About Chronic Mum

Chronic mums know all about sneezing and coughing into their elbows

Hi, I’m Katie. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the ripe old age of 23. It was a dark time in my life; processing my diagnosis, researching all of the negative symptoms I would be experiencing, working and paying bills. I felt like I had nowhere to turn for real life information about dealing with RA. Two years later, I started this blog. 

I am a freelance blogger, passionate about autoimmune research as I have family members impacted by diseases like Psoriatic Arthritis, Thyroid complications, Schizophrenia, and gout. My hope is to provide a place for mamas with Autoimmune Diseases to connect, vent, share, learn and travel this journey together.

I like to learn & write about music, parenting, healthcare advances, technology, alternative therapy for autoimmune diseases such as yoga, acupuncture, healthy eating and other forms of self care. I also vent about the pain, anxieties and complications that come with having an autoimmune disease. My hope is that you’ll feel comfortable sharing your experiences here, too.

Feel free to email me with any questions, comments or suggestions at katiestew18@hotmail.com. Namaste!


27 thoughts on “About Chronic Mum

  1. Hi Katie,

    I recently found your blog and wanted to reach out. I’m the blog coordinator for EverydayHealth.com. We’re currently recruiting people to write a weekly blog post about their various health conditions and I thought you might be interested.

    Everyday Health has over 25 million monthly unique visitors to their website, and there is a lot of potential exposure and traffic to come from blogging with the market leader in online health information. It’s also an excellent platform to promote awareness about your condition and any non-profits or other related entities.

    Let me know if this is something that you’re interested in and might like to talk more about.

    Thanks so much!

    Lee McAlilly

    Blog Coordinator, EverydayHealth.com


  2. Hi Katie,
    I am 30 just diagnosed with RA about 1 month ago. Love your blog. Keep moving and enjoying life.

    I have no inspiration for you yet other than I am going through some of the same stuff you are and it is nice to know others are there for you too! Finding out your have a chronic disease sure makes you find out who your real friends are 🙂

    Have a great day tomorrow,
    Seattle WA


    1. Hi Annie,

      I just wanted to check in and say that I hope you’re feeling well today. I can definitely relate to what you’re going through when I say the first year is the hardest. Please be sure to keep in touch. If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.

      Keep your chin up!


  3. Hi Katie,

    It’s great to see you blogging about your experiences!
    I’m 19 and was diagnosed with Systemic JRA when I was 12 and only pucked up the courage to start writing about it last year.
    Congratulations on your studies also…I too have tried to not let the Arthritis stop me from living life to the fullest.

    What was it like for you when you were diagnosed?
    I like how you’ve mentioned Yoga as a suggestion for helping to control or ease Arthritic pain, as many people may find this helpful.
    My family and I went through all sorts of therapies for many years and unfortunately I have too much damage, to be able to find exercise therapeutic – but the pool’s ok! 🙂

    I look forward to reading your posts and it’s wonderful that you’ve taken a proactive approach to the Arthritis Foundation by becoming a board member!

    Keep up the wonderful work!



    1. Thanks for the post Lauretta! How are you feeling these days? I haven’t heard much from you since I submitted the guest article for your school project. I was just thinking about you and hope all is well 🙂


  4. hi Katie, i am so very excited that i came accross your blog!!! I am 36 years old and live in the great northwest, portland oregon. i have been married for 15 years and have 3 children, two boys 6 & 3 and a baby girl 9 months. i was diagnosed with JRA when i was just 17 months old. So as you can imigine i have been through it all! every type of treatment, medicataion, therapy ect ect But since i had my last baby i have been a very severe flarup. Just being a mom to 3 very small avtive kids is enough to make one very tired. But the fatigue stiffness and pain associated from my arthritis has made my quality of life very difficult. I took enbrel for many many years As well as methetrexate, plaqunal, prednasone, gold shots, humira yada yada yada. i am now looking at needing to get both my knees replaced. my right elbow is fused at the joint and most all my joints have very low range of motion and are very swollen and inflamed. iv deleloped many side effects to all the years of medications, and my joints are all pretty shot. as you can imigine…iv had this disease for 25 years. i have been in and out of wheel chairs, bed ridden, in and out of flare ups ect. but i feel that i am a sucsuss cause i have the right mind frame, even tho i have my moments it can be very difficult to live with such pain and fatigue and with the disire to do so much and not be able to. it about killed me, but i have my beautiful children. i am not trying to complain. but right now i am on a large dose of prednasone, that was all i could take while pregnant i am now on my 2nd month of humira along with pain, antidepresant and otc anti inflamatory meds and i am very desprete to find a treatment plan that will help me get out of this flare up and off prednasone! my quility of life is suffering greatly and i dont want it to effect my children! My beloved rheoumatoligst who i was with for over 16 years just moved away and its difficult to start a new repore with someone new although i like my new Dr her only answer to me is humira or enbrel in combo with methertraxate or arava. is that really my only options? feel like im between a rock and a hard place right now. i feel so young inside, and have so many interests and a viberant personality. i do have a positive outlook and always have. i feel positive energy is very important and belive in the law of attraction! i dont want to waste away in bed or so tired from the pain. i want to enjoy my life with my family. i look forward to hearing any comments anyone may have. thank you all for who took the time to read my post. please excuse all my spelling and grammer errors…. 😉 much love to all my fellow RA members out there! hang in there!


    1. Gosh, you are impressive! I can’t imagine chasing three little ones and having this almost your whole life. I was just diagnosed last March, so this is all still so new to me. I’m only on my 2nd medication- Arava, which makes me itchy, but I’m not nearly as sore and stiff. I have found a break from one thing — my energy has much improved since switching to a Gluten Free diet. My Rhemy told me many of her patients are trying this and having great luck! I still get pain, but I have more energy to push forward. Try it a week…see how you feel. I feel better, energy wise, then I have since I was 20! PS I’m 30. Wish you luck and well days ahead.



  5. oop…meant iv had this disease for 35 years! im 36…yikes! lol! i feel like im still 25 in my mind….my body feels and acts like a lil old 90 year old lady! 🙂


    1. Hi Ashely,

      Thanks so much for writing and for sharing your story with my readers and myself. You poor, poor girl! You have been through so much over the course of the past 25 years. I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I’m still searching. I hope that in time, people won’t have to go through all of the pain and suffering that you have experienced throughout your life. You are a strong woman! To think… I complain about my bad days, but I can’t even begin to imagine going through what you have.. and you’ve done it all while being a mom of 3 young children. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope that you will eventually find some relief. Keep your head up!

      All the best and stay well,


  6. Hi Katie! 🙂
    I was wondering if you would be interested in having a piece of your work (a blog post perhaps) published in a zine? I’m doing it as a project for college and it’s an attempt on my behalf to collaborate short stories from others who have RA/JRA. I hope to strengthen the community by developing this zine, but I need people to contribute, so that I have content to publish! 🙂 If you are interested, please visit my blog and look under the post labelled “Attention all Arthritis bloggers..opportunity to have your words published in a zine.”
    Hope to hear from you soon,
    Lauretta 🙂


    1. Hi Lauretta,

      Any updates on your zine?! I know it’s probably been keeping you pretty busy lately… I’m really looking forward to the finished product! Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.

      All the best,


      1. Hi Katie!
        Thankyou for your message. 🙂
        I’ve haven’t been too bad thanks. How are you doing?
        I’ve actually been on a new medicine called Toxcillizumab which is still on trial. It’s taken intravenously (via drip). It’s been working brilliantly for my joints, but unfortunately I have some damage remaining. I now need surgery to be done on my left wrist, but I’m restricted as to what they can actually do for me, since it’s such a complicated joint.
        Also, regarding the zine, I’m adding another person’s blog and will keep you posted, since I intend to donate copies to the Royal Children’s Hospital here in Victoria. Other children/adolescents going through the challenges of this disease will find comfort in knowing they aren’t alone and the zine’s turned out into a great little publication.
        Hoping you’ve been doing well too.
        Kind regards,
        Lauretta 🙂


  7. Katie~I stumbled across your blog today looking for any and all info on RA as I’ve found myself doing for longer than the internet has been around 😛 Everything you’ve written hit home more than I can possibly say, first off, my name is also Katie and I’m from the chicagoland area, also a young professional just trying to get by with this horrible disease. I was diagnosed at 18 months (I’m now 28) with polyarticular JRA in my knees and ankles and also have the fun of uveitis for the past 27 yrs. I swear I’ve tried everything out there, MTX, Humira, Sulfasalizine, plaquinil, and recently a horrible round of NSAIDS that have left me with a bleeding ulcer. Now attempting Euflexxa (Prednisone quit on me a long time ago!) , mainly just hoping for some pain relief (knowing it won’t do anything to stop the disease progression), but my rheumy thinks it will provide some benefit between 3 torn meniscus surgeries and the lingering damage from the RA. Euflexxa is generally meant only for OA patients, but in my research, I’ve seen a lot of RA patients see relief as well….hoping for the best! Anyways, I’d love to be more involved with a cause that means so much and hits so close to home. Please feel free to email me with any and all information or ways I can help!

    Thanks and I’m Glad to have come across your page!


  8. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!


  9. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!


  10. Hi there!

    I’m excited to find your blog, as I also live in Illinois and am 30 years old! I was also diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis this past March. I’m still adjusting to accepting it…I’m on Arava — and Plaquenil. I’ve had IBS since I was 17 and noticed recently that I was getting worse symptoms— more like Celiac disease symptoms. Tested negative for Celiac but decided I’d still try a gluten free diet. It has CHANGED MY LIFE. My energy is amazing, I think more clearly and feel more alert. I can’t say it enough…try gluten free for a week….it might change your life too. The more I read, the more I am realizing that diet may be very closely linked to autoimmune disorders. Anyway, i had to go off my meds because I had a sore that wouldn’t heal for about a month. I thought, I’m never gonna function. Well, thank God for the gluten free diet! I was sore and stiff, and in pain….but I still had energy!

    Thanks for setting this blog up! I hope that my sharing the gluten free diet link to my RA symptoms helps others.



    1. Hi Tessa,
      How are you feeling these days? I feel like the cold is really starting to get me down. Why do we stay in Illinois afterall if we (or at least I) know that the winter is so misearable every year? I would like to get my allergies tested and find out if glutten free can help me too. Thanks for sharing your story. I hoe you continue to feel energized and healthy.


  11. Hi Katie,

    This is a really great blog! I appreciate your sharing your struggles and the resources which you share with everyone. By the way, I found your blog from my “Google Alerts” for naprapathy. I am not sure why this came up in my alerts as I don’t see it here on your page whatsoever – but I am a naprapath practicing in Lincoln Park and love finding health blogs to give my patients options for new support systems and new resources too.

    By the way, have you ever tried cold laser therapy (aka: photobiostimulation) for your condition? I have gotten some decent, but inconsistent, results for a variety of conditions.

    Anyway, I’m not trying to put an ad for me – but rather applauding you for dealing with your condition in such a positive way! Thank you!!!


    1. Hi Dr. Varanauski,

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m guessing I showed up in your naprapathy feed as my last post talked about all of the positive results I’ve seen since my first visit with a Napro about a month and a half ago. She’s amazing! I’ve never looked into cold laser therapy but am curious and wanting to learn more.


  12. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.


  13. Hi Katie and everyone,

    I have enjoyed reading this thread. Thanks so much!
    I am a mum to three kids and we live in NZ. My oldest daughter (13) has just been diagnosed with RA and as I write is undergoing injections in her jaw and knees.

    I have two questions for you all:
    1: thinking back over your time living with RA, what were the things that were really great and helpful that your parents did/do? Including their attitudes, balancing the needs of siblings, their maintenance of normalcy, any creative approaches they took? I’m keen to really help my baby in any way I can and I’d love your insights.
    2. We are willing to go to great lengths to avoid a drug heavy approach (even though these injections are happening today!! UGH) . Gluten Free diet has been mentioned and we are going to try that. What other dietary and non-invasive approaches can anyone recommend


    1. Hi Jen – How is your daughter doing? I hope that the injections are continuing to provide her with relief! In addition to removing gluten, have you also tried eliminating dairy? I’ve found those adjustments help quite a bit! Also, just try to remind her that people can live a really great, normal life, even when affected by chronic disease. At the end of the day, I believe it makes us ladies stronger, smarter and able to endure much more than some of our peers. Just love her, hug her and spoil her with plenty of bubble baths and massages when she’s feeling down. Hope you are both doing well! I for one know that sometimes my illness stresses my mom out more than it does me so make sure you’re taking care of yourself too. Hugs 🙂


  14. Can I simply just say what a relief to uncover somebody that really understands what they are discussing on the net. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people should check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you aren’t more popular because you surely have the gift. manfaat glutatgione


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