Ashley Stays Positive Amidst Arthritis Diagnosis

Ashley Stays Positive Amidst Arthritis Diagnosis

If Ashley Krivohlavek’s life were a book, her latest chapter would have arguably been one of the most challenging due to an arthritis diagnosis just shy of her 30th birthday. However, the ever-positive Ashley has always chosen to find the silver lining in every hardship she has faced and arthritis has been no exception thus far.

“Arthritis has simply opened a new chapter in my life,” said Ashley. “A new chapter, with new challenges, and new adventures.”

Ashley began experiencing symptoms at age 29 and when her primary care physician ruled out an infection as the cause of her symptoms, the uncertainty of her health left her worried. Recalling that she had a family history of autoimmune diseases Ashley took matters into her own hands and immediately scheduled an appointment with a rheumatologist.

Her initial rheumatology results revealed a triple diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, and osteoarthritis of the spine. Ashley was thankful to have had prior knowledge of autoimmune diseases and credited that knowledge as a major player in receiving a prompt diagnosis. Her early diagnosis meant that she has since been able to treat her arthritis before it caused permanent joint deformities.

To control her arthritis pain, Ashley said that she takes a DMARD self-injection, folic acid supplements, and an NSAID. And while she currently has a treatment that works, she noted that there was a long trial and error period with different medications. Her first medication did not adequately control her pain and caused severe nausea, lack of appetite, thinning hair and a twenty pound weight loss.

“Finding your right treatment is not always easy,” Ashley said, “but if you work with your doctor there is hope that you can find some relief.”

However, even with a proper balance of medications, the effects of Ashley’s arthritis have presented her with enormous challenges as well.

She is currently unable to work full-time and has seen her finances suffer from the constant stream of doctor appointments and medical bills. On days where she is unable to drive or even do the simplest tasks most take for granted, like brushing her own hair, she knows she can fall back on her family’s solid support to pick her up and provide her with the loving assistance she sometimes needs.

Another drastic lifestyle change was the way she came to view physical activity. She decided that rather than be discouraged by not being able to run, she would focus on enjoying the low-impact exercises that she can do: yoga and meditation. Ashley wants to encourage other arthritis patients to stay as active as possible and find therapeutic exercises that keep the body active.

However, even with all the obstacles Ashley has faced, she has somehow found a way to stay optimistic and in turn, gain valuable insight about what is truly important in life.

“Arthritis has taught me three important life lessons – Take every day as it comes. Have patience. And listen to my body to take inventory of how I am feeling so I can plan my activities to make the most of them.”

As a new patient, Ashley searched for resources to gain insight and information about her condition and was thrilled to discover the Arthritis National Research Foundation. She said that she is “so happy to find a place that has a positive outlook on the future of arthritis and is contributing to improving the lives of patients like me!”

Ashley dreams of a world where every arthritis patient has access to medications, regardless of their income. To work toward making her dream a reality, she has become involved with local arthritis charities and through her work, has developed relationships that she cherishes greatly, striking up bonds to wonderful people that have had a huge impact on her and her outlook on her disease.

Arthritis has taken Ashley for a wild ride in the past year, creating physical, financial, and other hardships for her and her family. However, despite these trials and tribulations, the one facet of Ashley that her arthritis will never undermine is her positive attitude.

How would you stay positive despite arthritis diagnosis?
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Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

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