Rheumatoid Arthritis's Affect on Independence and Relationships

  • Independence. It's a term much tossed around in the media during the seventh month of the year in the United States. They talk of national independence, historical independence, how we got there, what it means to the nation and to us. And often, in between the barbecues and fireworks, we spend some quiet time thinking about the text of the Declaration of Independence, about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


    When you live with rheumatoid arthritis, independence can become a very personal cause, possessing a depth of meaning unique to those of us who live with chronic illnesses. For us, the war for independence is not just in the past, it's something that's become part of our life, sometimes part of everyday. Liberty is not just the privilege of living in a democratic country where you have rights denied so many in other parts of the world. Sometimes, liberty is being able to pull up your own pants when you go to the bathroom.

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    And it's more than that. RA can affect your independence in a myriad of ways. It can sap your bank account, affect your ability to drive, make it impossible to open a jar of jam unless your 12-year-old is around to help you and the list goes on. So this month on MyRACentral, we are exploring independence, what it means, how to achieve it, how to live with the compromises required by RA.


    Lisa Emrich is continuing her series on sexuality and RA, writing two posts on sexual independence. If you haven't read the first posts in the series, check out how medication can affect your sex life and RA and Sex: Relationships Matter.


    Sara Nash will also be pondering independence, first in a post about how it relates to being in a relationship after being single for as long as she has had RA. Sara's second post is about her trip to Korea - what's more independent than traveling to exotic destinations?


    Next week, I'll be writing about independence when you need other people's help to get out of bed (or pull up your pants in the bathroom) and later this month, we've scheduled the osteoporosis collaboration with Pam Flores that has been much delayed due to my exceptional talent at injuring myself.


    We hope you'll join us not just in reading, but in writing about all the different ways RA can affect the quest for liberty.


    What does independence mean to you?


Published On: June 30, 2010