Arthritis Patient Advisory Board Member
When did you first get diagnosed with RA? What was your initial experience?
I was diagnosed at the age of 19. My initial experience was extremely overwhelming as I could not comprehend how someone in my age group could receive a diagnosis of arthritis. I had presumed it was a disease that only the elderly get. I did not realize at the time how it would impact my life until years later when I finally understood why I always felt so tired compared to my peers.
What has helped you maintain an active lifestyle while dealing with RA?
Understanding that it’s beneficial for not only my physical health but my mental health too. I understand the importance of keeping my joints active to keep mobility. I’ve learnt that this disease can bring comorbidities such as heart disease. Therefore, I stay active as well.
The immense amount of knowledge I’ve gained over the years has really helped me understand the different types of arthritisNikki Bhatti
Has patient-centred research advocacy played a role in effective RA management for you?
Yes, patient-centred research has helped me expand my knowledge of medical terminologies. I understand how my medications will impact me now and in the future.
What has your experience working with Arthritis Research Canada (ARC) been like?
Nothing short of amazing! The immense amount of knowledge I’ve gained over the years has really helped me understand the different types of arthritis. When I meet others who suffer from chronic conditions in my day-to-day life, I can understand them. I’m also honoured and humbled that ARC has chosen me to be one of their patient advocates because I can provide my input in managing my disease.
What motivates you to be a patient advocate and tell your story?
When I was first diagnosed, I felt extremely alone. I want others to know that you aren’t alone and there are so many people out there just like you. I enjoy providing insight and perspectives for the next generations receiving a diagnosis similar to mine. By sharing my own experience, I feel others feel understood. Living with a chronic condition healthily can be possible with the right treatment plans, a health-care team, and those who love and support you.