Lucie Desaulniers is one of the thousands of Quebeckers who tested positive for COVID-19. While the diagnosis certainly elicited a lot of fear and uncertainty, it turned out that for this Shawinigan resident, it created less turmoil in her life than her rheumatoid arthritis.

Lucie had been seeing doctors for pain since the age of 20. She was prescribed an anti-inflammatory, without knowing her diagnosis or what was affecting her. It wasn’t until several years later that rheumatoid arthritis officially started to play a role in her life.

”The diagnosis hit like a huge earthquake. Everything collapsed around me.“

This woman with a creative soul does not let her disease hold her back. Despite psychological distress in the beginning, and the difficulties in finding the best approach to her treatment, Lucie remains positive. 

”With a good diet and physical activity, I’ve learned to respect the pace set by my body and understand its limitations and, by the same token, to reduce flares and pain.“

Music also plays a very important role in her well-being. 

”I loved to watch my uncle Normand play the guitar. It fascinated me so much!“

The lure of music led to her try out various instruments and finally blossomed when she received a bass guitar as a gift. Since then, Lucie has been taking lessons and has enjoyed learning and playing the instrument. Fortunately, pain doesn’t cause her too many problems.

Lucie has another trick up her sleeve - Mindfulness Meditation - which helps her  to pay attention to her body and her sensory experiences, thoughts and emotions, moment by moment.

But let’s come back to COVID-19. Despite initial fears, Lucie didn’t worry too much about the virus until she caught it in the fall of 2020. She was fortunate: her symptoms were mild – flu-like with congestion, aching muscles, coughing, fatigue and some gastrointestinal problems.

Her rheumatologist advised her to stop taking her immunosuppressant medications for two weeks and go into isolation for 28 days because of her rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, the long quarantine, without being able to go walking or shopping, was her biggest inconvenience and frustration.   

Due to the circumstances, Lucie was forced to temporarily stop working, but she made full use of her free time by reading, enjoying the warmth of the sun (during a short fall heat wave!) and resting. She also took the opportunity to change jobs and had an interview via videoconference. A few weeks later, she was delighted to be in a more fulfilling and less physically demanding job.

Despite the pandemic and the uncertainties of her disease, Lucie maintains balance. She still has dreams to fulfill, like driving a snowmobile, opening her own café or living in Arizona (to take advantage of the hot and dry climate), but luckily for her, she has avoided the worst   of the pandemic and music is always there to warm up her heart and mind.

Questions? Visit our page about COVID-19 and arthritis to learn what you need to know. 

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