that someday I will be in a wheelchair but I am not ready to slow down yet.

Living with Juvenile Arthritis

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