Alan Wiles - No One Can Take My Smile From Me
Alan is one of our Members, he wanted to share his story with us during RA awareness week and support us to raise awareness and show people what it’s like #behindthesmile
Alan was diagnosed with RA 10 years ago, this is his story.
I was a typical child, I came from a military family and grew up in the 70s; what could be better, parties, discos, girls and lots of beer of course. Within two weeks of passing my driving test, I was working as a driver at Heathrow for Hertz rent-a-car - I got the bug and went on to get my PSV and moved on to driving coaches for a Weymouth based company all over Europe. I loved every minute of it. There I was, doing what I wanted do, feeling like I was on a constant holiday and getting paid for it to boot. Little did I know what was ahead of me. I started to feel tired a lot and I was in pain most of the time. I’d also fallen over a few times so I was referred to a Doctor in Southport. After a series of tests, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis. Because of the nature of my job, I had to give up the job I loved. It felt like the bottom of my world had fallen out. What followed were treatments and procedures but nothing seemed to work.
You know living with pain 24/7 is not easy – doing simple things I enjoy like taking my step daughter to school is difficult because of the pain and fatigue. People that do not have RA do not understand what life is like the pain just keeps coming it never stops. But what do we do we say when asked ‘how are you’, we simply say ‘I’m fine’, when really, we’re not. I also suffer with depression and probably drink more than I should. I have not worked for some 10 years now and I am on crutches, it’s getting harder and harder to find something to do every day. I used to walk about 5 miles every day because I liked to get out. I can’t do that now. Winter is the worst time, I just sit indoors. I love living by the sea but it’s cold in the Winter, but, Summer’s around the corner; time to dust myself off, charge the batteries on the OLD 6IT scooter and get out and about.
Well that’s my story, but despite my Rheumatoid Arthritis and everything that comes with it, the one thing that no one can take from me, you or us is our smile and most of all our family.