Greetings all… Although I have posted some shareposts, this is my first article for HealthCentral. My name is Chad Fisher. I am 40 years old, living in Edmonton, Alberta Canada, and no it is not that cold. I am married and have two incredible daughters. By day, I am an associate minister at a local church; by night, I look to help, inspire and motivate people to experience and live life to the fullest.
Approximately 30 years ago, at the age of 10, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (Polyarticular Disease). I approximate, 90-95% of all my joints have been affected; I can only think of certain toe joints that appear to be “normal”. In my lifetime, I have experienced going in and out of remission, flares, being hospitalized and living in various degrees of pain.
In August 2008, I was hospitalized with C-Difficile that once again triggered the JRA to flare. Today, I walk with a pronounced limp, have slight deformations in my hands and knees and move with limited mobility. Being so young and now living with this disease for 3/4s of my life, I cannot remember what normal is like. So on many days, this feels like my normal.
I may be a little different than others in that I do not use a lot of medication. When I was diagnosed, knowledge and treatments for this disease were limited. I was prescribed large doses of Tylenol; I received numerous gold shots and I can only remember 1 cortisone injection. Due to this, I learned to manage without medication, and I have taken that route today. I realize this is not possible for everyone and I do not recommend it without proper consideration and medical advice.
I manage the physical aspects of JRA through mainly exercise, although I am also trying to ensure I eat a proper diet. My exercise routine consists of walking on the treadmill and lifting weights. For my situation, this seems to help with my strength, energy levels and maintaining my mobility.
I think the coping mechanism that has the greatest impact in my life is my attitude. I have never been one to give up. I like a good fight and so I fight on, never wanting to give this disease the upper hand by giving in to it.
This leads to where I speak from. Sometimes I am misunderstood because I am not the most sensitive or easiest person to handle. I have lived like this for 30 years and in fighting a disease that has tried to ruin my life, I had to learn to be strong and push myself even when it hurt. So I tend to express myself with that mindset.
With that said, there is nothing more I care about than people, especially people who are hurting, whatever reason. My goal for my life, is to use my experiences, hardships and successes for the benefit of others. I want to see people happy, experiencing fullness of life and living the highest quality of life available.
People do not have to like or agree with everything I say, but always… always… know… I am pulling for you and care deeply about you. By the way, I love to cook. My family thinks I am pretty good at it or are just being really nice.
I look forward to interacting with this community in the future. Blessings!
Chad is also the author of the blog: http://www.livingwitharthritistoday.com
Published On: November 10, 2011