April 7, 2002. After 6 months of excruciating pain, multiple steroid shots and withdrawal of fluid from my joints, the doctor said “you have Autoimmune Rheumatoid Arthritis.” I was so relieved to have a diagnosis. Finally, someone figured out why as a healthy young woman of 27 years old with a precious newborn baby, I couldn’t unbuckle my baby from his car seat or walk without crying.
At the time, I did not understand what having an autoimmune disorder meant, I naively thought I’ll take the medicines and the pain would go away. I did not understand RA was chronic. I did not understand RA was incurable. I did not understand RA would change my life. I did not understand RA would change my family’s lives.
My diagnosis was 14 years ago and I’ve had my share of ups and downs. I struggled physically and emotionally. I went from thinking I could be Supermom to realizing I can’t keep up. I learned how to read my body and figured out what triggers my RA flares. I found ways to make my life easier and ways to cope with the emotional and physical toll of this disease.Now I can say, I feel the best I ever have in the last 14 years. I went from surviving to thriving with RA.
Of all the topics I write about, it is hardest to write about my RA. Reliving the pain and opening up my heart for you all to see sometimes puts me into a flare. But I have an important story to tell and I hope sharing my journey with RA will help others wherever they are on their path. I hope my story helps you figure out your body and how to go from surviving to thriving with RA too.My Journey with #Autoimmune Rheumatoid Arthritis. From Surviving to Thriving with RA Click To Tweet
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Symptoms of RA
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Fevers & Overcoming Illnesses (medicines, fighting illnesses)
- First Ever Rheumatoid Awareness Day 2013 (raising awareness)
- Celebrate Rheumatoid Awareness Day 2014 (raising awareness)
Coping with RA
- 5 Essential Steps to Understanding Chronic Illness – How I Did It & You Can Too!
- Gift Guide for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
- When Both Partners Have a Chronic Illness
- How to Bullet Journal in a Planner (how I track my pain, weather, steps and food intake in my planner to notice trends in my health)
- My Favorite Books (I read to cope with RA and co-host the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge since my RA and being on Remicade won’t allow me to travel everywhere I’d like to go so I travel the world in books!)
- The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Jan Myers* (this book is very detailed and honestly scared me a little but it made me realize how some of my other health issues like bleeding gums, dandruff, acne and allergies are also an autoimmune response. I did not follow the diet to the letter, but it got me started on eliminating food groups and other environmental toxins which has made an improvement in my pain levels this past year. See more about how this book helped me).
- Diane Chamberlain is my favorite author and also has RA. She captures well the emotional connection between characters. My favorite book of hers was The Midwife’s Confession* and The Secret of CeeCee Wilkes* stars a character with RA.
- Finding Hope Beyond Chronic Illness – Interview with Author Shulamit Lando
Cooking with RA
- 8 Must Have Tools in the Kitchen
- Recipe Index with RA Ease of Prep Ratings (picture of my hands, recipes rated by 1 -5 stars)
- Weekly Menu Plans
Motherhood and RA
- Why Are These Small Victories? (fighting depression)
- The Joy and Light in their Eyes
- Reality Check: Supermom to RA Flare
- My Weekend with RA: Like an Episode of “Survivor”
- In Her Shoes: Fighting an Invisible Illness (raising awareness)
- Deciding to Be Happy (working mom to SAHM, reducing stress)
- Motherhood and Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Exercise with RA
RA Resources and Blogs
What would you like to see me write about? What would help you in your journey with autoimmune rheumatoid arthritis? What tools or tips would you like to share that helps you cope with RA? Join the conversation and leave a comment.