The Month Ahead: Managing Aspects of Living with RA

  • I'm fond of saying that when you have RA, your whole life has RA and all of a sudden, you have a full-time job as a project manager! There's nothing like a chronic illness to teach you the art of juggling 47 balls at the same time, while considering their individual weight, color, shape and trajectory. And there you are, with only two hands… Living with RA means staying informed of medication options, extra-articular effects of RA (i.e., effects that are not joint-related), new research, managing your medical team, your symptoms and did we mention the rest of your life? No wonder we're tired all the time!

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    This month, the RAHealthCentral team will focus on some of the specifics involved in managing your disease. Medication is a reality and all of our lives and both Lisa and Leslie are going to tackle topics that deal with RA medications. Lisa is going to review a new study comparing Enbrel to triple therapy for RA — how does Enbrel hold up to three other DMARDs combined? Leslie has recently switched from prednisone to methylprednisolone and will tell us more about the reasons for the switch and how the new medication is working for her.

     

    As I mentioned above, RA isn't just about the joints. One of the possible complications of RA is problems with your eyes, such as uveitis and other types of inflammation. Later this month, Leslie will write about eye health when you have RA and lupus.

     

    Most people see a doctor once or twice a year. Those of us who live with a chronic illness can more accurately described as "frequent fliers" in the healthcare field. Regardless of how many specialists we have and how often we see them, the first point of contact remains the general practitioner. Often, they also become the doctor who helps you manage the day-to-day aspects of living with RA. They are a crucial member of your medical team. What do you do when you need to find a new primary care physician? V has been on a quest to find an excellent GP who is comfortable with assisting in managing a chronic illness and will work well with her rheumatologist. Later this month, she'll tell us more about this process

     

    Summer has finally arrived and most of us in the northern areas of the continent are very happy. This year, it seemed to take forever before the weather warmed up and when it did, it happened seemingly overnight. There was no gradual increase in temperature, allowing us to acclimatize, instead we went from sock weather to sweltering in one fell swoop. It's been a bit of a shock to the system and can be extra difficult to deal with when you live with a chronic illness. Vanessa is also going to explore dealing with the summer heat when you have RA and will have some great tips on how to manage and cool down.

     

    This month, I'm in the lucky position of getting to interview two very interesting women. Last year, we published a call for participants in a research study about coping with chronic pain. The researcher has finished the study and in my first post this month, I'll talk to her about the background for the study and what she discovered when looking at the results. In my second post, I'll review a new book about living with chronic illness and interview the author.

  • July is Juvenile Arthritis Month — did you know that 300,000 children in the US live with juvenile arthritis? To help raise awareness about the realities these kids live with every day, we have a couple of exciting things in the works. Check back throughout the month. For more information.

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    We look forward to sharing these and other posts with you throughout the month of July, as well as learning about how you manage your RA. You can stay in touch with us here on our website and our Facebook page.

Published On: July 01, 2013