“People with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, who are hospitalized, may have an increased risk of developing a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung). A report, published online November 26, 2011 in The Lancet, outlines the seriousness of the matter and the need for preventive treatment among hospitalized autoimmune patients. A pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening.”
You know you have RA when, no matter what your age, you sound like this lady!
Real Profiles of Rheumatoid ArthritisPhotos © Nikki Kelliher
Vienna, Virginia, United States
How long have you lived with RA?
12 years. I was diagnosed when I was 9 years old, my parents orginally thought I had lyme disease.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?
Besides the obvious start treatment right away I would say, don’t let the label scare you – you’re still the same you that you were before you were diagnosed with a disease!
Do you use any mobility aids?
No, I do not.
How has living with RA helped to improve your life?
I’ve learned not to take my health for granted, my “good” days are great days. I also believe it’s made me stronger, I’ve gotten so good at dealing with the pain that petty things don’t bother me as they would someone without RA.
Do you have any visible signs of RA?
My lovely fat fingers that can’t wear my favorite rings on most days, I make up for it with crazy nail polishes though. Also, I have a bunion along with the swollen joints in my feet so I limp pretty much ALL the time.
Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?
I love reading message boards, and of course RA Guy! It’s really helpful to be able to talk with other people who know what I’m going through since unfortunately it’s hard to find with my family and friends. My family and friends are all supportive of me but, as much as they would like to, they just don’t understand.
Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?
I am currently taking naproxen and methotrexate
Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
I absolutely love the outdoors, I am a total beach bum and if I had it my way I’d quit my office job and run a shop on the boardwalk in ocean city. Every weekend I go down to my familys river house and wind down with some boating and fishing, it doesn’t get much better than than that to me. My wonderful boyfriend is extremely supportive of me and patient with me on my really bad days, I am very thankful for him and my parents. Nothing annoys me more than “ohhh, you’re too young to have arthritis!” – I wish people were more educated about RA.
Galway consultant rheumatologist Dr Ronan Kavanagh has come around to the fact that his specialty should be viewed as being one of the ‘cool’ gang.
“Rheumatology patients are an amazingly resilient, patient and forgiving group of people. They are often cheerfully resilient while coping with the ravages and disappointments of living with a chronic disease, patient in their wait for slow- acting treatments to work (and where our clinics run behind!). They forgive rheumatologists when initial attempts to treat their disease fail (we’ve got to sometimes chop and change until we get the right cocktail for every patient), but always express gratitude when things go well.”
Earlier this week, I cancelled my personal (non-RA Guy) Facebook account. It wasn’t a particular event that made me take this action, it was just the recent realization that I spend way too much time online. Many times, I’d sit down at my computer to do something important, only to find myself–without even thinking about it–checking out everyone’s latest status updates and photos. (On more than one occasion, I’ve told myself that I’m so happy that such a major online distraction didn’t exist while I was studying in college and grad school.)
Before I deleted my account, I went through my friends list so that I could write down the email addresses of the people who I really wanted to stay in touch with. Funny thing: of the 150 “friends” on my list, I only ended up jotting down about twenty email addresses! (And of those 20, fewer than five used Facebook on a regular basis!)
This holiday season, I’m giving myself one of the most valuable gifts ever. The best part is, it’s not even going to cost me a cent. What I’m doing is giving myself the gift of time; more time to spend on enjoyable activities such as reading books, exploring music, looking at art, playing with my dogs, and talking with others. By default, this also means that I’m going to be spending less time online.
What does this mean for my RA Guy identity, you might be asking? Well don’t worry, this blog will continue to be one of my top priorities. I’m not going away, not in the least. I will, however, be spending less time on Facebook and Twitter. I’m not going to delete these accounts. I have, however, already stopped these two tabs from opening, by default, every time I start my browser.
I’ll definitely still be online; I’m just going to be a little more wise about how I spend my time online.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!
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