It seems that no one can escape the topic of health care and its costs today, but do you really know the full impact of these costs? Over the past decade, many institutions and scholars have pulled together infographics and studies that show costs for various illnesses on specific populations, or on specific illnesses on a regional or worldwide scale. These studies can help readers understand the full financial impact created by economics and by various illnesses, including chronic diseases and food-borne illnesses.
Real Profiles of Rheumatoid ArthritisPhotos © Cathy Kramer
Chicago, Illinois, United States
How long have you lived with RA?
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
Educate yourself and then figure out a path that is right for YOU. Find not only friends in the RA community, but also outside it, that support the path you have chosen for yourself. Find health professionals that support your choices. Don’t be afraid of meltdowns. Be good to yourself. Try new things. Listen to your body. Don’t stop moving!
Do you use any mobility aids?
I don’t use mobility aids, however, I generally have someone near me and have LOTS of help.
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
Life with rheumatoid arthritis is not easy. Each day is a mystery as to how I will feel. However, living with RA has given me the gift of finding my own personal strength. I have learned that some days I need to let go of the control I want to have over RA and by doing so I actually gain more control over me. I know my strengths and have built on my weaknesses. I have learned to ask for help and how to accept it. I have learned to share my needs. I have met the most amazing people. Some may say that RA has taken a lot from me, but I like to think that in the process of dealing with RA, I have received more than it has taken and for that I am thankful.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
I have been very fortunate in that I don’t have any visible signs of RA except a limp that comes and goes. I do have some concerns about my knee and we will have to see where it is when all the swelling finally leaves, but so far so good.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
Each day I remind myself of all the good in my life – there is a lot. I remind myself that “my body is healing” and I believe it. I cry when I need to and don’t feel guilty about it. Most importantly, I surround myself with positive/supportive people.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
I have been medication free for almost two years. This is the path that feels right for ME. I believe in alternative medicine. I am currently using probiotics, digestive enzymes, homeopathy, fish oil/hemp oil, detoxing my body, and following The Body Ecology Diet.
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I am a proud momma to 13 year old Alexander and 11 year old Sophia. I have also been married to my best friend Steve for the last 21 years. Together my family and I enjoy life with our three year old border collie, bike riding, homeschooling, TV/movies, nature, and more.
Individually I am somewhat of a natural girl – I love natural hair color, cosmetics that are safe on our skin, whole foods, farmers markets, natural remedies, rainstorms, watching people, and more. I am a daughter, sister and friend. I enjoy teaching English as a Second Language to adults, organizing events for our homeschooling group, spending time with friends, reading in quiet places, time alone, and exercising (yoga, bike riding, light weights, walking).
I think of myself as a positive person and allow that to guide me through the rough days and the easy days.
Cathy blogs regularly at The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo.
Pain, Pain, Go Away
I am a mom to 3 wonderful kids and 3 more wonderful stepkids. I am a part-time photographer and I am a tutor/substitute teacher part-time as well. I have recently been struggling with a mystery condition that has truly affected my life in very negative ways. I’m hoping that someone will help me find what’s causing my pain soon, so that I can continue my life as I’d like to live it.
Frozen Woman: Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in January 2010 after an explosive onset at the end of November 2009. In my work life, I’m the executive editor of STYLE AT HOME magazine, and I oversee the content of www.styleathome.com (a truly fabulous website about home decor, if I do say so myself!). I also co-write the Natural Chic blog at www.styleathome.com/naturalchic
Somewhere between my diagnosis and last Fall, I realized that I had to fight for myself and for my family. I had to face my diagnoses and live with them. RA had changed my life and along the way, I changed my lifestyle. My sense of humor, my determination, my faith in God, my strength, and my love my children has forced me to see that RA cannot stop me from living my life.
Voice Of RA: The Mom
RA Guy on September 1st, 2009
I am at the half-way point of my month-long visit with my son, RA Guy.
My husband and I live in a different continent than our son so the only methods of keeping in touch with him are through phone calls and/or emails. Although, I must say that since he moved here about 7 years ago we’ve been fortunate in that we’ve managed to see one another on numerous occasions during each passing year – he’s either visited us at our home in Texas or we’ve met in the San Francisco area, we were together at our daughter’s wedding in Missouri, we visited him here a few years ago, and once we even met up in Paris, France for a vacation. I was so glad when he started his blog because it offered me a way of daily keeping informed of his rheumatoid arthritis.
This summer the day-to-day postings of my son detailed the chronic, daily RA problems he was experiencing and my heart ached for him. This had been occurring since November – it had been months. I cried as I read his postings that detailed his worst flares.
I’m re-posting this in honor of my parents, who are on the last day of their six-week visit. It’s been great having them here during the recent holidays!
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