NRAR - Not Rheumatoid Arthritis Related

  • I have a confession to make.  I have a new obsession.  That obsession has nothing to do rheumatoid arthritis, nothing to do with disease, nothing to do with doctors, hospitals, or illness in general.  It has everything to do with planning for a wedding.

    That’s right, I’m planning a wedding.  My wedding.  The same one mentioned in my post Love: With and Without Disease when I promised to tell you more about what all I accomplished in 31 days.

    But first let me explain the title of this post.  I have been lurking (that is reading without too much participation) on a forum where other brides-to-be, newlyweds, and married ladies share information.  The best posts seem to be where new members ask questions and the experienced ones share their thoughts and ideas.  I love skimming the new topics to see if there is something I’d like to incorporate into my own wedding plans.

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    An interesting custom on one particular forum (and probably others as well) is the use of short acronyms to label the specific types of posts.  For example on the wedding classifieds board, FS means “for sale” and WTB means “want to buy.”  DIY means “do it yourself” and STD means “save the date” not sexually transmitted disease.  Within forum threads, OP will mean “original poster” and PP will be “previous/prior posters.”

    This all makes sense but one acronym which I saw occasionally had me stumped….until last week.  NWR.  What in the world was NWR? 

    NWR means “not wedding related.”  It took me clicking on several of these random posts (over a period of time) to finally realize what NWR meant.  Or maybe it was reading a post which started out with “this post is not exactly wedding related…..” before I made the discovery.  Either way, it got me thinking. 

    How often do we discuss something which is NRAR - not RA related - here on MyRACentral?  In scanning through the past few pages of Shareposts, I see that we each relate our experiences in various ways to RA or chronic illness in general. 

    I don’t see many posts which are obviously not related to our health experiences in one way or another.  A few possible reasons for that come to mind:

    • A. Living with RA is such as life-changing and variable condition that everything is affected by it in one way or another once you develop the condition and/or are diagnosed with it.
    • B. This is an “RA” community and, as such, we feel somewhat obligated to limit our discussions to rheumatoid arthritis and related health topics.
    • C. Patients in general probably don’t spend much time on forums and websites (which focus on RA or some other health condition) unless there is something going on with their disease and they need to reach out to others who will understand for guidance and support.
    • D. Each of the above statements may apply.

    Which statement(s) do you choose? A, B, C, or D?

    Laughing at myself, I see that this “non RA-related post” has turned out to be RA-related after all.  It’s inescapable.  Rheumatoid arthritis is part of everything I do in one way or another.  It affected the choice of shoes I purchased last night and it has affected the size of rings I wear.  Everything is connected.

  • But one thing which has not been directly affected by my RA is my wedding plans.  After Rob and I chose a date for the wedding, I began researching appropriate venues which would satisfy our needs and fit our budget.  I contacted two locations just before New Year’s to get more details.  Both ceremony and reception venues were available, but we didn’t act immediately.

    Then one day in January I was getting my hair cut and my hair dresser asked if I had picked out a dress yet.  My answer was “no, not yet.”  She mentioned a small dress shop which was just down the street and only a couple of blocks from my house.  I never knew it was there. 

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    On a whim, I stopped there after leaving the hair salon.  Within one hour, I had tried on dresses, chose my dress, was measured, ordered chosen dress, and even ordered a veil and headpiece.  Check, one thing off the to-do list! 

    After the excitement of that first success, I stopped at a reception venue and liked it even more in person than from their website.  Well, to make a long story short in the 31 days from January 5th to February 4th, I managed to:

    • Order wedding gown, veil, and headpiece.  Rob was not involved in this one as he definitely doesn’t want to know anything about the dress until he sees me in it on the wedding day.  Such a romantic guy he is.
    • Book reception venue which includes catering, open bar, DJ, linens, and basic decoration.  Rob returned with me to meet the venue coordinator before we signed a contract and made a deposit.  This was a big CHECK off my to-do list.
    • Book the church, minister, and organist.  Rob and I did this one together.
    • Attend 3 different bridal shows in the larger Washington, DC, area.  (Rob was not involved with this one.)
    • Book a photographer whom I met at a bridal show.  Rob has yet to meet the photographer.
    • Book a cake baker whom I met at a bridal show after Rob enjoyed the cake we sampled at a later private cake-tasting.  Now we just need to narrow down the design elements before August/September.
    • Visit two large-chain bridal salons to confirm choose of colors and dress designs for bridesmaids.  (I still need to ask my bridesmaids to participate in the wedding.)   
    • Conduct countless hours of research on wedding stationary (both DIY and professionally printed), possible favors (if we choose to have any), additional decorations for the reception venue (some of which are sitting in my Amazon wish list to order at a later date), hotels for out-of-town guests, and flowers for bouquets and church decoration.
    • I met with one florist (the week before Valentine’s) who basically told me to return after Mother’s Day.  I still need to book a florist.
    • Not wedding related, but I also received two infusions of Rituxan and rehearsed/performed in two concerts during this same time period.

    Wow, seems like much has been done but so much more to do.  Thankfully, rheumatoid arthritis has not interfered.  It’s nice to have a slice of life with isn’t RA-related.

  • Now that I’ve shared my recent NRAR (not rheumatoid arthritis related) story, I’d love to hear yours.  Please share your NRAR story in the comments section below, or maybe use the acronym in a Sharepost title or question.  We could start a trend, an RA community which discusses life beyond RA.

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    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.

Published On: February 26, 2012