Thank You!

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. Southard

Thank you!On almost a daily basis, someone sends a message to Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, thanking him for writing this blog. Sometimes these messages come in the form of blog comments and sometimes they come in the form of private emails. I have not always responded to all of these messages personally, so today I would like to write a little about how writing this blog and how connecting with others has helped me on my journey with rheumatoid arthritis.

More importantly, I would like to thank everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. Whether you have commented or not, I appreciate the support that you have provided – both to myself and to others.

Up until April of this year, I knew no one else who was living with rheumatoid arthritis – even though I myself had been living with rheumatoid arthritis for years. I often felt like I was the only one living with this disease…but I now know otherwise. Hearing about the ups and downs of others has made it a little easier for me to accept the ups and downs that RA brings into my life.

I now know that I am surrounded by a strong community of superheroes – people who also show me that life does go on, in spite of living with a chronic illness. I have learned so much from each and every person I have communicated with, and for that I am grateful.

A few months ago, it was my rheumatoid arthritis – and not I – who was in control of my life. I was spending another day stuck in bed. Having just visited The Single Gal’s Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis for the umpteenth time, I thought to myself that I should start blogging as well. (Thanks, Sara, for inspiring me to start blogging!)

I started sketching on my tablet computer. My one and only criteria was that I wanted to blog anonymously, because I felt that it would allow me to be more open when it came to discussing personal issues. Who could I possible blog as? I had no clue. Then I started thinking, what is the exact opposite of the way I am feeling at the moment? Superman popped into my head. Perfect! Being a superhero would not only inspire myself, but it would also provide the perfect cover for my true identity.

A few more strokes of my digital pen, and Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy was born. My original brainstorming sketch is shown below.

ra-guy-brainstorm

When I launched this blog, I honestly expected to have an audience of a couple of dozen readers, maximum. If I reached as many as fifty readers total, I would be more than happy. Now, I have hundreds of readers each and every day…and in terms of page hits, I should hit 54,000+ sometime later today. All of this is much more than this humble superhero could have ever anticipated.

That said, the true reward of writing this blog comes not from seeing the counters increase on my WordPress dashboard, or from keeping track of the number of fans on my Facebook page or followers on my Twitter account. In a way, numbers can be somewhat boring, and can actually be a distraction from what they truly represent.

Every new person who I meet online, every new message I receive from someone who had never previously shared anything about living with RA, every laugh and smile that I receive from reading the comments that are posted, and each message of encouragement and support that I receive when I am going through a difficult this – this is what this blog represents to me. All of this would mean nothing, if not for my family, friends, and readers who continue to form an integral part of this blog.

Seeing this online community continue to grow – and being a member of this community – is the best reward of all. I would not exchange this for anything else.

Once again, thank you.

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

17 Comments
17 comments
  1. Julie Woodard says:

    Hi RA Guy,
    I get up early each day, this is the best part of the day when it’s quiet and I can be alone with the computer and just browse at my own pace. As you know some mornings are better than others and getting up early gives me time to get here and be as comfortable as possible. But in the quiet of the morning, I find myself looking forward to your posting and finding what you have to say each day. I sit with my warm coffee and a smile, even when I don’t want to smile. You cheer my day. You reaffirm that I am not alone, that someone understands the craziness that this disease will cause during the day. You help me laugh at my own craziness. So thank you for being you, and thank you for letting me find your words here. Keep up the good works.

  2. sara says:

    You said it so well, and I’m so happy you picked up your pen and started this. . . you continue to add so much to this community and really have taken it leaps and bounds, just like the superhero you are!

  3. Bernice says:

    Hi RA Guy

    I am the product manager for Mabthera (rituximab)in S. Africa and was looking at what’s happening for World Arthritis Day. I came across your excellent leaflet “60 second Guide to RA”. It is really great. I would love to hand it out at work and leave in rheumatologists’ rooms on WAD to increase awareness of RA. Would this be possible? Would there be a copyright issue. This is for non profit. I would just print out these as is. Please let me know. Thanks.

  4. Hazel says:

    I always look forward to reading what you have to say each day. You make me feel not so alone in this too. Thank YOU!

  5. Laurie says:

    I even find myself worrying about you like a mother hen might when I get on the computer early in the morning and you have not posted yet, I have to visualize that you are still snug in bed and just having a lazy stretch before you get up to tackle the days activities. i find I’m always better later inthe day when I check in and see my favorite superhuman Icon has posted.
    Cheers, Laurie

  6. Stephanie Soltero says:

    I read this blog daily and find some sort of inspiration i need. we all need support and just someone to vent to that understands what we are going through. Thank you for your honesty even in your worst days.I love this blog and Sarah’s and i look forward to many more post.

  7. Lana says:

    I look forward to what you have to say on a daily basis. You are inspiring and you have done a great thing. Awareness is so important and what you have done here is important. Thanks for being Super!

  8. Marianne Hoynes says:

    RAGuy, All I can say is, you have the kindest heart. Whenever I have mentioned to you that there is a new guy, suffering with RA, communicating either to me or on one of the RA support groups, you immediately find them and offer friendship. My father in law is one of those people. You have such a way of giving, all from a two dimensional page. For me personally, you have been such a support, and generously shared my struggle with so many people. Thank You, RAGuy. You are a blessing.
    Marianne

  9. Mary-Cat says:

    You are truly an inspiration to us all. I just discovered you via Facebook, and since then, have been reading your blogs daily. Until I was diagnosed with RA last month, I knew almost nothing about it, and alot of it was misconception. Your website is a goldmine of information and support for those of us crawling around(sometimes literally!)in the dark. Alot of my beliefs have been challenged recently, but the one that I hold true to, is that everything happens for a reason, and at just the right time. I’m still struggling with why everything had to happen at the same time to me, but one positive thing that happened was finding your blog. I was searching for answers about this mysterious illness, and found you. I now know that I am not alone in what I’m going through, and that there is a community of people silently supporting and understanding each other out there. A simple Thank You just doesn’t seem to convey the appreciation for what you’re doing.

  10. jodi says:

    RA Guy – you are doing such a fantastic job with this blog. Yours and Sara’s are the two I read regularly. Keep up the great work!!!

  11. Remicade Dream says:

    I’m one of your daily readers, whether I always comment or not. I’m grateful for your blog, and, like you, grateful for the bigger community of bloggers!

    Thank you for all that you do, and for letting us be part of a superhero’s life! (How many people can say that?)

  12. Christie says:

    RA Guy- You’re certainly MY super hero!
    I was diagnosed in June with RA after 5 years of going from doctor to doctor trying to get a diagnosis. I felt all along I had RA but I was continually told there was “nothing wrong” with me. I had started believing that maybe I was just crazy and imagining all the things that were going on with my body. That the pain was imaginary in some way, and the unrelenting fatigue was just laziness. In June when the RA was confirmed it absolutely sent me reeling. On the one hand I was relieved to finally get a diagnosis, but on the other hand totally shocked that I really was physically ill (I was starting to accept crazy and lazy!). I literally didn’t know where to turn for answers… I wasn’t even sure what the questions were. After two months of praying and crying and praying some more my prayers were answered when I found your site. Your blog is exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. As Mary-Cat said, your website is a “gold-mine of information and support for those of us crawling around in the dark”. Wonderfully stated Mary-Cat… thanks!
    And thank you RA Guy for tapping into your super hero powers and doing this everyday! You’re a blessing.

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