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about R.A. Raw & Lori MacLean
MY EARLY YEARS
I was diagnosed in 1979 at the age of 2 with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA), This diagnosis changed the trajectory of my life and the life of my parents. Doctors offices, medication, cortisone injections and physiotherapy became a regular part of our world.
By age 8 the JRA had spread to 85% of my joints and had also appeared in my eyes which later lead to temporary legal blindness at age 11. At age 14 i underwent ophthalmic surgery to remove the lenses in my eyes which, with the aid of glasses, allowed me to see clearly.
At age 10 the joints in my hands, elbows and toes had permanently fused=. My feet
despite surgical attempts to stop the process,
continued to deviate inward. These deviations and fusions restricted my mobility and made normal childhood activities difficult and often impossible. In nine short years JRA too my once agile body and perfect vision and changed it to that of someone decades my senior.
Despite my restrictions my Mom instilled the belief that I was just a regular kid who needed to find inventive ways to accomplish what I wanted. I believed at a young age that I was given JRA for a reason. After I graduated both high school and college, I began to chase my dreams and stand proudly in my truth.
After 36 years of living with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis I was told that I was in REMISION thanks to four years of treatment with the biologic drug, Humta and a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) Methotrexate. These two drugs, along with the anti inflammatory Celebrex, have allowed me to live with minmal pain, zero morning stiffness, and minimal swelling in affected areas.
I continue to monitor the health of my eyes with my ophthalmologist. Although damage that occurred in my eyes as a child can not be reversed, I am confident with the treatment presently being used to maintain the sight I have.
in 2017 I posted a video to YouTube which launched my channel "R.A. Raw." Through this medium I hope to "share knowledge and spark hope." I understand the feeling of helplessness and intend to provide hope that it does get better. Hopefully by providing a candid look at my life and through story sharing knowledge of Rheumatoid Arthritis will be gained by the viewer not afflicted with the disease.
In the future I plan to tour and share my story with audiences, I am developing a podcast and dream to writing a children's book focused on a child with JRA. All of these things keep me excited for the future!
If you would like me to share my inspirational story with your group please email: email@example.com or call (587)318-7573