Danielle’s Story 

After a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis left her stunned, Danielle took charge. When doctors told her she’d be wheelchair bound, she found a new rheumatologist who helped her achieve remission. 

Danielle used to love to go dancing and play volleyball and softball. She used to love to coach her daughter in cheer, softball, volleyball and basketball. But one day, the typical aches and pains of a 34-year-old stopped being so typical.  

In February 2012, Danielle began to have debilitating pain in her legs and knees. It was hard for her get out of bed at times, and she was always exhausted. Her days of being so active drastically slowed down. She mentioned this to her doctor. He thought that she may have fibromyalgia and recommended that she see a specialist. After seeing a rheumatologist, Danielle received the news that changed her life. In May 2012, Danielle was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). She was devastated.   

Danielle’s rheumatologist told her that her RA would put her in a wheelchair by the time she was 40. At 35, Danielle was not taking being in a wheelchair within the next five years as an answer. That is when she switched rheumatologists and found one who was attentive and concerned. Over the next year, Danielle and her doctor tired multiple mixtures of medicines to help control the pain and stop the progress of this awful disease. They eventually got to the point that Danielle’s pains and flares decreased, and she moved into remission. Her RA seemed to settle, but the flares continued to plague her life. Danielle had to stop playing volleyball and coaching, and she was no longer the life of the party. On top of it all, Danielle found that she did have fibromyalgia as well.  

In February 2015, her doctor retired. Again, Danielle felt as if she was having another setback. She had to start all over again with a new doctor. In August 2015, she met her new doctor and set out the course of finding the correct regimen of medicines to ease her pain and minimize her flares.  As of today, Danielle remains in remission and her flares are no longer controlling her life. Her new doctor has finally found the correct path. She still can’t play volleyball, but she does go out and dance on occasion. She tries her best to get into the gym as often as possible. Through it all, Danielle has learned her limits. She has learned when it’s time to slow down and take it easy.   

Danielle takes each day one day at a time. Overall, she is grateful that she was diagnosed early. She is grateful that she has a doctor who has helped her stay out of a wheelchair.  She is extremely thankful for her friends and family who have supported her throughout the last five years. Mainly, she is grateful for her daughter, Brianna. On some days, Brianna assumes the mother role and takes care of her.