My name is Alice and I’ve lived with Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was eight years old. Since age eight I’ve had to endure multiple surgeries including total hip and knee replacements, years of physical therapy, various drug treatments, losing the ability to walk, joint deformities etc... As a teenager I would go into isolation and cut myself off from the outside world. I would become depressed because of the pain and not being able to do the simplest things most people take for granted. Many times I let the disease dictate who I was as a person. It controlled my interaction with others, my social life and the perception of myself.
Having to deal with the way I looked on the outside and how I felt on the inside made me feel embarrassed to be me. I knew I couldn’t go on living life the way I was living it. I was tired of feeling depressed, lonely and ashamed. I finally realized through prayer and my relationship with God and family to learn to love myself. I am who I am and if I don’t accept and love the true me I can’t ask anybody else to do the same. It’s been a long journey and I still have some mountains to climb but I’m learning to be comfortable in my own skin and love myself. This disease hasn’t destroyed or defined who I am as a person. What this disease has done has created a courageous, determined and strong woman.