Photograph Testimonial: Continuing to work with rheumatoid arthritis
Published 3 Jan 2019 • Updated 28 Oct 2020 • By Louise Bollecker
"I have always evolved in suffering, while wanting to be a fighter."
Continuing to work with rheumatoid arthritis
The disease started at the age of 33, quite young, with foot pain. I couldn’t find any shoes that would fit me anymore, I was in a lot of pain. It then spread to the upper limbs. It starts by the sensation pushing, sometimes upwards, sometimes downwards.
I consulted my doctor immediately but it took us a long time to reach a diagnosis. Medications were then put in place with a lot of effort but very little success. We operate on a trial and error basis, day by day.
I have always evolved in suffering, while wanting to be a fighter. I never wanted to stop working totally. I have taken many breaks in my career while wanting to keep one foot in the stirrup, have a professional life, contacts, a career, all combined with my family life.
I am now a young 62-year-old retiree, I have been suffering from the disease for about 30 years, but I no longer have a relapse. The chronic pains remain very present. I especially find the pain even worse in the morning as I feel very rusty. As the day progresses, the joints become a little more flexible and you feel better in the evening than in the morning.
From a social point of view, I was very fortunate to have worked in the field of special education. The human character and solidarity being much more present than in companies. This has been a tremendous support throughout my professional career.
This testimonial is part of the graduation project of Gaëlle Regnier, a student of photography at the Agnès Varda School of Photography and Visual Techniques in Brussels. She chose chronic pain as the theme of this photo report to highlight the patients and their struggle.
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