About Me

My name is Kelli.  I am a married 31-year-old female with four children who has RA.  I was diagnosed  with RA at age 23.  Like you, this is not exactly how I planned my future. Yes, I always dreamed of being a wife and a mother but not a sore, crying, slow, tired, crippled one.  This is my story…
Growing up I always prided myself on being a very low maintenance girl who needed no doctors or medications.  Health and happiness came very easily.  I stayed busy with soccer, gymnastics, school, softball, biking, cheerleading, swimming, diving, dancing, wakeboarding, whatever!  I loved being active and being strong!  I found the boy of my dreams at age 15 and married him at age 19.  We had our first baby in 2000 and then another in 2003.  It was a few months after our second baby when things started going wrong.  We were in between jobs, with no health insurance, looking to move out of state when everything I had ever taken for granted got shoved out the window.  When I would get up to feed my baby during the night, and especially in the mornings, I started noticing my hands and feet were getting stiff and painful.  I didn’t know how to describe it other than “I feel like I am 100 years old.”  The day I woke up and had no use of one of my arms I knew I needed help.  The diagnosis came like a ton of bricks and has changed my life forever.  Rheumatoid arthritis…I hate those words.  Because we had no insurance I put off a rheumatologist for quite a while until I could hardly move…let alone change diapers, strap car seats and screw on sippy cup lids.  I was fortunate to find a doctor who was looking for participants in a 2-year-study for early aggressive rheumatoid arthritis.  In this double blind study I was given Methotrexate, Plaquenil and Sulfasalizine and also placebo Enbrel injections.  (I shot sugar water into my stomach and legs for two years!!!)  I thrived on this regimen and started regaining all of my range of motion and strength.  I felt great and believed I had beaten it for good!  After the study ended my doctor knew my wishes for more children.  I went off all meds and got pregnant shortly after.  My pregnancy was fabulous and I delivered another healthy baby with no problems. Every morning I would wake up and pump my fist and smile because there was no pain yet.  Each day was a gift.  I had some good years in there and became strong again.  My husband and I both felt good about having one more child come to our family and so I got pregnant in 2009.  Part way through my pregnancy I started having symptoms again.  I told myself, "if I ignore them, they will just go away… it's just the hormones and I will be fine once again after the baby comes."  However, I knew in the back of my mind I was preparing for another battle with RA.  My baby came five weeks early and I wasn’t too surprised as the pain and stiffness worsened with each day.  I spent most of 2010 in denial, trying every herbal concoction, injection, diet, cleanse, detox in the book.  I was NOT going to return to that life of meds, doctors offices, blood draws, x-rays, etc. 
Well, here I am at the beginning of my second battle.  I have been humbled into accepting that this is a lifelong disease and I won’t be cured.  I feel scared and alone a lot of the time.  This time around I have a deep need to talk and connect with others who share this disease and are also raising small children.  I get very depressed at my rheumatologist‘s office as I sit there with 60 and 70 year olds.   In seven years my children continue to be the only children I have ever seen running around the waiting room.   I pleaded with my doctor to give me a number or name of one young patient with whom I might be able to connect with.  She assured me that I was not alone and there were a lot of young mothers out there who have this disease but due to HIPA laws she couldn’t pass along any of that info.  I have turned to blogging as a last resort to help me gain a support group.   Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful husband and family who support me in ways I wish they never had to.  However, they will never know the pain and frustration I experience and I don’t expect them too.  I need someone who knows what a bad day feels like but has to get out of bed anyways to fix breakfast for whining kids.  I need someone who shares my same desire to be a great and involved mother despite the limitations we face.  I need someone to run new ideas by or discuss side effects with.  Most importantly I need someone who has lived through a bad day and can tell me to keep going because there are brighter days ahead.  That is my ultimate hope and dream for this blog.  Together we will find ways to thrive, not just survive, as mothers and women with RA.