Molly Shreiber has her own platforms and also writes occasionally for Creaky Joints and others. We interviewed her to learn a bit about her RA story, in anticipation of her participation in our RA power up this week! Here’s what we learned:

01 Can you tell us a bit about your journey with RA – going back to how it all started and what your experience was getting diagnosed?

In September of 2011, I went away for Labor Day weekend and noticed that my left elbow was really painful. I attributed it to carrying my bag through the airport. When I returned to Baltimore, I went to urgent care and was told I had tennis elbow. The office called the next day to tell me that my synovial fluid looked inflamed and to follow up with my doctor. Over the next month, I saw my PCP and ortho multiple times- I was given injections, told I was favoring it, etc.

By October, my elbow was locked in a bent position, I couldn’t reach my face or use a drive-thru. Within 2 weeks, my feet would get so incredibly painful that I had to sit on my butt to do down the stairs. I went back to my PCP in tears and begged for blood work. They drew countless labs and my inflammation levels were extremely elevated but I was also seropositive for RA.

I consider myself “lucky” that I tested positive and was immediately referred to a rheumatologist. I’ve seen friends struggle with getting a diagnosis for months, even years.

02 What motivated you to start blogging about your health and become an advocate?

I initially started blogging to share my journey and updates with family and friends. It also started as a journal for myself. As I became more knowledgeable about my disease and others started reading my posts, I realized that the internet really needed more patient voices.

Googling “RA” leads to terrible, frightening results. I’m doing my part to show that although RA is serious and isn’t fun at times, you can still work, have a family, and have a positive life with the disease.

03 Are there any strategies or resources that have been game-changers for you?

Twitter is huge. It has been so wonderful to connect with other patients that know exactly what I’m going through. It’s like attending a support group from the comfort of your couch or bed. Self-care is vital and I’ve learned that the hard way. When I don’t take care of myself, it affects my disease activity, my family, my job. I write self-care goals in my planner (such as rest, relax from 2-3pm, etc). I also say I live the “tortoise life” slow and steady. Everything is slowed down a bit (I don’t walk as fast, I don’t always get things done as quickly as I’d like) but I’m still making progress. Progress, not perfection!

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