Rheumatoid Arthritis & Tea

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is a big fan of tea.

I have a large plastic bin in my kitchen that has probably about fifty different boxes of tea. I have teas for all occasions – winter teas, summer teas, and everything in between. I have teas for upset stomachs. I have teas for cold season and for improved breathing. I have teas to take when I am anxious, and teas to take before I fall asleep.

Quite often, I finish my meals with a big mug of hot tea (no sugar). The two types I drink the most: green tea and mint tea.

Last year I purchased a glass teapot and blooming teas; dried flowers infused with different teas. When placed in the pot of hot water, the flowers open up and release the tea. It’s lots of fun, and a great conversation piece.

I have probably more than half of the Celestial Seasonings teas. I have teas purchased in China. I have smoky green teas purchased from a Japanese department store on Fifth Avenue. I have blueberry tea in a nice wooden box that my mother bought me from Alaska. I even have Russian tea. I have tea my sister-in-law bought from Egypt.

I have yerba mate from Argentina, along with the obligatory metal straw. I have drank coca leaf tea to lessen altitude-sickness while in the Andes mountains. (And in case you are wondering, coca tea has absolutely nothing to do with cocaine.)

Last but not least, I even have tea for my arthritis. My favorite is the Joint Comfort blend from Yogi Teas. I like to prepare a large thermos of this tea and drink it throughout to day. I only recently got serious about drinking this Joint Comfort tea regularly – which means that I just ran out. Luckily, six more boxes from Amazon are on their way.

Do you drink tea to help with you rheumatoid arthritis? If so, what kind?


Yogi Tea
Yogi Tea Joint Comfort


Our unique blend of traditional herbs from Asia, Africa and America is specially formulated to ease joint movement. Naturally decaffeinated green tea joins organic turmeric root, used in Ayurveda for joint health, and yucca root, traditionally used by Native Americans to help maintain the joints. We add cat’s claw bark, an antioxidant and immune system balancer used for centuries by the Ashanica Indians of South America. African devil’s claw—also known for its joint support—creates a distinctive, soothing blend. Enjoy a cup of Joint Comfort™ tea and move freely throughout your day.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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

Surgery Fast Approaching – Need Your Help!

In 32 days I will be having the much anticipated, life-changing surgery.

Through your generosity we have come far in the fundraising – to over $4100! However, there is more ground to cover.

I am shamelessly asking you all today to dig deep, and for everyone to reach out to your friends, families, anyone you know who may have a few dollars to give. All you need to do is forward them the site URL…


THANK YOU for what you’ve done. I hope that your actions will result in the world blessing you one thousand times over. I know I will do my best in the future to “pay it forward” in order to show my appreciation for how you all have helped me.


RA Guy wishes Lisa the best in raising the remaining funds for her upcoming knee surgery!

The Evolving Nature Of R&R

R&R 1
R&R: The Childhood Years

When Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy was a little kid, R&R referred to one thing – the railroad properties in Monopoly. These were always one of my favorite properties to buy, with hopes of collecting all four railroads: Reading, Pennsylvania, B&O, and Short Line.

Some of my other favorite properties were the two cheapest ones right after Go – Mediterranean Avenue and Baltic Avenue. They were easy to build houses and hotels on as they were so inexpensive and required just two properties. I don’t remember how many times a player short on cash breathed a sign of relief after successfully passing Park Place and Boardwalk, only to end up on one of my hotels and go bankrupt.

I was always the dog token. I played by the rules where all taxes and fees went into the center of the board, to be one by the first person to land on Free Parking.
And isn’t amazing how frequently someone can roll three doubles in a row, only to end up in jail? I wonder what the actual statistical chance is of that happening…
Okay, now that I have shared my lifelong Monopoly strategies, I’ll be sure to never play with anyone who has read this post.

R&R 2
R&R: The Early Career Years

If you know anyone who has gone to architecture school – both undergraduate and graduate – like me, then you know the routine. All-nighter after all-nighter, countless days spend at the drawing board in the design studio, seeing way too many sunrises, and bad accidents involving sleepy students and sharp cutting tools.

After nine years of this routine, I finally embarked on my early professional career with one thought in my mind – take it a little bit easier that I had during the past decade. This doesn’t mean that my career suffered; in fact quite the opposite happened – I went into the office, did my work, and then left at the end of the day (luckily in my industry I could set my own hours, so I staggered my workday up a couple of hours – from 6am to 3pm).

So when my vacations days approached, R&R meant only one thing: rest and relaxation. I never could figure out why people distributed every possible method in which they could be contacted while they were out of the office…and then on top of that, dropped in via email on a regular basis. Nope, that was not for me. I sent out one message, turned on my out-of-office replay, and didn’t check in until the Monday morning that I was actually back in the office.

For me, the whole point of work and vacation was to work while I was at work, and to vacation while I was on vacation. (Some things aren’t meant to be mixed….I shudder at the sound of “working vacation”.)

R&R 3
R&R: The Rheumatoid Arthritis Years

Having lived with rheumatoid arthritis for a handful of years now R&R has taken on yet another meaning. This time, it refers to remission and relapse.

And to be honest, I have only recently begun to focus that there are two sides of this issue. When I am on the midst of a flare, the sweetest dream is one of remission, where all disease activity ceases. It often seems unattainable, but once it is reached it is quite easy to forget the trauma caused by the intense pain and by the reduction in mobility.

As I’ve been having very slight RA activity during the past month, I wouldn’t say that I was in complete remission – but I am quite close. The way I look at it, I and not my rheumatoid arthritis is currently in control of my body.

But with each new good day, as the distance between my and my recent pains and struggles continue to grow, I try to remind myself – without being pessimistic – that the probability of a relapse is quite high when living with an illness such as rheumatoid arthritis.

I remind myself that there cannot be remission without relapse, and that there cannot be relapse without remission. The sooner I begin to accept both sides of the equation, the better prepared I will be for the relapse that will more than likely appear sometime in my future.

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

New Way RA

New Way RA(TM) Talk Show Premieres Online for People Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis

New Way RA

HORSHAM, Pa., July 29 /PRNewswire/ — New Way RA(TM), a new online talk show hosted by award-winning journalist and anchor of Inside Edition, Deborah Norville, premieres today at www.NewWayRA.com.

New Way RA offers practical advice and information for adults living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Deborah Norville and expert guests discuss and share information about relevant topics through a variety of segments, including health, nutrition, fitness, relationships and work/career management. […]

Norville speaks from the perspective of having a family member with RA. “When I was 10 years old, my mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and my family struggled as my mother’s health declined rapidly. Back then, there was very little information and support available to help us understand the physical and emotional impact of RA,” said Norville. “Having lived through that experience with my mom, I feel fortunate that I am able to play a role in providing an educational and entertaining resource to help people find new ways to live with RA, despite the challenges that often accompany the condition.”

Sponsored by Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc, New Way RA features several expert guests, including Food Network host, registered dietitian and author, Ellie Krieger, M.S., R.D. Krieger discusses simple meal considerations and recipes that demonstrate how small changes in the kitchen can positively affect overall health for anyone, especially for individuals living with RA.


Full Press Release

If ($Everything != ‘RA’)

Not Always As They Seem

“Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many.”
-Phaedrus, Roman Poet

Rheumatoid Arthrhtis Guy has come to a couple of new realizations during this past week. The first one is that it’s often all too easy to blame every ache and pain on rheumatoid arthritis. The second one is that it’s all too easy to think that every ache and pain is an indicator of a imminent relapse into another major flare.

I’m learning – little by little – to take a step back, take a deep breath, and wait to see what happens. As the common saying goes, things are not always what they seem to be.

Just last week I had an short episode of moderate pain in my hands and feet. As I have previously written, this was the most intense pain I had experienced in the previous few weeks. Almost immediately, I got scared and told myself that this was the start of another episode of intense pain and inflammation. Deep back inside my mind, the thought “I am not ready to deal with this again so soon” was bouncing around like a screen saver in overdrive.

But by the next day, things were better – and I realized that my worst fear at the moment (relapsing back into a major flare) was not to be…at least for the moment.

(Only the day before, I would have bet the house otherwise.)

The initial diagnosis I received from my first rheumatologist was more closely related to ankylosing spondylitis, so the possibility that my arthritis might affect my back has often crossed my mind. (My diagnosis has since been moved to a more “typical” rheumatoid arthritis.)

So when I started having some major pain in my upper back and neck last November, I was convinced that my rheumatoid arthritis had grabbed hold of these joints. I felt like I was on a see-saw with AS (ankylosing spondylitis) on one end and RA (rheumatoid arthritis) on the other end. Won’t it just make up it’s mind?

Low and behold, doctors determined that the muscles surrounding my upper spine had been damaged and were slightly torn.

(Little did I tell them that only the month before, I had started practicing unsupported headstands in my yoga class.)

Oops! What I was dealing with had nothing to do with my rheumatoid arthritis, and had everything to do with pushing myself too quickly as I started to learn this advanced yoga posture.

Yesterday morning I stayed home from the gym. When I woke up in the morning, I struggled to get out of bed and walk across the room. Anyone who saw me would have immediately come to the assumption that my rheumatoid arthritis was once again acting up.

The truth to the matter was that my sciatic nerve was inflamed. As this large nerve passes from the lower back through the buttock into the upper leg, the smallest movement caused jolts of pain to pass through the entire left side of my body.

I either slept one night in a twisted position or pulled it while exercising. Whatever the cause, it will more than likely heal itself in the coming days.

And it a weird sort of way, it was sort of nice to be limping around for a reason that is completely unrelated to my rheumatoid arthritis. It reminds me that my body is about much more than just RA, although many times it does not seem so.

I’ve been doing a lot of web development coding during the past few days. The title of this post is how I would write “everything is not equal to RA,” in the PHP language that I am using. Maybe I’ll jot this down on a post-it note and place it on my desk, in order to remind myself that everything is indeed not equal to RA!

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