Over the course of three weeks, Fiona Ratkoff found herself becoming weaker. Then she was in a hospital, completely paralyzed. “I thought it was my last day.” Her doctors had no idea what was going on.
“You cannot imagine how helpful The Myositis Association has been for me,” Fiona said. Once steroids freed her limbs to move a little, she started researching possible causes for her illness from her hospital bed. She began to believe she had myositis, despite her doctor’s skepticism, and found TMA.
“I had been trying to make sense of research studies written for scientists, but TMA had years worth of videos by experts explaining everything for myositis patients. It was credible and reliable information. Finally, my doctors started taking me seriously.”
Still without a clear diagnosis, living in France with physicians unfamiliar with this rare disease, Fiona found a respected researcher through TMA who recommended a specific exercise regimen. She started doing the exercises, and then she was diagnosed with MDA5 dermatomyositis – thanks to a referral from a friend she met through TMA.
Fiona worked hard to build her strength very slowly over time. It took her a year before she could walk 20 minutes. A year later, she could walk for an hour. Five years after being paralyzed in the hospital, Fiona was hiking in the Alps. “Now I am walking, biking, swimming, doing yoga, and maintaining my resistance workouts to stay strong.” She works full time, spends time with her husband and two daughters, and travels.
Fiona said without TMA’s expert resources and community, she may have never regained her muscle strength. Will you help others with myositis find a path forward? Your support of TMA makes it possible to provide reliable information, connections, and hope to patients experiencing this rare illness.
Thank you for your commitment and support!