Kathryn experienced bouts of depression after her RA diagnosis. Her family taught her that there is good that comes from everything. But, when you are in pain every day, it takes its toll.
Kathryn Rand has battled rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for years. At 10 years old, she recalls having severe back pains. In high school, she started having shoulder pain when she played her favorite sport, golf. She was very discouraged when MRIs only showed severe inflammation instead of a definitive answer. She received multiple cortisone injections throughout her teen years and assumed her pain was from overuse golf injuries.
At 17, Kathryn began to have pain in many other joints and fluid accumulation in her body, especially her feet, knees and elbows. Finally, she was referred to a rheumatologist. At 19, she was diagnosed with RA. Kathryn began treatment, having fluid removed from her joints, taking steroid injections and trying nearly every medication. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), self-injections and infusions gave her some relief.
Though she experienced many setbacks, Kathryn fulfilled her dream of playing collegiate gold at Wingate University. She played through her pain and friends assisted her off the course by helping her get dressed and holding her hand during injections.
Kathryn also experienced bouts of depression and tried to be positive at first. Her family had taught her that there is good that comes from everything. But, when you are in pain every day, it takes a toll on you. Not wanting to be in pain for the rest of her life, Kathryn turned to her faith and quickly realized it could always be worse. She decided she could help others and became involved with the Arthritis Foundation. She even pulled her friends and family into supporting her efforts as well.
Kathryn figured out, through trial and error, that exercise and movement helped tremendously to lubricate her joints, especially swimming. She began exercising daily and decided to become a physical therapist so she could help people understand how movement truly is the best medicine. Kathryn hopes to work as a physical therapist for kids and young adults with RA. She knows she can help them with pain management while being able to relate to them through their journey.
Today, Kat continues to receive injections and is very thankful for her support system of close family and friends. She is grateful for her experience as she claims God has a purpose for everything and he does not put you through anything you cannot handle. Today she manages her pain through mostly exercise and infusions and is in very minimal pain.