Though this post is deeply personal and difficult to write, I am happy to be participating in a blog carnival for Rheumatoid Awareness Day coming up on February 2, 2014. Organized by Kelly Young from RA Warrior, this year patients are discussing what Rheumatoid Awareness would mean to us. I’ve been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (Rheumatoid Disease) since the birth of my oldest son and have a lot to say. Want to join in and help raise Rheumatoid Awareness? Here’s how you can help and be sure to share these posts and spread the word! Every little bit helps!
>”Rheumatoid Awareness Day, February 2nd, is a day of recognition of the reality that Rheumatoid Disease (RD) is a progressive inflammatory disease in need of greater research and improved treatments. RD causes damage to joint and organ tissues, resulting in severe pain, frequent disability, and increased mortality. Rheumatoid Awareness Day helps combat the misconception that Rheumatoid Disease is a form of arthritis. While joint inflammation is a prominent symptom of this disease for most patients, it’s a disservice to refer to RD as merely a type of arthritis. Patients in our community have often experienced systemic effects of the disease that confirm what research tells us. So…
* More research dollars?
* Earlier medical treatment?
* More appropriate accommodation?
WHAT WOULD RHEUMATOID DISEASE AWARENESS MEAN TO YOU?
Tell the world your answer…
* Share your answer in the comments box.
* Share this blog post on social media, along with your answer.
* Email this post to a friend, adding your comment (button below).
* Write a blog post about WHAT RHEUMATOID AWARENESS WOULD MEAN on your own blog.”
What Rheumatoid Awareness Means to Me:
Better Recognition of Symptoms for Earlier Diagnosis
I didn’t know what Rheumatoid Disease was until I got it and had no idea how it would change my life. Rheumatoid Disease is prevalent in women in their child-bearing years. It often flares after childbirth and in my case, first appeared after the birth of my first son. An untreated sore throat sent my immune system to attack my joints and began with swelling and pain in my hands. Rheumatoid Disease attacked my body quickly and joint damage is permanent.
As if being a mom isn’t difficult enough, Rheumatoid Disease has made it harder for me to do even the simplest tasks. These are my hands after 12 years of Rheumatoid Disease, I can’t straighten them fully or lie them flat. They deviate towards each other though in the picture I’m using the ground to help me straighten them to see my fingers. Only knuckle replacement surgery will fix them now. Both hands in casts for a couple months? I don’t think so! Not when my kids are young anyway.
Increased awareness means more new moms would take better care of themselves and seek treatment at first appearance of symptoms. Being a mom is hard enough without additional health complications.
Rheumatoid Disease is genetic. My sons inherited my big cheeks and smile, but I fear most they will also inherit my Rheumatoid Disease. It’s a life-altering disease, I can’t run and play with them because of the permanent damage done mostly to my hands and feet. I am always on the lookout for swelling or pain in their joints when they get sick. And I do my best to treat their sicknesses effectively and proactively so their immune system won’t attack their joints too. Rheumatoid disease attacks kids too, it knows no age limit. Increased awareness would help parents recognize their kids’ symptoms. Earlier diagnosis means less joint damage and a better quality of life. Kids should be able to run and play…and be kids.
More Research Funds
Every patient is different. While my Rheumatoid Disease is controlled well by Remicade, it’s a strong and very expensive medicine. Without it though, I would not be able to walk. I still fear what the long-term effects of taking such a strong medicine will be for me later in life. The list of possible side effects? Scary! Research is needed to know what causes our immune systems to attack, ways to prevent/control the painful flares, and find less powerful and more effective treatments. For me, for the millions of people young and old who suffer from the pain and effects of joint damage.
So won’t you help us get the word out to fight this disease? Stop by RA Warrior and Rheumatoid Patient Foundation and check out all the great work Kelly is doing to raise Rheumatoid Disease Awareness!
Share my post on your blogs and social media. Tell pregnant moms about it and take care of yourselves when you get sick! There’s no cure right now but maybe there could be in my kids’ lifetime! Thanks for your help.