Happy New Year! No, I didn't sleep through the last one about a month ago, but we're in the lucky position of being able to celebrate twice. February 10 marks the Chinese New Year and this one is the year of the Snake. For those of us not brought up within Chinese culture, this celebration is about dragon dances, good food and little red envelopes with money for good luck. If you take the time to look closer at the Chinese zodiac, you'll find that there is a deeper meaning behind the twelve different animal symbols. The snake with its ability to shed its skin is a symbol of change and renewal. The 2013 Year of the Snake has an additional meaning, that of steady progress and attention to detail, both very much part of the renewal process. This month on RAHealthCentral, we’ll focus on some of the ways we reinvent ourselves when living with RA.
February is also the month when we celebrate Valentine's Day. Living with a chronic health condition affects every aspect of our lives, including relationships with spouses, lovers and others in our lives. Finding new ways to connect can improve your relationship dynamics and help you to move forward together. This month, writers from all over HealthCentral will explore topics related to relationships and different medical conditions.
Several members of the RAHealthCentral team will join in on topic from different angles. Carrie Beth is going to write about how to strengthen your marriage when one partner has RA and Lisa will post about Condom Day and safe sex. I'll contribute to the topic by writing about touch and making a physical connection when you hurt, bumped from last month by the post about Somatic Symptom Disorder (there is still time to sign the petition!). You may also want to check out last year's Valentine's Day Project page with lots of posts about sex and love and how they are affected by chronic conditions.
Two of our writers are going to write about ways to cope with the emotional challenges of living with RA. V will look at how to combat the isolation that can be part of living with a chronic illness and pain. Leslie is going to write about random acts of kindness and how they can make life easier.
Living with RA also means finding new ways to deal with other potential changes in your health. This month is Wise Health Consumer Month and Leslie will write about the shift in perspective from being a patient to being a health consumer. Part of being a wise health consumer can involve using supplements and vitamins to improve your health. You may have heard that vitamin D can play an important role in helping people with RA. Lisa is going to look into this topic, writing about a recent study. Living with RA can also mean you "consume" more medical services then you'd like and Brad is currently recovering from one such experience. A couple of weeks ago, he went to the hospital with a bad case of pneumonia and he'll write about the experience.
February is also Heart Month in the US, which is kicked off by National Wear Red Day today, February 1. Wear Red Day focuses specifically on heart health for women. Are you wearing red today? Later this month, V will write about heart health and RA. You may also want to read about preventive cardiac care for people with RA.