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I thought a good first post to The Daily Chronic would be to give you a little background about me and why I wanted to start this blog. Disclaimer: I am definitely more of a visual artist than a writer, but I’m going to try to keep this as interesting and informative for you as possible.

A little over a year ago, I was finally diagnosed with a chronic illness, Rheumatoid Arthritis – okay, finally might be the wrong choice of words, but after 5 years of food allergies, random unexplainable pain, chronic fatigue and hospital visits galore, it was about time.  My initial reaction to the diagnosis was – “Really?! I’m not 80!”  I guess I’ve always been called an “old soul”, but this just isn’t what I was hoping they meant.

For those of you who are close to me, living with this illness usually means at any given day I could have violent joint and body pain, usually coupled with a migraine – which typically translates to hibernating in my cubicle at work, cancelling any weekend plans to sleep and taking a host of prescription drugs and chugging vitamins from my bright blue, clearly labeled-by-day, “granny” pill box – just to get through the flare up.  It’s not an easy thing to live with, as you can imagine, especially at 26 years old – now that my career is going well and I have the energy to go out in this awesome city I live in.

On a brighter note, I have actually started to have less flare-ups in the past couple months.  This of course is because I had to try several other medications first before finding the right mix – but gosh darn it, this might be it!  And it’s all because of my amazing rheumatologist, who has never given up on me and my crazy body, and I am very grateful for his positive outlook.

But this is not all I’m going to talk about with you, my friends.  The main reason I started this blog is to create awareness – okay, maybe it’s also a good venting outlet – about how health insurance companies prey on the vulnerable.  If I am not trying to get through a flare-up from the RA, then I am resubmitting claim forms to my health insurance company, calling my doctor because the insurance company needs pre-authorization (yet again) for a medication, filing grievance forms basically fighting with the insurance company denying my claim – I am over it.  It’s enough to deal with my illness, but to have to fight for my rights for insurance coverage?  What if I was actually 80, and too ill to keep track of all of this? I could only imagine that I would be even more in the hole than this illness is making me now – if not bankrupt.

ASo in a nutshell, these are the things I will be writing about in my blog.  I’m hoping that maybe some of my stories – whether having to do with staying strong and living with RA, or tips on how to deal with health insurance companies – might change someone else’s life for the better.