Hi there warriors! Or those reading who know a warrior !
I am Paulina, aged 23, born in Poland, but raised in England from the age of 10. Dancer,
yoga teacher and passionate lover of spreading positivity. My journey with rheumatoid
arthritis started at the age of 18.
One morning, I woke up, and it felt like I had literally been in a very bad accident, with
memory loss. All of my joints were hurting, my wrists, fingers, elbows, knees, ankles… But
mainly my wrists and fingers… It was a very strange pain I have never experienced before,
so I decided to see my GP, general practitioner. As expected, he prescribed me ibuprofen
and paracetamol for 2 weeks to see if it eases off and only then we could look into it more.
So I did that, but it didn’t really help.
My mother was helping me get dressed, do my buttons up, put my jeans on and off, help me
make a cup of tea as I couldn’t lift up the kettle with one hand… Something was clearly very
wrong. I went to see my GP again which didn’t really do anything, and in England, unless
you are referred to a specialist you cannot just go and see one, well not on the NHS, maybe
privately yes. So I decided to go to the A&E one day. As soon as a doctor from the A&E
writes a letter to the GP that something more has to be done, only then they woke up and
actually sent me to a specialist.
We did some blood tests, scans, MRI's… and actually they didn’t show many signs of
arthritis, and I was diagnosed mainly on the pain and inflammation that was visible. On that
same day of my diagnosis, I was given a general steroid injection to help with the overall
flare, and I was given methotrexate pills of 25mg a week, with the usual folic acid a day after.
The steroid injection didn’t help at all, so I was then given some steroid pills to see if that
helps, and luckily it did.
When I got home after being diagnosed, I immediately started turning to Uncle Google for
help. As no one in my family has arthritis, and we don’t know anyone with it, it was all very
new to us all. I started implementing all different natural things I’ve read. I am very anti
medication, especially if I know I will have to be on it for the rest of my life, I would do
anything natural if there is at least one chance of it helping me.
Then 6 months into this journey, I did something I really don’t advise anyone else to do. I
stopped all my medication overnight. Why? Because I was silly and selfish and I thought my
natural ways would help me. Through my journey on the medication I was experiencing
three of the main side effects, hair loss, fatigue and headaches. So I was just sick of it.
Driving back from work I had to stop on the side of the motorway to take a quick 10 minute
nap otherwise I would just fall asleep. My work lunch I spent 30 minutes sleeping in my car
otherwise I would fall asleep in front of the computer. My life was literally eat, sleep, work,
repeat… As an 18 year old that is not something that is very easy to accept.
After two months after I stopped taking my medication, I went to see my doctor for our
regular check up. She presented the usual stick man to circle the joints which hurt. I did that
and then I told her how great I am actually feeling PLUS how I just stopped taking my meds.
She was shocked, to say the least. I explained to her everything I started doing, to which she
responded with ‘Oh yes that is exactly what you should have done’. My jaw dropped. ARE
YOU BEING SERIOUS? You feed me medication, don't mention any natural ways I could
help my body and now after I did it on my own accord you tell me that is what I should have
done… AHHH at that point I was just done with doctors.
Luckily, I went into remission. Then in November 2017, I decided to move to Germany. New
job, new friends, new language… hello stress… hello flare up. HUGE ONE again… I am so
grateful to my partner, as he literally did everything for me. I limped to work, came home and
spent the rest of the time on the sofa while he helped to make food, clean, dress and
undress me… It was tragic… Great welcome gift on my arrival.
So I quickly went to see an orthopaedist, here in Germany you can just go to these specialists
without a recommendation. I went to him as I managed to get a quick appointment. He saw
me, he listened to me and immediately called one of his doctor friends who is a rheumatoid
arthritis specialist and made me an appointment 3 days later! Where usually I would have
had to wait at least 3 months. I was so so grateful.
I went to see her, she did some blood work, immediately put me on methotrexate injections, I
didn't even know this form existed, and steroid pills. Which helped me in the space of 5
days, I was back to normal being the normal me. She is an incredible doctor, listens to me,
hears me out and truly helps. I started on the 25mg methotrexate injections, and I haven’t
had many side affects to be honest. Maybe a little fatigue and the usual hangovers or
headaches a day or 2 after taking the injection. But nowhere near as bad as the side effects
I experienced from the pills.
To sum it all up… as a dancer, teenager, and just someone who never experienced arthritis
or seen anyone have it I was all alone in the beginning. There was no community, no friends
or groups. This is why I am so so grateful to now be connecting with so many beautiful
warriors, all helping each other out. All creating their own businesses and ways to support
the community even more. When I did my yoga training certification, at first I thought it was
just for me to help me be more safe in my yoga practice, but I discovered the amazing
benefits it has on all warriors that this is also why I am so keen on sharing this magic with
So from me to you … Accept yourself, your feelings. Know it is okay to ask for help. You are
never alone. Try things out see how they make you feel, because things like nutrition or yoga
could really have a very positive impact on you!
Sending you all lots of hugs, love, sunshine and of course SPOONS !