Mariah Leach, 40, Rheumatoid Arthritis
How would you explain Rheumatoid Arthritis to a child?
Lots of people think that “arthritis” can only happen to old people, but that’s not true! I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (‘RA’) when I was just 25 years old. Even kids and toddlers can get a form of arthritis called juvenile arthritis.
What would you want the world to know about Rheumatoid Arthritis?
It’s important to know that rheumatoid arthritis can be an invisible illness. That means that even if someone with RA “looks fine,” they may still be struggling with pain and fatigue that others cannot see.
What does it feel like to live with Rheumatoid Arthritis?
It can be frustrating to live with RA. I can never be sure how my body is going to feel from day to day, and because RA is invisible sometimes I don’t get the understanding I need from the people around me. But living with RA has also taught me to pace myself and to feel grateful for everything my body is able to do.
What brings you joy?
My family brings me joy! Becoming a mom while living with RA was more complicated than it would have been without RA, but I have zero regrets. My husband, my three kids, and our silly dog are the very best things in my life.