'I try to be positive, it's the only way to cope'
Tim O'Sullivan, 66 years old - rheumatoid arthritis
Tim O'Sullivan is 66 years old and worked in construction for most of his life. But when the Cork man, who is married to Ann and has three grown up children, started experiencing chronic pain, his working life came to an end.
* "Ten years ago I stared getting severe pain which would come and go, but was usually worse in the mornings. I had it in my hands for a while but it wasn't until my ankles became affected that I decided to go to the doctor.
* I knew something wasn't right but arthritis was the last thing on my mind. So when my GP sent me for tests and it was confirmed that I had rheumatoid arthritis, I was really shocked. I was put on medication which worked for a while but then things started to get really bad and I had to give up work, which was a real wrench.
* I couldn't really move like other people, I wasn't able to do simple things and I would have a really difficult time trying to get out of bed in the morning. I was in constant contact with my medical team as there is no one-fix-for-all with arthritis so my medication was having to be tweaked to fit my needs. I was put on biologic therapy which involved giving myself an injection every week - and so far so good, this seems to be keeping it all at bay.
* I still have problems with mobility and notice it especially when I am trying to keep up with people. My right hand is very stiff and I can't open jars or lift things with it sometimes.
* But I try to be positive as it's the only way to cope. I did a 'Living Well With Arthritis' programme which was great as it is given by people who are in the same position and really understand what you are going through.
* I also make sure to get as much exercise as I can because even when I have a bad flare-up, moving is the best medicine, so I walk every day, swim three times a week and go out cycling when the weather is good. I also make sure I have a healthy diet and I can't drink alcohol on my medication either, so I definitely have a good lifestyle.
* The easiest thing to do after a diagnosis of arthritis is to throw in the towel as everything can seem so difficult, but I have learned it's not the end of the world and with good support from family, friends and doctors, I am living a full, happy life."
Health & Living