Rebein Brothers, P.A. is honored to participate in the Arthritis Foundation, Inc. Walk to Cure Arthritis for the second year in a row! This cause is important to us because Team Rebein member Attorney Melody Manning has Rheumatoid Arthritis. Attorney Manning was kind enough to share her story.
P: What is the clinical name for your condition? When were you diagnosed?
M: This is a great question because there are actually more than 100 types of joint diseases that fall under the umbrella of “arthritis” and they are all very different. These range from the typical “wear and tear” age-related osteoarthritis that people are most familiar with to autoimmune types of arthritis, where your body’s own immune system attacks itself. This includes diseases such as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, which can cause kids of all ages (infants to teenagers) to suffer from systemic inflammation – including that of their heart, lungs, lymph nodes, liver and spleen.
I am diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis – which is another systemic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own body. It can affect all the organs in the body, but primarily affects the joints. I was diagnosed my second year of law school after my hands got so swollen I could barely turn a door-knob after waking up. It is crazy to think that was 12 years ago!
P: How has Rheumatoid Arthritis changed your life? What are the ongoing effects of your diagnosis?
M: I am very fortunate that I was diagnosed quickly and immediately placed on very serious medication – many of the medications that exist today didn’t exist 15 years ago. I am even more fortunate that I have good health insurance, access to a number of great doctors, and an understanding and flexible work environment. Although not a day passes where I do not think about my RA, I am thankful I am able to live an active and otherwise fulfilling life despite my diagnosis – when not everyone is so fortunate.
P: What does being part of the Walk to Cure Arthritis mean to you?
M: Most importantly, it brings awareness to the community about autoimmune arthritis, how serious the conditions are, and how even infants and children are affected. Through my short involvement with the foundation – I have learned about resources children have – such as summer camps – where they are able to be around other children who have been diagnosed and learn how to cope with their new lifelong conditions. The foundation also works hard to advocate for people affected by arthritis and provide funds for the scientific research necessary to help find a cure.
To help us reach our fundraising goal and to support the important work the Arthritis Foundation, Inc. does, please consider donating here:
This year’s Walk takes place on May 12, 2018.