Reinventing Yourself with RA

Lene Andersen Health Guide February 20, 2013
  • RA can be a gift.    When I say that, people usually look at me as if I've grown another head. How can a chronic autoimmune disease that frequently and randomly takes over a person’s life be a positive thing? But the truth is RA doesn't just take, it also can give. And one of its gifts is that it...

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10 Comments
  • LynneSparks
    Mar. 21, 2015
    This is a great article. It is very true for me. It took a good few years of coming to terms with my enforced lifestyle changes and it's still a huge day to day struggle but because of the need for me to do much more sitting down with my feet up or lying in bed resting I am able to give time to my role; because of the pain & fatigue I reduced my working...
    RHMLucky777
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    This is a great article. It is very true for me. It took a good few years of coming to terms with my enforced lifestyle changes and it's still a huge day to day struggle but because of the need for me to do much more sitting down with my feet up or lying in bed resting I am able to give time to my role; because of the pain & fatigue I reduced my working hours which gives me more flexibility; because I became emotionally stronger & thought "if I can get through this I can do anything"; because I am grateful for the good days I appreciate what I am able to do and want to make the most of what I can do rather than focussing on what I can't do, when I was asked if I wanted to be a councillor and subsequently if I wanted to be Deputy Mayor I jumped at the chance (well not quite because that would be too painful!). It's something that would ordinarily have been completely out of my comfort zone. Without RA I wouldn't have found myself in the position to be asked but if I had been asked I would have, without a doubt, said "No Way!". I'm not saying it's easy, I sleep an awful lot and I struggle particularly in the mornings to get moving. However being a councillor, & Deputy Mayor, and helping other people is a great motivator and is a good reason to get out of bed and keeps my mind off feeling sorry for myself.
    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Apr. 02, 2015
      That is an incredible and absolutely inspiring story! It's amazing how something that initially was a loss can be turned around to become something that allows you to get back and change the world for the better. Thank you for everything you do!
    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Apr. 02, 2015
      That is an incredible and absolutely inspiring story! It's amazing how something that initially was a loss can be turned around to become something that allows you to get back and change the world for the better. Thank you for everything you do!
  • andrew
    Feb. 24, 2013
    Thanks for putting perspective into how this RA beast changes us. Many around me don't understand how I deal with it but it's that way with a chronic disease. Yes, it changes us but I like to think that it makes us stronger in so many ways. I'm enjoying reading your book...of to read some now! Andrew
    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Feb. 26, 2013

      it's all how you look at it, isn't it? I think the healthy/able-bodied look at us and just see the "can't," not the possibility for what can be possible and what RA can give you. It's a shift in perspective and I think you have to live inside the situation in order to make that shift.

       

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Anonymous
    Lynne
    Feb. 23, 2013
    Thank you. I am still working and really can't figure out away to get out of it. I am the boss, so I have found ways to things done, and rest when there are quiet periods. I have had to look at my outside activities, and have dropped a few things. I just finished reading your book, and it is fabulous! There is a lot there I can use as I continually readjust....
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    Thank you. I am still working and really can't figure out away to get out of it. I am the boss, so I have found ways to things done, and rest when there are quiet periods. I have had to look at my outside activities, and have dropped a few things. I just finished reading your book, and it is fabulous! There is a lot there I can use as I continually readjust. Lynne
    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Feb. 26, 2013

      Thanks so much, Lynne!

       

      The thing about accommodations is that unless you're an expert in the field, you may not know what can be possible. Check the chapter on Occupational Therapy — I'd recommend that you consult an OT for help. It may also be a good idea to call the Job Accommodation Network to see if they have any suggestions that may be helpful...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Thanks so much, Lynne!

       

      The thing about accommodations is that unless you're an expert in the field, you may not know what can be possible. Check the chapter on Occupational Therapy — I'd recommend that you consult an OT for help. It may also be a good idea to call the Job Accommodation Network to see if they have any suggestions that may be helpful to you.

  • Anu
    Anu
    Feb. 21, 2013

    Yes Lene, RA certainly has its positives too - if we can get past all the pain and see it. Your post is strangely apt for me - I too am considering giving up my day job, for exactly the reasons you've said. But, being recently married, I am still settling into my new life and am not sure of taking the BIG step of giving up a well paying job and getting in more...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Yes Lene, RA certainly has its positives too - if we can get past all the pain and see it. Your post is strangely apt for me - I too am considering giving up my day job, for exactly the reasons you've said. But, being recently married, I am still settling into my new life and am not sure of taking the BIG step of giving up a well paying job and getting in more change in my life...!

     

    But, RA did give me one really big thing - confidence in myself. I now have this ridiculous confidence - if I could walk again without surgery after RA busted my knee and confined me to bed, I can face any challenge that life will throw at me. It has also made me calmer and more spiritual! But I suppose, we can never really stop re-inventing ourselves!

     

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Feb. 22, 2013

      I've had the same experience as you — RA has given me resilience and I believe that I can do anything, if I just work hard enough. RA does prepare you for getting back on the horse that threw you, because we do that so often, sometimes every day.

       

      My recommendation would be to look into the issue of accommodation in your job. Check out the Job Accommodation...

      Read More

      I've had the same experience as you — RA has given me resilience and I believe that I can do anything, if I just work hard enough. RA does prepare you for getting back on the horse that threw you, because we do that so often, sometimes every day.

       

      My recommendation would be to look into the issue of accommodation in your job. Check out the Job Accommodation Network website for tips on how to accommodate various medical conditions and disabilities, including arthritis. They'll also be able to talk to you about your particular situation. If you want to bat some ideas around, you can message me privately, as well. It may be possible to find a way to help you keep working. You may also want to check into FMLA as an option to provide you support. Check out V's post on her experience with going on FMLA - although she ultimately had to apply for SSD, it was a big helping extending her ability to work.

    • marcia
      Jul. 29, 2014

      I have been struggling with what to do next and how to move forward. This article was a breath of fresh air because it is not easy to accept the idea that you can't do everything you used to do. Often I feel that I am less than the person I once was, so your idea that it can be a gift in that it forces us to re-evaluate who we are and what we want to be now...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I have been struggling with what to do next and how to move forward. This article was a breath of fresh air because it is not easy to accept the idea that you can't do everything you used to do. Often I feel that I am less than the person I once was, so your idea that it can be a gift in that it forces us to re-evaluate who we are and what we want to be now are so helpful.

       

      Unlike some of the people living with RA, my journey has spanned the last 20 years. I am older now but not ready to just stop or retire. But finding that next step has been especially difficult. Thank you so much for your article. I can't wait to check out your book.