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There's always light at the end of every tunnel

My name is Sumaya Gasnola. I am 62 years old. Just after my 50th birthday I started getting very bad knee pain and swelling in my knees and hands.

ONE morning I just could not get out of bed due to extreme pain. I went to the doctor and she examined me thoroughly whereupon she suspected RA.

She had xrays and blood tests done. After a few days the results of tests came and it was confirmed it is indeed RA and I was referred to a Rheumatologist.

The Rheumatologist then did a Rheumatoid factor test and reviewed my xrays and she confirmed it was indeed RA.

MY Rheumatologist sat me down n asked whether I know what RA was. Offcourse, at the time, I had no idea.

She explained that RA is the cancer of the Arthritis and also explained what it does to your body. I was very tearful as I did not know what awaits me.

Since then I have been in and out of hospital. Six months after diagnosis I was then diagnosed with Osteoarthritis as well as fibromyalgia. From there it was a downhill spiral for me. I was always in excrutiating pains and was hospitalised most of the times with flare ups.

That's when I realised I needed to educate myself as to what is happening in my body so I decided to attend the Arthritis Support groups as well as Workshops. That helped a lot.

In 2014, I suffered a severe Angina attack and was hospitalised again. I then had to have stents. After the stents I was sent home n one morning while trying to get out of bed I realised I'm unable to move my legs without pain and my leg was swollen. It was then discovered I have a DVT. So back into hospital again.

I had two procedures done on my spine already and now wearing a brace for my spine. I also make use of a crutch as I'm not able to stand or sit for more than ten minutes at a time.

I'm also running workshops in conjuction with the Arthritis Foundation of SA to educate ppl on the various kinds of Arthritis and Fibromyalgia.

I made a choice not to let this arthritis get me down. We can either accept and try to do the little things we can still do and carry on OR we can sit and be miserable for the rest of our lives. Today I focus on what I can do and not on what I cannot do. I find ways to cope with my condition.

I hope my story can inspire others as there's always light at the end of every tunnel.

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