I can hardly believe that it's already time to write my next RA anniversary post! It has now been eight years since I was diagnosed with RA in June of 2008. And my how my life has changed since then!!
My older son just turned four at the end of May, and it's hard to believe but the "little" one will be two in just a few weeks! My boys are rambunctious and completely full of life - and they take up most of my spoons every single day! I am still treating my RA with methotrexate and Rituxan, though I have had to reduce the time between my Rituxan infusions from six to five months. Hopefully this will continue to be a good method of treatment for me for the foreseeable future.
I've been working hard this year to expand my advocacy and awareness efforts. In addition to the writing I've been doing for RheumatoidArthritis.net (and various other Health Union sites), I also did some guest posts for Mango Health and Scary Mommy this year. I participated in several Joint Decisions events, including a webchat on Becoming Your Own Health Advocate, the second Empowerment Summit, a live web chat with host Matt Iseman, and a Facebook chat about Raising a Family While Living With RA. I also attended the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting for the second time, as well as summits and advisory boards with Pfizer, Janssen, and Lilly. For the second time I volunteered as support staff for the Arthritis Foundation's California Coast Classic (while APL rode for the third time). I was also exited to return to the second HealtheVoices conference, and I've been thrilled to support the amazing Kirsten Schultz as she develops the Chronic Sex chat and website.
Like last year, I've continued to be pretty active in the media. I was interviewed by the New York Times, HealthCentral, HealthMonitor's Guide to RA, the Colorado Statesman, the Daily Camera, and I also participated HealthCentral's Managing Your RA: Big Picture photo shoot. The Facing Forward series on this blog has been expanded to include not just people living with arthritis but also other invisible chronic illnesses - and I've been learning a lot from reading all the submissions! My Facebook support group for moms with chronic illnesses, Mamas Facing Forward, is growing by the day and turning out to be a wonderful community of optimism and support.
This coming year is likely to be pretty crazy, as I want to continue my writing and advocacy efforts as much as possible. In addition to focusing on supporting moms (and moms-to-be!) living with chronic illnesses, I also want to get back to working with the juvenile arthritis community (and, in fact, in the next few months I'll be speaking at both JA Conferences and volunteering as a counselor at JA Camp again!) I've also signed up to try riding myself in the 2016 California Coast Classic, and I finally busted out my dusty old law degree by agreeing to help write the 5th edition of International Environmental Law in a Nutshell. Also? Raising two crazy little dudes! So it's looking to be a very busy year! Wish me luck!
From This Point. Forward.