Hero Story – Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s not over.


I am my hero’s story# – I am enjoying writing the stories of my heroes.  They amaze and inspire me.  The people in these stories are astonishing.  I have shared with you stories of cancer, failed back surgery, multiple sclerosis, now it Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I love this quote, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”  When patient’s decide to write their own story AND their own ending, it’s humbling and an honor to see.  Just because a doctor said it, doesn’t means it’s true.  Everyone has their own path, their own journey, their own struggles and their own wins, triumphs and conquests.  You don’t know someone’s joy, pain or journey but I do know this.  You are NOT your diagnosis. Write your own story and write your own ending.

In 2005 they told Gay “You’ll be DEAD in 6 months.”  Her RA count was 2560 and normal is 20 or less.  “They” said you’ll be disfigured.  “They” said you’ll be in a walker.  “They” said you’ll never ski again.  But Gay said, “I don’t believe you.”  She decided in her story that she was going to be her in own hero.  You can beat your disease.  Last time we checked her RA count was normal.  She’s been beating the odds for thirteen years.  Despite that gloomy prediction, this amazing person ignored the medical prognosis and is WINNING.  Years ago, despite not being able walk without assistance, or bending her wrists and having all of her joints ache, throb and limit all movement, she kept fighting.  The diagnosis was bleak – “You have rheumatoid arthritis.  Here is your Rx for life.  Here is an anti-inflammatory.  Here is a pain killer.  Here is your immunomodulator.”  Gay didn’t want that life so she made a new one.  One of my first “breakthrough” cases.  We started on a plan to treat her every Tuesday until . . . . . . she got better or, well, the other one, which is not getting better.  That lasted for about a year.  After that intensive phase, we moved to some maintenance therapy every once in a while.  That was over a decade ago.  13 years of kicking RA’s a$$!  Now she snow skis, competes in triathlon’s, runs half marathons.  “she may not wear a hero’s crown nor fill a hero’s grave, but truth will place her name among, the bravest of the brave.”  When you meet people like this, your life just isn’t the same. Positive people. Unbelievable grit. Tough.  Beautiful.  I hope your take away is to WRITE your own story.  And now you have met another one of my heroes, Gay Rolfe.

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