Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is some things terribly personal on behalf of. My mom had RA. She was diagnosed once I was 10 and therefore the larger part of my childhood was colored by the stark reality that my mother had a chronic, debilitative malady. In just a few short years, she went from being the energetic, outgoing mother of four who helped run the family business and chaired the local Girl Scout cookie sale, to being bedridden because of joint damage.
My mummy was diagnosed with RA within the Seventies and sometimes past, not much was understood about rheumatoid arthritis. We knew it wasn’t the ‘other kind of arthritis, osteoarthritis, but beyond that, it was pretty much an information void. The doctors offered up little or no concerning the malady, except to say the treatment options were limited. Even worse, these were the days before the Internet so there was nowhere to turn for mom or our family to do our own research, to learn more about the disease, to learn what kinds of questions we should have asked her doctors. There were few effective treatments when my mother was diagnosed, but if she had known some of the encouraging news about exercise and motion and how to move when you have a flare-up if she’d heard some straight talk about how to negotiate relationships when RA is part of the equation if she’d heard about the connection between nutrition and inflammation — well! I can only imagine how encouraging that might have been. My mummy battled RA for 10 years before she passed on to the great beyond from complications.
People forget that the physical symptoms are only one aspect of RA. With chronic diseases, there is so much more to manage than just the aches and pains.
I suspect there is a person out there who’s just recently learned they have RA and they are busy planning how they are going to ‘stop’ living. I imagine there is a family member who is thinking, “Hey, this isn’t what I signed up for” and filled with misgivings about the future.
I have typically questioned if things might need been totally different if we tend to may are higher hep and were able to be higher advocates for my mummy. That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of New Way RA, a new online talk show focused exclusively on topics relevant to anyone dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. The show takes a whole life approach to RA and features interviews with experts on not just the medical issues of RA, but other topics relevant to the overall well-being of somebody living with a chronic condition – nutrition, fitness, relationships, and work/career management.