2012: A Year of Building Bridges
What a year it's been! Twelve month ago, we announced that our theme of the year would be Building Bridges. Our goal was to give you resources and inspiration to build bridges between the different parts of your life, to help you get healthier, to connect to the community and more. There isn't enough space to tell you about every single post and initiative we've done, but I thought I'd give you an appetizer of sorts. I encourage you to dive into archives to find more.
We focused on a wide range of topics over the past year, but always make sure that we begin and end with providing you solid information about RA and what comes with it. We have posts about RA lung and how to battle the beast of depression that so often accompanies RA. We’ve looked at preventative health for the rest of your body, something which is often neglected because our disease takes up so much room. This particular link in our preventative health series takes you to information about osteoporosis and you can find links to other installments in the series at the end of that post.
Meds to control RA are an important part of our lives and the cost of these meds is something we all struggle with. We have new posts in our archives on how to stretch your prescription dollar and ways to save on medication and health care. Many of us have to inject ourselves with various meds and we’ve shared tools and suggestions on how to make self injection easier. Some of us experience side effects of the medications, RA and pain — one of the most common is fuzzy brains and we’ve tried to help you cope with that, as well.
We also connect you to the future of RA and healthcare. We have articles about feeling like you’re walking on rocks, a little-studied issue in RA that is now better understood, how healthcare reform benefits you and information about new medications to help control the disease. We shared with you what can happen in our lives when the meds work, ranging from kickboxing to having to get new rings for your wedding.
RA affects how we interact with the world. Sometimes it means finding the tools to be more independent, such as a scooter. Often, it’s our relationships. In February, writers from across HealthCentral sites participated in the Valentines Day project about sex, love and other relationships and how these aspects of our lives are affected by our various conditions. RAHealthCentral contributed a number of posts to the project and I encourage you to check them out when you have the time.
Connecting to a community is a big part of getting through life with RA. Online communities have broken down the walls between us, enabling us to find support and understanding. We have featured interviews with wonderful people and organizations who work tirelessly to advocate for us all, among them Sara Gorman, Michelle Maria, Kelly Young and Show Us Your Hands!
For many in our community, advocacy is part and parcel of living with RA. It helps not just to give back and find purpose in life, but also grows awareness about RA and its implications. We try to change the world so that others can have a better experience. We’ve posted about saving lives with blood and organ donation with RA. We’ve shared information about advocating in Washington to remove barriers in Medicare that prevent getting the treatment you might need, as well as initiatives like the Access to Treatment Act. And we connected you to World Arthritis Day, sharing initiatives to create change not just in the US, but all over the world.
Here in the RAHealthCentral site, we have also created our own exciting initiatives to help give your information, create connections in the community and raise awareness. Our RA slideshows provides information on many aspects of living with RA in a format you can easily share with others in social media. Our slideshows include RA FAQs, gift ideas for people with RA, managing gastrointestinal side effects, sex and RA, building energy, dry eyes and mouth, resources that can help you with the practical part of your day, exercising with RA and lupus, grassroots advocates and many more.
We also have an RAHealthCentral Facebook page now! Liking us on Facebook will help you stay informed and updated on new content. Community members are also active in helping each other answer questions about RA and keeping the conversation going on Facebook.
Our awareness campaign RA2day is also on our Facebook page. Team members and people in the community post pictures showing what it is like to live with RA today, sharing our daily reality. We hope this will help the public and the people you know understand more about this disease.
We feel privileged that you let us in to your lives every day. All of us on the RAHealthCentral team — Allison Tsai, our Produces and Lisa, Brad, V, Leslie, Carrie Beth and I – wish you a healthy, happy and safe holiday season. We look forward to spending the new year with you!
Lene is the author of the award-winning blog The Seated View