Access To Healthcare

Access to HealthcareNothing is more important than having access to the best healthcare possible, especially if you or one of your family members has arthritis or a related disease.

If you have insurance coverage, are on Medicare, or are uninsured or underinsured, you need to know all of your options for getting care and getting coverage.

More than 46 million Americans have arthritis or a related rheumatic disease, many of whom struggle to find accessible, affordable health care.

More information is available on the Arthritis Foundation’s Access to Healthcare web page.

I have received quite a few emails asking me if I had any information on co-payment, out of pocket assistance, and drug discounts – in addition to access to rheumatoid arthritis medications for people who are currently uninsured.

I didn’t have an answer before, but I just came across this great resource on the Arthritis Foundation website that includes all the links and phone numbers needed to find out the answers.

Hope this helps!

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Sunday Break

Because there is no such thing as taking too many breaks!

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Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

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I feel very fortunate that I have been able to visit the Louvre in Paris on multiple occasions. After doing the tourist guide thing the first couple of times, I have learned to focus in one theme in order to make my visits more relaxed and enjoyable. One of my new games is to photograph the changing patterns of light and shadow on the sculptures throughout the day and night.

Louvre Sculpture

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During my last visit I picked up a copy of Dogs in the Louvre, a great little hardcover book that includes full color reproductions of works of art in the Louvre that feature dogs.  (For cat lovers, there is also a corresponding Cats in the Louvre.)

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In you are in the southern hemisphere, today is the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year. If you are in the northern hemisphere, today is the summer solstice – the longest day of the year.

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Yesterday’s lunch: homemade gluten-free cornmeal pizza crust topped with swiss chard, onions, and raisins. Next time I’ll fire up the outdoor brick oven.

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Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

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Piaf: No, I Regret Nothing

“For me, singing is a way of escaping. It’s another world. I’m no longer on earth.”
—Edith Piaf

Piaf

Edith Piaf (December 19, 1915 – October 10, 1963) is considered by many to be France’s greatest popular singer. She used her heartbreaking voice to sing ballads which communicated the many personal tragedies and difficult childhood memories from her life.

Her most famous songs include La Vie en Rose (1946), Milord (1959), and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (1960).

Edith Piaf developed severe rheumatoid arthritis in her early 30′s. Her physical deformities were often visible as she hobbled across the stage or as she moved her hands while she sang.

Piaf’s lifelong struggle with rheumatoid arthritis is starkly portrayed in the movie La Vie en Rose. This movie is a biographical sketch of the famous singer’s life from childhood up until her death. (Actress Marion Cotillard, who played the adult Piaf, won the Best Actress Oscar Award for this movie.)

One of Piaf’s final greatest hits, sung for the first time just a few years before her death, was ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ – or ‘No, I Regret Nothing’. I have included a video of this song below, along with its lyrics translated into English.

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

No, nothing at all,
No, I don’t regret anything!
Neither the good that’s been done to me,
Nor the bad;
It’s all the same to me!

No, nothing at all,
No, I don’t regret anything!
It’s been payed for,
swept (away),
Forgotten.
I don’t care about the past!

With my memories
I have lit the fire!
My disappointments, my pleasures,
I no longer need them.
Swept away are the loves
with their trembling,
swept away forever!
I start again at zero.

No, nothing at all,
No, I don’t regret anything!
Neither the good that’s been done to me,
Nor the bad;
It’s all the same to me!

No, nothing at all,
No, I don’t regret anything!
Because my life,
because my joy,
today
begins with you!

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My Type Of Medicine

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” -Aristotle

Man-Leonardo-da-VinciThe approach that Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy uses to treat his rheumatoid arthritis is very well-defined. I believe in a holistic approach that brings together knowledge from many different perspectives and fields of expertise. (Go Team RA!)

One of the nice things about this method is that the goal of holistic health is a wellness that encompasses the entire self, rather than just the absence of pain or disease.

I have seen holistic health and alternative medicine used interchangeably, but the fact of the matter is that alternative medicine is a subset of the larger whole that is bought together through a holistic approach. For me, my holistic health can – and often does -also  include traditional medical treatments.

Some people choose to use alternative medicine. Other people choose to use traditional medicine. I choose to use both. I guess this is why I am often confused when I read comments that one’s decision about which approach to implement need be an either/or proposition. I also even more confused when battle lines are drawn between these different methods.

During the past five years that I have lived with rheumatoid arthritis, I have tried many different things in my pursuit of trying to lessen the pain and inflammation, and hopefully return to a point of remission. (I did have one year of almost complete remission during this period.)

At times, my personal treatment plan has placed the emphasis on pharmaceutical medicines. At other times, my personal treatment plan has placed the emphasis on natural and alternative medicines. At the moment, my personal treatment plan incorporates all of the above, and has progressed to include meditation and acupuncture.

Each approach worked in its own way, for a certain period of time. As my rheumatoid arthritis has progressed and the symptoms have altered, so too has my treatment of it. I am unwilling to say that one approach worked better than the other…as I said, each one method worked at its own certain time.

For every alternative approach that is quite often shunned and ridiculed, I can name a corresponding traditional medical approach that did either not work for me, and in some cases made things worse with its side effects.

Just as I should not give up all medicines just because one medicine did not work for me, neither should I give up all alternative methods just because one alternative treatment did not work for me.

I, for one, find pleasure in researching rheumatoid treatment options that can be found documented either in the latest medical journal or read in this month’s issue of a body/mind/spirit type of magazine. In a way, I am more concerned with taking care of MYSELF than I am with taking care of my rheumatoid arthritis, and I can only do this by bringing together many different viewpoints.

I respect all points of view, and I am often saddened when certain topics of discussion are either discouraged or outright banned on various online support forums that I have visited in the past. Instead of building a wall between different forms of health treatment, I think we should be bringing them together as a whole.

(As for the sales pitches that all of us have received many times for the miracle pill that will cure you in 30 days, I personally prefer to files these along with my junk mail. Please don’t let these examples cloud your judgment of alternative medicine.)

Here on my blog, I welcome discussion of any type of treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis. More importantly, I look forward to hearing from people what has worked for them. I would much rather try something that doesn’t work, than not try something that does work.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

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Some fellow RA blogs that give me encouragement to explore and expand my horizons. The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo , A Journey to Cure Arthritis , and Gentle Hugs Cafe.

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A Beginners Guide to RA: How to Be a Self Advocate

“In communities of people who have chronic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, you often hear advice about becoming a good advocate for yourself — how it is an essential part of navigating the health care system and contributes to living well with chronic health issues. Self advocacy won’t cure your RA or reduce your pain levels, but it will help you to represent your own interests within the health care system, ensuring that the decisions made are best for you. When you know what’s happening is the best option for you, you feel confident and more in control of your life and that can help keep your stress levels down. But how do you advocate for yourself?”

Read the full post at MyRACentral.com.

Thank you Lene Andersen for writing this wonderfully informative post. I have no doubt that many people who read it will feel more empowered when it comes to advocating their own RA healthcare treatment.

Lene writes at her personal blog, The Seated View.

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