Just When It Looks Like It’s Over…

Many of us are familiar with the scene in The Lord of the Rings, where Gandalf battles the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. (And no, I did not know all of these names by memory…I just did an Internet search.) Just when it looks like the fight is over and the wizard is safe, as the fiery beast falls into the dark pit, things suddenly take a turn for the worse. The monster’s flaming whip reappears, wraps around Gandalf’s leg, and drags him too down into the darkness.

And no matter how many times I’ve seen this movie, I always find myself wanting to shout out to the television screen: “Hurry up, move quickly…you’re still not out of the woods!”

Now that I’ve got your hearts racing, let me say that my story isn’t nearly as dramatic…but I did recently have one of those moments that made me think of this movie. You see, while winter isn’t technically over here where I live in the southern hemisphere, by most practical definitions it’s come to an end. (Which is particularly nice, especially considering that the cold weather started almost a month early this year.) The days are getting longer, and the mornings and evenings are getting a little warmer.

Which means that I, of course, came down with a cold last week. And as many of us who live with rheumatoid arthritis know, there’s no such thing as “just a cold”. With one’s autoimmune system and disease activity so intricately tied together, it should come as no surprise that over this past week I’ve been experiencing more pain and stiffness than I’ve been experiencing over the relatively symptom-free past five weeks. I’m still not ready to call is a flare, though. And in reality, over the past couple of days both my cold and my RA seem to be tapering down…which is good news.

But the inflammation in my throat has apparently been so strong, that I’ve been without a (physical) voice since this past Thursday. I’ve never had such a severe case of laryngitis in my life before. Might this be associated with my autoimmune disorder? I have no idea, but in the meantime I’ll continue to drink hot tea with a dash of lemon and honey.

And as my superhero friends north of the equator slowly move towards colder weather, please know that I’ll be protecting the warm sun as much as I possibly can. I’ll send it back to you in half a year…I promise!

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

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NYTimes Well Blog: Venus Williams Brings Attention To Sjogren’s Syndrome

Before this week, many people had probably never heard of Sjogren’s syndrome, one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders. But the recent announcement by tennis star Venus Williams that she was suffering from fatigue and other symptoms related to Sjogren’s has brought needed attention to a troubling condition.

Read More: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/venus-williams-brings-attention-to-sjogrens-syndrome/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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New And Improved RheumatoidArthritisGuy.com!

Welcome, to the new and improved Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy! Over the past couple of weeks I’ve secretly been re-designing this site, and I’m happy to finally roll out these updates! I’ve added much more of a comic-book feel worthy of a superhero, with numerous visual changes in the header, sidebar, and overall layout. Much of the functionality remains the same, but the overall feel is much more lightweight and easier to navigate. Both the archives (complete) and the blogroll (coming soon) have been given their own pages.

I’d love to know what you think of this new design! There are still numerous tweaks that I need to make…so it’s still not 100% updated…but it’s close!

I look forward to sharing many more adventures here, with my exciting new format!

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

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More Rheumatoid Arthritis Blogs

Living With Arthritis Today
I created this site to help people suffering with arthritis, whatever form whether it is rheumatoid, osteo or one of the many other forms, I want to inspire hope and give example that despite living with arthritis, a person can thrive and not simply survive.
Read More: http://www.livingwitharthritistoday.com/

Mom’s Small Victories
I am a Working Mom with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is my journal celebrating the Small Victories in the Everyday.
Read More: http://momssmallvictories.blogspot.com/

You Don’t Look Sick – Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
A blog about my life with rheumatoid arthritis and all that goes along with it. The ups and downs. The highs and lows. The laughter and the tears. Sounds so dramatic, doesn’t it?!
Read More: http://youdontlooksick-livingwithra.blogspot.com/

DisABLEd Positive Parent
Disabled parents,sharing tips on every day parenting tasks eg,brands of nappies with easiest fastenings,to popper free clothes,to high street baby equipment reviews with accessibility for a disabled parent in mind.
Read More:  http://disabledpositiveparent.blogspot.com/

Alive
You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.
Read More: http://midenianscholar.livejournal.com/

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Katie Rix

Katie Rix

Real Profiles of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Real-Profile-Rix-Katie
Photos © Katie Rix

Name?

Katie Rix

Age?

22

Location?

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England

How long have you lived with RA?

I was diagnosed in 2008 when I was 18.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?

No matter how bad things seem right now it’s really not the end of the world, there are so many amazing treatments available. It can take time to find the right treatment for you and for the treatments to begin to work and to see the results, so although it is difficult you have to be patient.

It is totally natural to want to find out as much as you can about the disease but do NOT believe everything you read on the internet because you will come across horror stories and frightening thoughts that probably don’t even apply to you. Try to make sure you have as much rest and sleep as you possibly can, the fatigue caused can have as much an effect as the RA itself. Try and be patient when explaining to others exactly how serious RA is and what it involves and how it affects your life because RA is often considered to be an “unseen” disease it can be difficult for people to understand how serious, painful and debilitating the disease is. I had no idea what arthritis really involved before I was diagnosed. If I’m honest I thought it was only for people in their seventies.

Do you use any mobility aids?

I have an electric tin opener but I couldn’t use a handheld one before the arthritis struck haha! I sometimes use wrist supports.

How has living with RA helped to improve your life?

I have definitely turned into a “glass have full” kind of person and I try to see the positive in everything. I’m a lot more tolerant and understanding towards other people now. It’s also made me thankful for what I already have, my family, my boyfriend and my friends.

Do you have any visible signs of RA?

I often have swelling in my joints, especially my wrists and have nodules on my fingers which come and go.

Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?

Looking at photos from a really happy time such as holidays and birthdays and websites like his are also good and remind me that I’m not the only person in the world with RA and that there are people who are much worse off than I am.

Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?

Hydrocloroquine sulphate, humira, methotrexate and folic acid.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

RA is a huge part of my life but it doesn’t control everything I do. I’m only just 22 and I still do everything I want to. I have just completed my degree in English Literature and I am deciding what to do next.

Already this summer I have been to Turkey and a festival with my boyfriend, had an amazing time in Ibiza with my friends and I still go out, get drunk and fall over. Yes, I probably feel worse than most the day after but that’s something I can deal with. Next summer my friends are planning on volunteering in Asia… Don’t let rheumatoid arthritis slow you down!

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