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Arthritis Support Network launched: 2013
Arthritis Support Network Leader: Karen Type of Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arthritis Support Network Leader: Jamie Type of Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis
About this Arthritis Support Network:
We are a support group that provides a positive environment, listen to each other & offer feedback, education and awareness to share with family & friends, invites professionals in the fields to enlighten us on breakthrough with meds, Physical therapist to share good everyday exercises, etc. I would want to get feedback from the group on topics and be the catalyst to try to get the answers or guest to talk to us. We want to help expand the reach of the Arthritis Support Network in the Jacksonville area and get to know more amazing people to connect, share and learn with.
I developed RA at the age of 36, very abruptly overnight. At the time I worked for a Johnson & Johnson company in the Human Resource & Training and Development. I loved my job, but as my disease continued & worsened, I struggled on so many levels to "keep up". After 14 years of service - I SADLY had to leave the company on Disability. That was over 18 years ago. I have been on 3 drug studies that lasted several years each and am currently on one at this time.
The fact that I had NO ONE to talk to about this, what to expect, how to deal with the physical, emotional, and mental changes that I was experiencing threw me into a spiral depression in midlife. I just want to let anyone that is newly diagnosed with RA to KNOW that they have someone to talk to! I did not! As well as people that have had RA for years. We all need each other to lean on throughout this journey because I feel unless you've actually been in these shoes - you really don't understand the struggle we have.
Hi there! My name is Jamie. I am excited to be leading the Arthritis Support Network. I was officially diagnosed with RA in January 2016. I attended the G9 conference in Nashville with my Aunt Karen after I am still learning to manage this disease and all the randomness in the when, where and how intense the pain can be. I was initially diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my knees just after I graduated from high school when I woke up one day and just couldn't walk on it. The easy answer was to say it was from sports, marching band and cheerleading, etc and months of physical therapy. At 25, I was a single mom of a 5 yr old and diagnosed with breast cancer (chemo/radiation) many people asked how I kept a positive attitude. My response is always this... It's just another steppingstone in life. The next one is coming, like a meteor from the sky, it could be 5 minutes or 5 years, but you've got to be ready to catch it, accept it, deal with it, then throw it down and stand on it ready for the next. If we're not ready and we hold all those boulders, all it will do is sink us.
At 27 I was suffering from ridiculous hip and lower back pain and my diagnosis was more osteoarthritis. At 31 the cancer was back and I had mastectomy (and more chemo), but I just kept going, nothing was going to keep me down. I continued to be active and played on a kickball league for several years until it got harder and harder to keep up with the stiffness and pain. I began seeing a rheumatologist in 2015 so I could get a better diagnosis than "you've got arthritis". I wanted better answers and a plan to be able to manage my deteriorating joints so I could grow old. Now in my 40's and armed with more information and now a wonderful support group, I don't feel so alone in my journey. I love helping people, sharing my story and being able to inspire others who are facing their own adversity.
I chose to co-lead an Arthritis Support Network because I want to help others and myself get the understanding and support that we all need to not only survive, but thrive through the struggles. I look forward to meeting more amazing and inspiring people so we can support each other.
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