Tracy’s 5 Top Tips!
- Look after yourself! Understanding that looking after yourself in terms of food, activity and support is essential and gives a very strong sense of control.
- Use complementary therapies alongside your treatment if you are able. This can enhance your well-being tremendously, which has a knock on effect on the entire system.
- Believe you can get better! Belief is enormously powerful. I witnessed this from my very earliest days in hospital. The trick is, to never give up! Also, know life carries on. It’ll be a little harder perhaps, with maybe more ups and downs, but you can still find depth and joy when living with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Find a way to communicate to loved ones about how you are. This illness can vary so much on a day to day basis which can be intensely difficult and frustrating for others to appreciate. Working out how to calmly explain to others how you are, is therefore vital for both your own support and their sanity.
- Be aware of how you are. Learn to pick up deterioration and look at what might be affecting you rather than ignoring it. Celebrate improvements too and do more of what makes you feel better.
Being diagnosed with chronic illness can be devastating, yet even in the worst cases, with the proper knowledge and support people often find themselves to be more resilient than they imagined. Tracy Southern’s story is a typical example. Being struck down with Rheumatoid Arthritis (which today would be classed as JIA) back in the 70s, especially at the tender age of 13, would have have been a dreadful experience. As time progressed though, and, thankfully, her illness mainly subsided, she discovered tools that made a real difference, most notably homeopathy.
“I developed RA when I was 13. Over a matter of months I changed from a sporty teenager, who loved school, enjoyed being with friends and was on the edge of independence to being exhausted and immobilised by pain. Initially, pains and swellings were put down to sporting injuries, but as I lost weight, energy and became increasingly bad tempered and withdrawn because of how ill I felt, it became clear that something was seriously wrong. I was treated in an adult hospital because that was the closest specialist hospital available, and even now, more than 40 years on I can remember how grim that time was. RA can be a terribly painful and isolating disease, especially for the young.
Throughout my teens it felt as though there was so much of life I couldn’t take part in.
Thankfully, in my thirties the symptoms of RA subsided considerably and I was able to get by mainly on pain killers, but in hindsight, in rather bigger doses than was ideal. By my 40’s the disease was hardly active in terms of inflammation, however I have been left with a lot of damage to my joints. It was in this period that I discovered Homeopathy. Finding it helped me considerably – both physically and mentally, and as a result I went on to train as a Homeopath in London.
Nowadays, even though I have a lot of damage to my joints, I am still very fit – able to walk further, for example, than probably since I was first ill and I do not take any medication. I walk every day (just how far depends on the weather – even the dog doesn’t like the rain!) and I continue to use and practice Homeopathy and Australian Bush Flower essences which I find a tremendous support.
I had a flare up in 2015 which came as an enormous shock. My knees and ankles swelled and I could hardly walk because of the pain. I think that flare up, which happily subsided fairly quickly, was due to a combination of stress and digestion issues after a holiday in India. I do think diet has a powerful role in dealing with RA and I believe mental-emotional issues have a huge impact on our health.
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