Stuck on the white walls of her bedroom are some of avid sportswoman Nur Shuhadah Mohamed Abdul Gaffoor's favourite motivational quotes.
One of them reads: "What hurts you today, makes you stronger tomorrow."
It is a saying that the 24-year-old, who works as an executive manager at the Building and Construction Authority, knows only too well.
She was 17 when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a form of arthritis caused by inflammation of the joints, leading to painful and swollen joints.
If not treated, this autoimmune disease can lead to joints becoming eroded and deformed.
Contrary to common myth that arthritis is a disease of the elderly, this form usually affects people during their reproductive years of between 20 and 50.
Ms Shuhadah started having symptoms in her first year of junior college seven years ago.
Her wrists and fingers started to swell, then her knees, shoulder blades and ankles. Within two months, every major joint in her body had become swollen.
Things became really serious when her joints swelled to about 11/2 times their normal size and walking became problematic.
The condition reduced the former school basketball player, who had been picked to represent Singapore in the Youth Olympic Games in 2009, to a shell of her former self. She could not even hold a pen or tie her shoelaces.
"I had to relearn everything and my writing looked like a child's," said Ms Shuhadah.
She was devastated when her doctor told her to avoid all sports.
"He told me that if I chose to pursue competitive sports, I must know that I would pay for it in future. That I would bear the pain when I got older and my joints got weaker," she said.
Unwilling to accept her fate, Ms Shuhadah decided it was a gamble she was willing to take.
The youngest of three children of an SMRT train officer and housewife, Ms Shuhadah had bad asthma as a small child and was not allowed to undergo strenuous physical activity. At the age of 10, her condition improved, and she fell in love with the sporting life.
"Sports is something in which you can see the outcome of hard work. I am happy when I can actually see changes and improvement in myself. It makes me want to play even more," she said.
Support from her friends, coaches and family got her through the tough process of becoming used to the pain and enduring it while pursuing her passion.
For now, however, the tough years are behind her.
Adjunct Associate Professor Law Weng Giap, senior consultant in the department of rheumatology, allergy and immunology at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said it took about three years of treatment to get Ms Shuhadah's arthritis into complete remission.
"And due to early treatment, she does not have any joint deformity," said Prof Law. "If you see her now, you cannot even tell she has rheumatoid arthritis. Although the medications have certain potential side effects, we just have to monitor that regularly.
"As long as we can keep her disease in remission, she should have a normal life like any of us."
From playing badminton in primary school and basketball in secondary school and junior college, Ms Shuhadah went on to pick up handball, soccer and touch rugby when she studied mechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore.
She was spotted and recruited by the head coach of the national women's rugby team, Ms Wang Shao Ing, 40, and joined the national training squad as a winger in February last year.
A national Rugby Sevens player, she hopes to be selected for the upcoming 29th South-east Asia (SEA) Games held in Kuala Lumpur this August. There are 24 girls in the national training squad and 12 are picked for every competition.
The team for the SEA Games will be selected by the end of next month.
Ms Wang said: "The girls all have full-time jobs and they give up their weekends because the squad trains full days and plays games to simulate tournament situations."
The team is preparing not only for the SEA Games, but also the Asian Sevens Series, to be held in September in South Korea and in October in Sri Lanka. Only the top eight countries in Asia play in that series.
Ms Shuhadah loves rugby because it is physically demanding and really tests one's limits.
She said: "Playing rugby gives me a great sense of satisfaction and fulfilment - to know that I can push myself more than I think I can.
"One of the reasons I took on more sports was that I know my time in sports is limited. I hate it when someone tells me I cannot do something. I will still do it.
"And I always feel that if you decide to do something, just try your best. So that there are no regrets even if you fail."
Another quote on Ms Shuhadah's wall reads: "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."
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