The Month (and Year) Ahead: Building Bridges
I love this time of year. There are 12 new months ahead of us, 365 new days - since 2012 is a leap year, 366 days - filled with sparkling potential. As we move through the year, we might find that it will include challenges and obstacles and health issues, but at this moment while we stand on the cusp, it is all bright and shiny potential for goodness. At this moment, it's a little easier to have hope for change, a belief that the future will hold the fulfillment of dreams and wishes. At this moment, we have strength and faith and that's a good way to start a new journey.
This year, the theme on the RA Community will be Building Bridges. Our goal is to provide you with resources and inspiration to connect the pieces in your life, your community and beyond. This can include finding a way to connect effectively with your rheumatologist, facilitating understanding with your employer about your need for accommodation and helping to educate your family and friends about the changes RA brings into your relationships. It can be about giving you information you need to get healthier, both specific to RA and your general health, as well. Building bridges can be about linking you with organizations, agencies and foundations that provide services you may need. It's about making connections to other online communities of people would live with RA, autoimmune diseases and disabilities. And then there are the broader connection into advocacy, finding ways to get involved to create change, to raise awareness and to improve the future. We are excited about it and look forward to what the new year will bring!
This month, we're focusing on a number of different topics. January is Birth Defect Prevention Awareness Month , a topic that is especially important to those of us who live with RA - several RA meds (methotrexate and Arava in particular) are known to cause severe birth defects. Leslie will write about medication in pregnancy and will also look into whether there is a connection between being born prematurely and developing RA. She will also do a follow-up piece on her post about self-injecting with methotrexate, sharing advice that makes this easier.
Many people who have RA are beneficiaries of the gift of blood donation. I've often wondered if as someone who has RA and takes some pretty interesting could give blood and thereby help someone else. Lisa is stepping up to research this topic to mark the National Blood Donor Month. Related to the issue of blood donation, she will also write about receiving the transfusions for condition related to schleroderma, another autoimmune disease.
Accidents happen and winter tends to be the season in which the number of accidents go up. Brad's fractures have healed well enough that he can write again and will share his story of healing when you have an autoimmune disease. Staying within the nitty-gritty of health and interaction with the healthcare system, I will write about how RA can affect preventive health screening.
January is also National Mentoring Month and we have several posts related to connecting and educating others about what it's like to live with RA. Cathy will write about our expectations for others to understand our disease. V will explore the importance of being part of a support group and how connecting with others in the same situation can help us in our journey. I'm very much looking forward to interviewing Kelly Young, founder of the new Rheumatoid Patient Foundation about her work on RA Warrior and with the Foundation.
We have an exciting month and year planned for you and looking forward to seeing your feedback and SharePosts.
Vacation notice: I will be on vacation this week, returning to the site on January 9. I will respond to comments and messages next week. Our very capable team will take good care of you while I'm away.