Living

Daily Living

What Does Pain Actually Look Like? - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
In a person who has dealt with pain every day for the last ten years, I’d expect pain to have much less of an impact on how they behave. Maybe you wouldn’t even be able to tell that they were visibly in pain at all?  

How To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis and Stress - on NewLifeOutlook RA
Being stressed seems to trigger an endless cycle: stress makes you feel crummy, which generates additional stress, which only makes you feel worse. For this reason, it is especially important that people living with RA have tools for dealing with stress.

Facing Fatigue – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
I was tired of my joints hurting & making it hard to do everyday things. I was tired of doctors…I was tired of blood tests. I was tired of experimenting with medications …And, perhaps most of all, I was so very tired of being tired. Learning to live with fatigue can be a long, complicated, & frustrating process.

"Supporting Fatigue" at the 2016 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting - RheumatoidArthritis.net
While a 2004 study showed that 65% of patients prioritized fatigue, Dr. Hewlett pointed out that doctors too often focus on pain and ignore fatigue. This year a session focusing specifically on the issue of fatigue and how doctors can help their patients better manage it was hosted at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.

Over-scheduled! – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
A chili cook-off. A movie in the park...All of these events are supposed to be fun. But as I look at them stretching across every foreseeable weekend, I can’t help but feel a sense of anxiety.

The Sleep Problem – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Although not technically a symptom of the disease, a lot of people with RA have trouble with sleep. Some people have trouble falling asleep. Some people have trouble staying asleep. Some people have trouble with both.

The Invisible Burdens of Chronic Illness – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Most people do not realize that there are other burdens associated with living with a chronic illness – like the investment of time, energy, and money.

Stuck In The Middle – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
The more I think about it, the more I realize that I belong to a demographic of arthritis sufferers who receive less support, recognition, and resources than they ought to.

Kimberly’s book makes some great points about what you can learn by accepting your RA diagnosis. She also provides prompts, or “dance steps,” that may help you through your own personal journey.

Achieving a Big Goal When  You Have A Chronic Illness - on Mango Health
Living with a chronic illness shouldn't mean you have to give up on goals that are important to you - whether it's an athletic milestone, a trip to your dream destination, or starting a family. Here's four tips to help you approach - and achieve - big goals. 


Emotional Impact

The Ups & Downs of Chronic Illness - And How I Learned To Embrace The "Ups" - on Mango Health
Life is full of highs and lows. But when you’re living with a chronic illness, the “down days” can be much lower than you expected. Knowing this, how can you enjoy the positive moments when there’s an inevitable low point in your future?

Happiness is Everything – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
I used to be a busy, fast-paced, crazy overachiever. After being diagnosed with RA, I suddenly found myself in a body that wasn't capable of that lifestyle. It was then that I decided to reevaluate my life, my choices, and my priorities. I decided to try to keep looking forward, take one day at a time, and figure out what would actually make me happy. 

The Pain of Invisibility – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately about the “invisible” aspect of life with RA. How do you make someone realize how much pain you are in when there are no visual signs of your pain? Is it possible to help someone understand your severe fatigue even if you are able to keep going through your day? 

Catch-22 – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
I'm sure I'm not the only person living with RA who has experienced catch-22 situations, where I feel trapped by a paradoxical set of circumstances and forced to make a decision where it feels like I lose either way. I've been faced with dozens of these decisions over the past five years.

Invisible Illness & Handicapped Parking – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
There seems to be an expectation that people should be able to tell whether you “deserve” to park in a handicapped spot just by looking at you.

Handicapped Parking Without a Placard – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
You know what's terrible? When people without handicapped placards think it’s ok to park in a handicapped spot for their own convenience.


Self Esteem

The Impact of RA on Self-Esteem – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Physical changes can have a psychological impact, decreasing confidence/self-esteem. This article provides coping tips.

Finding the Beauty in Bruises  – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
These bruises, while certainly not pretty, are very visual representation of the battle I am fighting for my health every single day.


Men & Masculinity

James May – A Man’s Story of Understanding and Healing – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Nearly three times more women have RA than men....but there are still almost half a million men living with RA in the United States. 

"Men, Masculinity, and RA" at the 2015 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting  – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
An oft-repeated statistic is that there are three times more women than men with RA. Nevertheless, there are still almost half a million men living with RA in the U.S. alone.

Accepting Help

Paying for Help – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
It does still feel weird to pay for help. Sometimes I feel like a “good mother” would be able to do all of this herself. But you know what? That’s nonsense.

Staying Active

Love Your Body – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
In a strange way, I think my RA pain has taught me just how amazing my body really is. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I want this pain or that it is easy to deal with it…but what I am saying is that instead of getting upset and angry at my body for all of the pain, I now try to be more grateful for all the things I can do and any day that I am able to spend without pain, or even with less pain.

PT & Me – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
I know that physical therapy techniques have done a world of good for some people. I also know that I won’t be able to tell if they will help me unless I try them. Do you have any advice for improving the experience? 

My Heart and the Mountain – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Balancing RA-related limitations with the desire to live life to the fullest can be tricky, but sometimes the aftermath of an adventure is worth it.

Yoga For Arthritis - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
While I know that yoga is meant to be a gentle form of exercise that can also reduce stress, I find it sort of intimidating considering, I live with RA. Could my sore joints really get into that pretzel-like pose?


Friends & Family

“At Least It’s Not Cancer” – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
“At least it’s not cancer.” On the one hand, I wholeheartedly agree. On the other hand, I think comments like these unfairly downplay the seriousness of RA & other autoimmune diseases.

The Power of Chemo  – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
After hearing I had to take a chemo drug, my friends almost universally reacted as if my RA was much more serious.

The Miracle Cure! – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
She didn’t want to hear about my experiences or share her personal experiences with arthritis. Nope. Instead she wanted to offer me the miracle cure. Have you ever been offered “the miracle cure”? How did you respond? 

How Vaccinations Affect My Family  – on RheumatoidArthritis.net
I've been reluctant to write about such a hot button topic, but it's also an issue that is extremely relevant to the members of this community. So I’m going to go ahead and discuss it: vaccinations.


Holidays

Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays With A Chronic Illness - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Book review of an Advent calendar of tips for a sane holiday season for those living with chronic conditions.  


Advocacy

The Benefits of Advocacy - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
I've seen the benefits of advocacy first hand. Not only did I help pass a law that will help all patients in the state of Colorado, I also helped myself keep moving forward with a feeling of optimistic purpose. 

Join The Movement - Fight to Address Key Policy Issues - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
When it comes to healthcare policy, patients are experts because they have first-hand experience of what it is like to live with chronic illness. Taking part in advocacy efforts can be as simple as sending an email.   

Making Biologic Medications Accessible And Affordable - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
The Patients' Access to Treatment Act is legislation that makes medications more accessible and affordable.  

Biosimilars & Patient Notification - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Biosimilars give patients like me hope. If I run out of options for traditional biologics, I may be able to turn to a biosimilar once they are approved.

Increasing Access to Pediatric Rheumatologists - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
There are 300,000 kids in the US growing up with JA - but only 250 board-certified pediatric rheumatologist to care for all of them.

Promoting Arthritis Research at the Department of Defense - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Arthritis has a major impact on our nation's fighters, veterans, and their families.  

What Can We Learn From The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Given that everybody views things from their own perspective, I find myself wondering what the arthritis community might be able to learn from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.


Fundraising & Awareness

The First-Ever Rheumatoid Diseases Awareness Month - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
September 2016 marks the very first Rheumatic Diseases Awareness Month, created by the American College of Rheumatology. 

The Arthritis Foundation's California Coast Classic - on RheumatoidArthritis.net  
Three hundred cyclists with a shared goal - to raise awareness and funds to support people living with arthritis.

May is Arthritis Awareness Month - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
In May, try to educate someone about the true facts of life with arthritis!

Kids Get Arthritis Too! July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Arthritis is not just a geriatric disease. July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month!    

World Arthritis Day 2014 (and World Arthritis Day 2013) - on RheumatoidArthritis.net
Did you know that October 12th is World Arthritis Day?   

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