I'm Catherine. I'm a graphic designer and power yoga teacher living in the heart of Pittsburgh. I love gin, headstands, electronic music, and the crazy people I call my friends. At 25, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and at 27, I'm kicking its ass. Talking about my experience has made me aware of one thing: We hit our twenties and suddenly we don't all feel so awesome anymore. Whether we are formally diagnosed or not, we each seem to have something — digestion issues, auto-immune disorders, fatigue, anxiety, and the like — going on. So I've set out to find a way to change all that. By shifting my lifestyle, I feel better and continue to experiment more every day. Here, I share my trials and (sometimes) tribulations in hopes that we all shed light on the common denominator: the importance of mindfully taking care of ourselves.
My original intention for this space was to keep an ongoing journal of my RA experience for myself. When I was diagnosed in 2012, I scoured the web for a blog like this one — written by an active 20-something who has RA but who is still healthy and is figuring it all out for herself — and I found nothing I could relate to. I got incredibly upset and overwhelmed by the stories and comments on other blogs (I won't lie, I still do). I wasn't ready to join a community of women dropping terms like "docs" and "meds" before they even hit 30. So I just decided to stop reading and start writing until I figured out my own way.
In its current state, RA is a big part of my life, but it doesn’t dominate it. I’ve changed the way I eat and how I think about health and I know its working! I get morning stiffness, fatigue and swollen knuckles but not like I used to. I take my medicine half as often. My life feels almost the same as it was before my diagnosis and I haven't stopped doing anything I love because of it. If anything, I've started doing more to better myself and consider myself the healthiest I've ever been, even compared to before I had symptoms.
I'm currently gluten free and mostly meat and dairy free. I try my best to be a pescaterian at home but let myself indulge occasionally when I go out for dinner. I've fallen in love with a lot of plant-based recipes but I don't consider myself vegan. I'm 100% NOT perfect at sticking to these guidelines and I'm 100% still learning all of this too (a year ago I barely "cooked" more than pasta and bagels, so if I can do it, you can do it!).
I do yoga 2-4 times a week and have my 200-hour teaching certification from Amazing Yoga so I teach as well. I'm always investigating a variety of supplements and trying different schools of thought to see what works and what doesn't, all which you'll read about here.
As for the name, my parents tried to call me Cate when I was two and it never stuck, but for the sake of a witty blog name, I've gone rouge and brought it back. And with that, I'm glad you're here.