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2013 Adult Hero

Salazar 2013 Adult Hero

My name is Melinda Salazar. I am 28 years old and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogrens Syndrome in May of 2011. Hearing, “You have Rheumatoid Arthritis” was very confusing and shocking for me. First of all, I was like most of the general public and had no idea what that meant. After doing some research I became very scared of what my future would be. My family and friends have always been supportive, but I knew they didn't fully understand what I was going through. When I first got diagnosed, my fingers looked like little sausages and my elbows would allow little to no movement in my arms. My shoulders felt like they had 100 pound weights strapped to them... which only added to my discomfort. Sleep was hard to come by because getting comfortable was impossible. I have always led a very active lifestyle; so it was very hard to accept when running and sometimes even walking became too painful. Low impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, and running on the eliptical have helped me get a bit of my strength back. The past 2 years have been an adjustment to my previously "normal" lifestyle but I am determined to get back to where I was and not allow my ailments to take over my life. I am newly engaged, and with a wedding less than a year away, I have plenty to keep me motivated. Fortunately, I have an amazing fiance that has let me cry and complain without getting utterly annoyed with me.

 It's hard to describe the pain that comes along with this disease to someone who has not experienced it. My rheumatologist (Dr. Moorjani) has been such a blessing. Having a doctor that really listens and cares about his patients is so important. My current treatment consists of weekly shots of methotrexate and monthly shots of the biologic Cimzia. Although I still have my bad days, for the most part I am doing well in keeping my disease under control. But merely controlling, or finding a way to tolerate arthritis, is not enough. It is my hope that the efforts put forth by the arthritis foundation will lead to a cure to this debilitating disease. Sharing my story and getting involved in this foundation has definitely helped me cope with my diagnosis. I encourage others sufferers to become active and help raise awareness in our community. I am honored to be this year's adult hero and proud to support the Arthritis Foundation. Please help us reach our goal this year!!!

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