I don't think anyone is as excited as Niki
This is Tricia. She's a Chicago girl, who works for an airline and travels everywhere. Seriously, meeting her makes me think I haven't been to enough interesting places. What I love about Tricia is that she doesn't let her arthritis stop her from doing any of it! That, and she has the same relationship with Ben & Jerry as I do with Sirena Gelato. Heck yes!
Age (Or age-range):
Location (general area is fine):
How long have you had arthritis?
2 ½ years. It took 4 years of doctors to get a diagnosis. Originally lupus was what they were leaning towards. I am sero-negative RA.
What treatments are you on now/have been on in the past?
At first it was just prednisone, then prednisone and methotrexate. Methotrexate made me so sick I insisted on trying something different. I am currently taking leflunomide (generic for Arava) and Humira with some toradol thrown in for good measure, as needed.
Have you noticed any changes with food? If so, how have you changed your diet?
My rheumatologist is not really into the whole nutrition thing but my primary care doctor is always giving me suggestions. I failed miserably at trying gluten free but I did find some things that I tolerate better. I am trying to reduce the amount of dairy that I eat but I LOVE cheese and would like to marry Ben and Jerry. I do find that fresh food makes me feel the best. I try to stay away from processed and fast food. I also try to avoid artificial sweeteners. Greek and Indian foods are my favorites and don’t seem to give any body part issues.
What keeps you positive on your worst days?
The thought that tomorrow will be better.
What are your favorite hobbies? Have they changed since you were diagnosed?
I love to read and travel. Music makes me happy especially listening to live music while drinking a beer. I like to be active and I still make it to kickboxing class 3x a week (modified depending on how I’m feeling but I still go) I don’t have a car so I ride my bike everywhere if that’s considered a hobby.
Have you traveled much since you were diagnosed? If so, how's traveling for you?
I work for an airline and the only perk I have left is travel so I am always going somewhere. My first trip after getting diagnosed was a bike trip thru the Netherlands. I learned that its not easy to pedal when the methotrexate makes you puke but I still rode 160 miles in 6 days. I also got super sick in Vietnam from dirty water. My immune system couldn’t fight it off and I ended up with travelers diarreaha for 6 weeks. That was a blast! There are not many western toilets or much toilet paper in Vietnam just in case you are planning to go there. I now prepare better. I start taking probiotics 30 days before I leave. I also carry Cipro with me and electrolye salts. I also don’t drink anything unless it comes from a bottle and I break the seal. I haven’t been brave enough to travel with the Humira. If my dose comes while I will be gone…I skip it.
How about work? What do you do for a living and how does your arthritis affect it?
I have a hard time finding work shoes that I can be in all day. Winter is hard because I am in an airport, everyone is sick and I am constantly washing my hands or using lysol on everything.
Have you reached out to others with RA? Any interesting connections?
There a few women at work with RA and that’s a nice support group. There is also a women close to my age that comes to my kickboxing class. That’s the best because its hard to find someone who is close to my age and as active as I am. We can compare treatment, achy joints and doctors. She’s in remission now and I am pretty jealous. I also like The Single Gals Guide to RA on facebook and she is an RA blogger. I really like Jodi McKee at http://www.jodimckee.com too. I think her portrait project is fantastic.
How do your friends and family handle dealing with your health?
I must have done something right in a past life because I have rockstar friends and family. The don’t always get it but they are unfailing in their support.
Who is the number 1 person in your life that helps you the most?
I don’t have just one person. Again, my friends are amazing and they all help with anything I need. The hardest part is me actually asking for help.
Share something fun about yourself!I have been skydiving twice, I camped in the outback of Australia without a tent, I held a monkey in Ecuador and this summer I want to go to surf camp at Surf Divas in San Diego.