Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Brief (not really) Overview

Hello everyone! My name is Ashley and as of tomorrow I will be 26. My passion in life is horses. I have been a competitive rider from a young age and everything about my life, somehow relates back to my riding. If I am not on a horse, I am around them, and if I am not around them, I'm thinking about them. I do have other interests, interests that I fit in between saddle time. I try my hand at photography and sketching. When I am not riding the trails I do not mind a good hike,especially if I can get in some geocaching. I want to see and experience the world, one thing that can pry me away from the barn is any ofer to travel. I love the beach and the mountains. I have the most amazing friends, a loving boyfriend and a strong relationship with my two younger brothers. I am active. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I was diagnosed with this disease when I was 12 and in eighth grade, as if high school wasn't going to be tough enough. I am a facebook user and most of my posts are fun, upbeat and undeniably quirky, with just a little bit of attitude mixed in... but I have another side.
A side I almost always keep to myself. The side of me that is in pain, the side of me that cries, the side of me that I try my hardest everyday to overcome as to be able to live just one more day without this disease defeating me. This is what I will be writing about on RAUnbridled. My day to day struggles and triumphs. I will use this forum as an outlet to help me get through the days that last the longest and share the moments that make the struggle worth it.

So what got me to this point...

About six months ago my RA took a turn for the worse, not just a nice little bend in the road, it was more akin to the engines stalling on an airplane, and I, the pilot, was left plummeting, free falling without the resources to avoid the crash.

Both of my knees had given out. I was left unable to work, unable to walk, and most tragically, unable to ride. I found myself, this girl that wanted to be able to see and do everything all at once, to revel in the world around her, bound to her full sized bed or confined to a wheelchair. I found that in spite of my pride and independence, I was utterly reliant on those around me. Seeing that my then current rheumatologist was proving to be useless, pumping me full of prednisone and failing to take x-rays, I sought treatment elsewhere.

After a few visits, four cortisone injections and a full set of x-rays, my new rheumatoligist sent me to an orthopedic specialist to discuss knee replacements. The orthopedist took a single look at my films, turned to me and asked when was the last time I was able to stand and walk. I informed him I could still walk, although very uncomfortably, a short distance. He was surprised I was able to stand and bare full weight during the past year and a half. All of the cartilage in both knees was completely gone, and the bones that had been grinding on one another were exceedingly eroded away . Needless to say, I was a candidate for a full double knee replacement.

My surgery is scheduled for this upcoming Tuesday (new knees for my birthday...woo hoo!!). Followed by weeks of rehab and physical therapy. This is going to be a tough ride, but that is something I am used to, and will hopefully be just a stepping stone in my unbridled journey.

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