Too Young For Arthritis

This film features young people discussing what it’s really like to have an ‘older person’s illness’ at such a young age and the impact that it has on their everyday lives.

The young people talk very openly and honestly about some very sensitive and difficult issues, including coping with treatments, hidden disability and their experience of being a long term patient.

arthritis-care-logo2At Arthritis Care, we believe that people with arthritis need much more than well-meaning sympathy. They, and their families and friends, need support, understanding, information and expertise, so that they can cope better and get the most out of life.

That’s exactly what our organisation does, through a wide range of services designed to improve life for everyone with arthritis.

If you are affected by arthritis we can support you through our helplines and self-management courses; our information and booklets; our local groups; and our campaigns to change attitudes and improve services.

People with arthritis are central to everything we do, and are involved at every level of the organisation. We need your support to represent people with arthritis, and to maintain and develop our services. You can beinvolved as a member, a donor, a subscriber or a volunteer. Your support is vital.

Arthritis Care works on behalf of over 700,000 people in Scotland who are affected by arthritis. It provides services and support for people with all types of arthritis, their families, and those who work with them.

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The Michael J. Fox Show

It’s been 22 years since Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating illness that had put his career on hold. His return to television, including new NBC comedy “The Michael J. Fox Show,” has been an inspiration to those with the same diagnosis. NBC’s Willie Geist reports.

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“I don’t look at myself as a leader. I do look at myself as part of the community. I’m a visible member of the community. If I can set the example for people and make them feel that you don’t have to shut it down. You don’t have to withdraw. It doesn’t have to be life shattering, life ending or life destroying or anything. Just be a new thing that pushes you to a new place.” — Michael J. Fox.

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Your Life With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Even though many people tell me otherwise, I’ve never considered myself a writer. Having studied architecture and worked in multiple design disciplines, I’ve always thought of myself as a designer. I prefer drawing instruments over the keyboard, even though–as my RA progresses–my handwriting is becoming increasingly less familiar, and I continue to work my hands as best I can to preserve their already-lowered levels of precision and dexterity.

For me, a writer is someone like Lene Andersen. Fellow director of Show Us Your Hands! and well-known blogger, Lene loves to write–so much so, that I often tease her about her ability to massage words like few people can, to keep a sentence or paragraph in mind for days on end because it’s not “just right,” and to have an understanding of grammar that is almost encyclopedic. (Standing firmly in the “no Oxford comma” camp, I can already see her getting ready to mark up the sentence prior to this one!)

As Lene and I became friends over the past couple of years, I often heard make references to “the book.” Just by knowing Lene’s personality and with seeing how much work she was putting into this project, I had no doubt that the results were going to impress. It was with such eager anticipation that I welcomed the release of her book, “Your Life With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects, and Pain” earlier this year.

Even though I was in a world of pain when this book hit my Kindle account, and was getting ready to relocate to New York City for a few months to try to get my own RA under control, I immediately sat down to read Lene’s book…and I’m glad I did, because within some of the first few pages, I encountered her trademark sense of humor that has made me chuckle on more than one occasion.

When I was growing up, the treatments used to control rheumatoid arthritis were limited to steroids and injections of gold salts — yes, that gold — injected in my rear and no, my arse didn’t suddenly increase in value after the shots. By the time we entered the new millennium, a number of other medications had been added to the list and a quantum lean in RA treatment was underway.

I read words that spoke of where I knew I wanted to be, even though at that time it felt like I was worlds away from ever reaching such a place…and when I now look back and realize how far I’ve come in managing my RA over the past half year, I can only smile at the thought of how much this book has helped me during this recent journey to wellness.

Once you’ve come out of a flare and gotten your life back, you can go through your days with the awareness that a relapse is possible at any moment. I call it “living under the shoe.” RA is an unpredictable disease, and when you’ve shared your life with it for a while, waiting for the other shoe to drop becomes part of you. A superstition develops, a reluctance to say the word “remission” for fear that it will jinx you and bring the RA back with a vengeance. Many of us will verbally turn ourselves into pretzels rather than say the R-word. Instead, we say that our RA is “managed,” “under control” or suppressed” and knock wood every time we talk about it.

As much as I continue to learn that slowing down is a big part of my coping well with this chronic illness, I also know that slowing down is one of the most difficult things in the world to do, even when I see the benefits that doing so delivers. Lene addresses this issue in a way that is not only right on point, but that also speaks to just how complex something as “simple” as slowing down is for those of us who live with rheumatoid arthritis.

…it’s essential to learn to pay attention not to the tasks of the day, but instead to your body’s opinion of them. We are so used to being in constant motion that the idea of doing only what is good for our bodies is something we plan to do when we retire. Backing off and doing less, either because you can’t physically do what’s required or because you choose to slow down, can feel like giving up or being lazy. Sometimes those around you also notice and join in what can only be described as a judgment party. Not only is the voice in your head berating you for slowing down, but sometimes the people in your life start questioning you, too.

One of the best parts of reading this book was coming across powerful words of wisdom, nestled into paragraphs here and there…words that deserve to be printed out in large bold text on a single page of paper, and taped above a desk or next to a mirror.

Learning to pace yourself takes time. It means putting your own needs first, something we often instinctively label as “selfish” and therefore undesirable. It isn’t.

And then there are parts that make me wonder: why didn’t I ever think of that before? Take, for example, the use of “Mandatory Rest Period” instead of “nap.” Absolutely brilliant.

With [a] nap, I have the energy I need to get through my day and, most of the time, pain that is easier to manage. To shut people up who remarked on how lovely it must be to be able to nap — thereby inferring that I have nothing better to do — and to emphasize the necessity of the rest, I changed the language I used. I stopped using the word “nap” and instead now call it my Mandatory Rest Period.

“Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis” isn’t just full of helpful hints, advice, and tips that would have significantly shortened my RA learning curve had I know them in the days, weeks, and months following my diagnosis. (Even having lived with this disease for almost a decade, I still felt like I was ahead of the curve when I finished reading this book.)

“Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis” is also full of understanding, and of truth.

Learning the tricks to manage your RA pain comes with time. You can help the process along by staying committed to living your life as fully as possible. When you put your life first, it creates an expectation within you that achieving manageable pain is possible. This helps you pursue solutions from a position of empowerment. And best of all, it means you’re out there, living your life regardless of the pain.

Most importantly, “Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis” is full of hope.

Hope. Emily Dickinson called it “the thing with feathers,” and it is what allows you to spread your wings and fly. Nourish the hope within you, look forward, never back, and every day, practice seeing the beauty and joy in life. It is all around you.

Thank you Lene, for writing such an encouraging and helpful book. I am honored to call you my friend.

Your-Life-With-Rheumatoid-ArthritisUntil September 30, 2013, 50% of royalties from every single copy of “Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain” will go to Show Us Your Hands!, a nonprofit charity organization that serves to unite and inspire people who live with inflammatory arthritis.

“Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain” e-book edition is available at all Amazon sites, Nook, Kobo and iBooks. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app from Amazon. The paperback is available on Amazon and CreateSpace.

For more information, please visit

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

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Live Art.fully: The Art Of Living Well With A Chronic Condition

Live Art.fullyby Jennifer Le Blanc

“This is the first post of a new blog series. The posts in this series will include my thoughts on a variety of subjects, all beginning with “The Art of.”

Today I want to talk about the Art of Living Well with a Chronic Condition. [...]

Create or maintain a support system. When you are able, be there for others. When you need help, learn to ask for it, and accept it. Severe levels of chronic pain quickly cause a sense of isolation. That sense of being alone can be detrimental to your well-being. Reach out! [...]

I hope something here helps you when you are struggling with your reality. Life still has a great deal to offer, and you are not alone!”

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More Inflammatory Arthritis Blogs

The Old Lady in my Bones
n my thirties, I was diagnosed with early Rheumatoid Arthritis. I developed this blog to share my experience living with this disease. I also want to create awareness that arthritis is not a disease just for the elderly. Young people are susceptible and can suffer just as much. It is a debilitating disease that destroys lives. It affects employment, personal relationships and can cause depression. Knowledge is power. The more you learn about your situation, you can live a fulfilling life despite your disease. Sometimes you must learn to let your old life die and create a new one, like a re-birth.
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Endless Trax
Ankylosing Spondylitis like all chronic conditions becomes your life, but this doesn’t mean you life has to become your condition. This blog is a way of not only spreading awareness of the condition, but as a way of showing the world (and myself) the lengths we go to to manage our condition, and how we can enjoy doing so in the process.
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Farewell Stiletto
This blog details the quest to finding gorgeous, stylish shoes minus the platform, the 6-8 inches and the pain and inevitable injury that comes with every inch. For all young women who stylishly live with a debilitating, disabling, painful illness. Here’s to us! And our beautifully adorned feet;)
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Struggling with Rheumatoid Arthritis
This blog is dedicated to a journey I have been on for nearly the past 10 years. Some of the journey has been good, other times not so good. But all along, I have learned a lot, met a lot of friends and even laughed a little. Here is the story of my Struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
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Life with Arthritis
We all want to believe in a better future but trying to be positive about the future isn’t easy when the present is so hard. The feelings of hopelessness, sadness and loneliness are so strong it’s hard to believe I will overcome them. I want to believe things will get better but I can’t. Struggling through depression the last few years has been difficult enough, but now I’m suffering with an actual physical illness that I’m finding really hard to cope with. I wish I was strong enough to deal with the daily struggles I am faced with, but having been depressed for about eight years now I haven’t the emotional strength or the spirit I need to help myself.
Read More:

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