My Story: My journey with rheumatoid arthritis
Afshin, a rheumatoid arthritis patient, shares her complicated journey towards health coverage and the security it has brought to her life.
My advice to someone with rheumatoid arthritis would be to not be afraid, and then know you can still have a good quality of life.
The first time I noticed something was wrong was my wrist developed a little bump on my right hand, which was my dominant hand.
So my parents took me to the ER and they misdiagnosed me as just a sprained wrist, and told me to follow-up
with a specialist. However, since I was not insured, I just never told my parents that it kept hurting.
And my parents being immigrants, they didn't know about the health insurance system. So they weren't really aware of the importance of it,
how it would work, where to even go to get health insurance. I definitely think that there are ethnic disparities in the treatment.
I think education is a huge, huge piece of it, and just bringing awareness. Same thing goes for mental health. I think it's just a lot of awareness
is still not happening. When I started working full-time I gained health insurance and it made a huge difference in my life.
It just-- it makes a whole dark room shine with light when you have health insurance,
and that's what it felt like to me. When you are looking for an RI doctor-- I looked at tons of reviews on multiple websites
to make sure I was picking the right doctor. And right from the beginning, I feel like I hit the jackpot.
I think my doctor was the perfect fit for me. Another thing that somebody may want to look at is the distance-- how far that doctor is from you.
My doctor was about an hour away, but it was closer to my work than my home so I would often schedule my appointments around that.
I think medications in general can be such a huge help for people who have rheumatoid arthritis because it slows down
the train, and that's how my doctor explained to me when I was really fearful of starting any medications.
So taking them on time and taking them as prescribed will kind of help you slow down this rheumatoid arthritis
train that has already began. I just-- being with my animals, and my friends, and my family--
that makes me really happy. I also have found a family of incredible people on Instagram and on TikTok.
And being able to connect with them and really know that there's somebody else out there who understands is so, so huge.
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