Name: Roman Gabriela Cătălina
Where do you call home? Bucharest, Romania
Education: Faculty and master in economics
Who do you live with? Parents and my boyfriend :)
What's typical day for you? I do my physiotherapy program, I read, I play with my dog (I have a golden retriever, a perfect dog for people with problems) I spend time with my family and my boyfriend, I work in the insurance field.
How long have you known you are living with FA? The symptoms started at the age of 16 and 2-3 years I went to many doctors, no one knew what I had. At the age of 18-19 I did the genetic test and then the diagnosis was made.
Are there others in your family with FA? No.
Describe your transition from walking to wheelchair/walker. I still walk alone, I just need someone to help me, or lean against the wall or objects.
What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I work every day with my mind, I do the physiotherapy program, I think positively, I see only the good parts of the disease. I try to have a normal life.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests? I like to travel and see new places, I love nature, I like to spend time with friends, I like to read, I love animals, I have 10 cats and 3 puppies.
What is a good trick to make daily life easier? Think positive; life is beautiful!
When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? When I have bad times I try not to think about the disease. I read a book or spend time with my friend, family or my animals. I think everything will be fine. And I thank God for all the things I can do (see, hear, smell, etc.). I'm glad I have friends, family and my boyfriend and they are by my side and support me.
What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? I appreciate life more and all the little things. I enjoy every day and share love.
What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? “Fall down seven times, get up eight."
What is a piece of advice that someone with FA has given you that encourages and inspires you? "You are not alone!"
What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Trust yourself! Love yourself as you are! Love your body and learn to communicate with it and give it what it needs. Don't feel bad about those around you because of your disease, you didn't choose to be like that. Think positive and everything will be fine in the end! Communicate with friends, family, anyone, just don't close your feelings inside you. Smile! Don't stop! You are not alone!
What's the first thing you want to do when a treatment/cure is discovered? I want to walk the dog in the park and run together. To go shopping alone (without my boyfriend who has no patience for shopping :))) To visit places that are now difficult for me to visit. Help my family, boyfriend and friends more.
"I have FA but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? How do you live your life in the face of adversity? My life is not just about my body. FA manifests only on my body, my mind and soul are free and boundless. The mind has unlimited powers!
Tell us a little more about you... I love animals and nature. I take care of the environment. I am a calm, loving, positive person.