Diagnosed in 1992 with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Debbie Borshoff took a philosophical approach to her new condition. For the first 8 years she simply took her medication and carried on with her life. However, a severe flare leaving Debbie struggling to lie down and sleep at night forced her to take charge of her arthritis.
“I didn’t know what was happening (at the time) and I was forced to find out about my disease. I read about the Challenge Your Arthritis Course for people with arthritis in the Arthritis Today magazine and dragged myself along to a course”.
The course brought Debbie sheer relief and a revelation by meeting others with similar issues and learning new skills and strategies to better cope with daily life.
Subsequently Debbie trained to become a course leader. “I had been planning to do some volunteer work somewhere when all this happened. It has been one of the best decisions I ever made. Each time I run a course it helps me, gives me contact with lots of nice people and I feel in some small way I am helping other people to cope with their problems”.
Debbie encourages others who may have participated in one of these courses and who understand the benefits to consider taking the next step and become a trained course leader.
Debbie also takes time to speak to University medical students about the struggles of rheumatoid arthritis. While also lending her hands to assist students in learning how to do examinations, she admits “it is the best excuse to get 25 young men to hold my hand.”
With a desire to become more involved, Debbie has recently joined the board of the Arthritis & Osteoporosis Foundation.