Dr. Ayala is a Board Certified Rheumatologist and has been in private practice since 2010 and has earned the
trust of her patients and colleagues. Before private practice, she had six years of post medical school training
at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, where she was selected to be a
Chief Resident/Clinical Instructor and participated in multiple academic committees.
Dr. Ayala has been named by her peers to be one of the Super Doctors* for the years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015,
and 2016 as seen on Texas Monthly Magazine. In 2013, Dr. Ayala has also received the Award of Honor by the National Institute of Medicine for the year 2013 in the specialty field of Rheumatology for Excellence. She received the 2014 Vitals Patient’s Choice Award and most importantly, patients have highly recommended Dr. Ayala to their friends and family. In August 2015 she was selected as a Top Rheumatologist in San Antonio by the International Association of HealthCare Professionals as spotlighted in The Leading Physicians of the World.
She is passionate about taking great care of her patients! She loves God, is active in her Church and is proud to say she is a soccer fan and a soccer mom!
At just eight years old, Mackenzie’s knees suddenly became painful and swollen. Several doctors later, and after too many tests to name, she was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. At such a young age, it was difficult for her to understand that she could no longer play sports or participate in the same activities as her peers. It took her doctors many years, many medications and injections, to develop a plan to get her arthritis and other autoimmune diseases under control.
A verse that really resonates with her is Proverbs 16:9. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” It was a difficult journey understanding the why behind every challenge that Mackenzie has faced, however, she found peace knowing that even though the journey was often difficult, she would end up where God wanted her to be.
Mackenzie graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station in just three years and was actively involved in Pi Beta Phi Sorority. She knows that she could have never done this without the support from her family, doctors and friends. It has been a long road to get where she is today, but she is excited for the future, and so very thankful for the dedication of her family and her many doctors in developing a solution to her ailments. She currently resides in Houston, TX and works at Forney Construction and volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
Lana was officially diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) at age seven. When she was five, she wasdiagnosed with Henoch–Schönlein purpura (HSP) – a disorder that causes inflammation and bleeding in the small blood vessels in your skin, joints, intestines and kidneys. After she recovered from it she never seemed the same – her hands would be weak in the morning and her mom would have to help button her pants because Lana said, “her hands did not work”. Her mother noticed that running seemed difficult and that getting up and moving in the morning took a lot longer for her.
After noticing swelling in her hands and Lana complaining of pain in her knees and ankles her mom took her to the doctor. After being over looked for about two years, her doctor finally ordered a blood test and noticed her RA and ANA levels were elevated. She was finally referred to a pediatric rheumatologist where she was diagnosed with arthritis in her fingers, wrists, hands, knees and ankles.
Like so many others that go through this everyday with their families, this was a difficult diagnosis to hear,
but Lana kept a positive attitude and was strong even though she was only a child and her strength is a
blessing to her family. When the doctor began putting her on medication and nothing was working it made her
family question if they were doing the right thing by making her take so much medication. When the doctor
suggested she begin taking a stronger medication (a biologic), it scared her parents and they hoped that they
were doing the right thing. Lana currently takes multiple medications daily, weekly shots and has infusions
every four weeks. Through it all she keeps a smile on her face. For the most part, the medications keep her
pain and inflammation under control, her good days outweigh the bad, and even on the days when it is a
struggle for her to get out of bed she pushes through and always has a smile on her face. Her faith and
support from her family and friends is truly a blessing.
Lana has not let arthritis define her. She is an active 13 year-old who plays volleyball for La Vernia Junior High
as well as Club Volleyball. She may be limited on some of the things she can do but she never wants to be
treated differently because of her arthritis. Lana pushes through the pain to do something she loves even
when her mom tells her to take it easy sometimes. Lana has such an amazing attitude on life and has
always remained positive and smiled through the pain; looking at her you would never know that she is a child
“suffering from arthritis”. She is brave, happy, determined and a strong young woman living with JRA!
She always remembers to “Be Brave and Keep Flying!”
is his story.
was born a healthy fraternal twin. He loved playing baseball, golf and
football. At the age of nine,
multiple invasive procedures to determine what was wrong, Barrett was diagnosed
side effect was a weakened immune system. Six months after Barrett was
didn’t know children could get arthritis. Yes, there is medication to control
the pain, but the side
Arthritis Foundation, www.arthritis.org is the Champion of Yes. We exist to
conquer arthritis, which strikes