Al Pacino Honored By Arthritis Foundation

Arthritis Foundation Hosts Successful ‘Commitment to a Cure’ Awards Event to Fund Arthritis Research

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The 22nd “Commitment to a Cure” Awards Gala successfully raised close to $650,000 to fund research to find a cure for arthritis, a disease affecting over 46 million adults (one in five) and nearly 300,000 children in the United States. Legendary actor Al Pacino and renowned ophthalmologist Gary N. Holland, M.D., received the prestigious Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award at the Beverly Wilshire hotel on Saturday, November 14th, before a crowd of more than 500 guests.

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Here is a great news video of the event from

In The Weeds, Origami, And Monstro

PinocchioRheumatoid Arthritis Guy apologizes in advance, if any of the metaphors that are used in today’s post do not make sense.

If I were a contestant in Top Chef right now, I would definitely be “in the weeds” – restaurant lingo for not being able to keep up with the orders; swamped. (Speaking of chefs and rheumatoid arthritis, Sara from The Single Gal’s Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis recently had an interesting article on The Next Iron Chef Ame-RA-ca.)

I find myself coming up with these metaphors during rough times, in order to maintain some sense of humor and balance. I don’t think that I use them in order to deny or avoid what is going on at the moment; in fact I think they actually help me process what is once again happening. When it feels once again like the situation is unmanageable, I have to do my best to turn it back into something that I can manage.

I have come up with a lot of metaphors in the past two days.

Just a few minutes ago, I finally got out of bed. Whether the period during which I was not able to move lasted 60 minutes or 90 minutes or 120 minutes, I do not exactly know. I do know that it seemed to last much longer than usual. Up until this past year, moments like this would have created feelings of intense anxiety and claustrophobia. Not any more. Even during these periods, I gotta try to have fun. I have already used the story of the troll who lives under my bed with a sledgehammer…so this morning, I needed to come up with something new.

Origami – perfect! I am made of paper, and came by during the middle of the night and turned my arms and legs into an origami creation – beautiful still, but not too functional. (Maybe the included some cranes, for good luck?) All morning long, as I struggled to move, I envisioned myself undoing the origami folds. One by one, minute by minute, I went through the hundreds of folds. Finally, I was able to move. (Yes, I know that this inability to move is related to the inflammatory process that is taking place and that I can’t really speed it up, but like I said, I needed to have some fun.)

Yesterday was a typical slow Sunday here in my house. Mid-afternoon, I decided to unroll my exercise mat and pull out my large exercise ball. My goal was not to do an intense workout or anything of that nature…I just wanted to flex my body and do some gentle exercises on my wrists, ankles, and knees. As my regular yoga routine music played in the background, it reached the part that I normally use for the final relaxation period.

At first I was not going to enter into corpse pose and do this relaxation segment…after all, I barely did anything during my routine. But then I decided to go ahead, what the heck? As I laid down and closed my eyes, I was startled to realize how much pain my body was in. I don’t think this was pain that was a result of the gentle exercises that I had just done. Instead, I think it came from resting my mind and body, and actually paying attention to the state that my body was in. It is so easy to once again ignore the signals that my body is sending me.

I fell asleep on my mat – which I have never done before. When I eventually woke up, I moved to my bed, and fell back to sleep. I could not shake off the pain or the fatigue, and remained in this state for hours. (Warning: metaphor around the corner.) I felt like Pinocchio, when he was stuck in Monstro’s belly. Confused. Trying to orient myself. Wanting to get out. Surprised, once again, at how quickly the symptoms seem to have arrived.

The good thing, though, is that all through yesterday and today I have found myself with a calm mind. In the past, my mind used to race out of control. I know what is happening to my body right now. I know what I need to do in order to get through periods like this. I know everything is going to be okay. And with this, I feel confident. Where this ride will take me and how long it will last I do no know, but I do know that I will get through it.

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

Sunday Break

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


Pumpkin PieThis coming Thursday is Thanksgiving Day – lots of eating and lots of football! Here is a photo of a previous year’s pumpkin pie…I wonder what this year’s pie will look like?

I continue to hear from many friends that they and/or their children have the entire week off. That’s pretty cool, but when did this start? All through college and grad school, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was still an official day…although I don’t think anyone, including the professors, ever attended.


Last night, before going to sleep, I pulled out one of my art books and spent a couple of minutes looking at a work of art. (The page I flipped open to was Nicolas de Largilliere’s Family Portrait, c.1710?) I think I am going to try to make this a nightly habit from now on.


A few years ago I was on a long flight, where they showed the pilot episode of Big Bang Theory. (You know, when they give you hours of television programming from a certain network…usually CBS.) I didn’t really find the new show interesting…but after catching a few re-runs the other day, I am loving it. Ready for another marathon viewing session are dvds of The Big Bang Theory The Complete First Season and The Complete Second Season.


Fired for distributing Avon catalogs and products during work hours? Sounds fishy to me. Read more.


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

From The Archives

XY With RA
RA Guy on June 9th, 2009

Superman1Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy has been wanting to write, for quite some time, about what it is like to be a guy living with RA. I originally thought that I might alienate some members of my predominately female audience if I spoke about this too early on, but now I know otherwise.

Many aspects of living with rheumatoid arthritis do transcend gender differences, and it is easy to relate to the words of someone else who is going through the same thing, no matter if they are male or female. But still, there definitely are perspectives that are unique to women living with rheumatoid arthritis, and there are perspectives that are unique to men living with rheumatoid arthritis.

One of the motivating factors in starting my blog, beyond the therapeutic benefits that I have written about in earlier posts, was the fact that I was having difficulty finding and connecting with other male voices of RA. Sometimes, it feels like the only thing more lonely than living with rheumatoid arthritis is being a guy who lives with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Are You Superstitious?

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, in general, is not a very superstitious person. Sometimes it can get all too complicated to keep up with the different good luck/bad luck rules.

Case in point: Having grown up in the U.S., I learned that Friday the 13th was an unlucky day. During high school, I lived in Italy for a year as an exchange student…where it was Friday the 17th that was considered an unlucky day. Now, where I live in South America, it is Tuesday the 13th that is considered an unlucky day. See what I mean?

Another common superstition is that bad news comes in threes. After the recent deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson on the same day (June 25, 2009), it came as no surprise that the death of anybody who was even slightly well-known in the days following was passed around on Facebook and Twitter as evidence of the fact that bad news does indeed come in threes.

Amongst those of us who live with rheumatoid arthritis, there is the much-talked about belief that any pronouncement of an improvement of symptoms will immediately be followed by a flare-up. As much as I want this to not be true, it just seems to prove itself to be true, time after time. Just this past Monday I shared on my personal Facebook account a status update of how well I was doing. I need not even fill in the details about what happened on Tuesday.

(Wouldn’t it be great if this worked in the opposite direction as well? That is, every time we talked about symptoms getting worse, we wake up the following day feeling completely fine!)

During these past few days, I’ve been forced to revisit my thoughts about the belief that bad news comes in threes. You see, both of my hands and my left foot have been dealing with a considerable amount of pain and inflammation.  On my left foot, the three center toe knuckles (metatarsal phalangeal joints, for those who want to be precise) continue to cycle through periods where I am unable to move them. The same goes for the three center knuckles on my left hand, and the three center knuckles on my right hand.

Which in a way is odd, because throughout the past few years, it has always been the outer two knuckles on my hands and on my feet that have experienced the most pain. I guess the knuckles in the middle finally decided to fight for the attention that they felt they were not getting. As a middle child myself, don’t even get me started on middle child syndrome…hehe. (If you’re reading this mom, I’m just kidding…love you!)

Does bad news come in threes? Maybe. Maybe not. But in regards to my fingers and toes, I guess this is better than bad news coming in fours…or even fives.

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