Jacqui Thomas

Jacqui Thomas

Melbourne resident, Jacqui Thomas, 27, reflects on her personal experience with rheumatoid arthritis

How long have you had rheumatoid arthritis and what parts of your body are affected?

"I have had rheumatoid arthritis since I was 13-years-old. It firstly affected my smaller joints in my wrists. It went to my knees and to my shoulders and then all throughout the other joints in my body."

What is the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis like?

"The pain is a two-fold thing. The first part is really the joints that are swollen and stiff. It is like someone is stabbing you in the joints and you can't move it at all. The other side of it is the fatigue and feeling like you have the flu all the time. Your whole body is aching."

How has rheumatoid arthritis ruled your life?

"It has ruled my life in many different ways. Initially I was not even able to get out of bed in the morning. I would have to crawl to the bathroom, my mum would run the bath for me and I would have to sit there and just soak in the bath to even get moving for the day."

Did you try a lot of treatments before being treated with Remicade?

"I had tried a number of different treatments - in fact probably too many to count - before I started with Remicade. The relief I gained with previous treatments had really been short term and minimal. There might have been a time when I felt better but then it went back to how it was before."

How long have you been on Remicade and how long was it before you saw a difference in your health?

"I have been on Remicade for just over a year now and I actually noticed the positive effects even after the first treatment I had. I almost didn't dare to believe that it was true but I know now that it was and it has continued to improve since."

What can you do now that you couldn't do before you were treated with Remicade?

"Bush walking has always been something I have enjoyed but it has been something that has left me in a fair amount of pain after I have been on walks. Now with Remicade I have been able to go on bush walks and do things I haven't been able to do before and not have the pain for days afterwards."

How has your life changed since being on Remicade?

"The changes and improvements I have noticed in the last 12 months have been dramatic.
Physically, the swelling has gone down in my joints, less pain and the stiffness is not there. Emotionally I have felt a lot better and I am able to cope with everything in life."

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