Twenty-five was too young to feel so old.
In 1977, William Pearson, now 52, joined the more than 2 million Americans suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
After years of steroid treatment by his internist, Pearson''s arthritis became unmanageable. With new quadruplets and an 11 year-old to take care of, Pearson couldn''t afford to let arthritis defeat him.
He sought the help of Richard D. Brasington, MD, Washington University rheumatologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "I think I immediately became his worst patient," says Pearson.
"After the change he''s made in my life," says Pearson, "in my book, the rheumatology department is ranked a whole lot higher than 17."
By participating in various clinical trials through Washington University School of Medicine, Pearson has been able to get access to the latest available treatments for arthritis.
The trials have allowed Pearson to keep the inflammation in check with a new low dose medication.
"Some treatments are better than others, but I''ve been doing well for the past year," says Pearson.
Pearson doesn''t know what would have happened had he not found Dr. Brasington. Says Pearson, "Dr. Brasington is not only a doctor, but a friend."