This Was My Month

RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy

SajamaI shaved my head, in order to more fully enjoy the last few weeks of warm weather (don’t forget, I’m in the southern hemisphere). I welcomed the arrival of autumn. I walked across bridges. I walked through crowded city streets. I walked down barren river canyons. I walked past fields full of sweet-smelling wild flowers. I broke in a new pair of hiking boots. I broke in a new pair of custom orthotic inserts. I re-familiarized myself with South American wine. I cooked. A lot. I organized my favorite recipes. I made chicken korma from scratch, all the way down to the garam masala. I further reduced my consumption of processed foods and refined sugars. I read. And read. And read some more. I saw (most) of the Oscar-nominated movies. I started to explore Jazz music. I incorporated weight lifting into my exercise routine. I started using the steam sauna at the gym. I lost even more weight (my current belt is down to its last notch). I traveled to a volcano on the border with Chile. I visited ancient Andean burial monuments. I got caught outdoors in a sudden blizzard with complete white-out conditions (both fun and scary). I pushed myself to keep moving on the days when my RA activity was low. I stayed in bed and allowed my body to rest on the days when my RA activity was medium-high. I said farewell to my dear dog Alva. I spent a lot of time playing with my two pugs, Oliver and Bella. I barbecued for family and friends. I upgraded to an iPhone 6 Plus (primarily for the camera). I sat down at a coffee shop, and didn’t immediately start checking all of my social media accounts. I bumped into my rheumatologist at the local farmers market. I started planning for an upcoming family reunion. I got lots of rest. I learned more about my mind and my body. I lived life.

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

Accepting Chronic Pain: Is it Necessary?

RA Guy Community News


By Jennifer Martin, Columnist

A patient of mine told me the other day, “I don’t think I will ever be able to accept my chronic pain. It has completely changed my life.”

I think this is something that most people with chronic pain contend with at some point in time; wanting to hold onto hope that their diagnosis isn’t chronic or not wanting to come to the realization that they will have to live with the pain forever.

When most people hear the word “acceptance” they equate it with the notion that they should feel that it’s okay or it’s alright to have a chronic condition. Many people don’t ever feel okay about having to live with pain or an illness for the rest of their lives. It is not something that is easy to get used to and it’s not fair.

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Harvard Gazette: A Journey Into Illness

RA Guy Community News

Poet and memoirist Meghan O’Rourke is devoting her time as a Radcliffe Fellow to a new book, “What’s Wrong with Me? The Mysteries of Chronic Illness” after a diagnosis last year of Lyme disease. “It’s not a medical book, but it is trying to bring together a literary and cultural story of disease and how we think about disease and the experience of disease with some portrait of the contemporary medical culture,” she said.

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“Misleading” About The “Realities” of RA

RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy

People often tell me that I am “misleading” the public about the “realities” of living with rheumatoid arthritis.

When I read such comments, I’m not exactly sure what to think. I wonder: do these people know that I’ve written *years* of blog posts in which I describe some of my most challenging times, and talk about what’s it’s like to reach a point where I could barely move and had to be fed, bathed, and clothed by others? I also ask myself, do they know just how many personal details I’ve shared (publicly) about the multiple episodes of suicidal ideation that I’ve experienced throughout the years, information that is painful to share but which I do nonetheless all in the hopes of helping others who find themselves in the dark spot where I once was?

Then I look at the things that provoke such comments–my ability to smile and laugh even (especially) in the face of excruciating pain, my figuring out how to bring my disease that was boiling out of control down to a more gentle simmer (on most days), my being able to accomplish feats that I never thought possible even before RA entered my life, and my learning how to cope well and live well with this painful and debilitating disease–and I tell myself: if showing others that it IS possible to bounce back up from some of the lowest lows and that it IS possible to live life to it’s fullest even with a disease like rheumatoid arthritis is, in *any* way, misleading…then “mislead” is exactly what I’ll continue to do.

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