The Month Ahead: Telling Your Stories, Sharing Our Lives

  • Do you go through your life with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) quietly and with minimal fuss? We all face significant social pressure to be silent – facing hardship with a stiff upper lip is the norm in our culture. People are impressed by those who live with pain or physical challenges, but always have a smile on their face. This pressure to be silent is why the online community is so powerful. Here we can be ourselves, tell it like it is, share our trials and tribulations and be recognized. We support each other, cheer each other on, grieve and celebrate together. Here on HealthCentral’s RA site, we are committed to creating a community where it’s safe to be ourselves. A place where you can share your stories.

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    We’re very excited to start a new project this month called Defining Moments. We want to share your stories of accomplishments, of something that makes you proud. We all have them, whether they are big or small events, something we’ve worked on, or are passionate about. Something that makes life worth living.


    Using the Live Bold Live Now immersive RA documentary as a jumping off point, we’re beginning the project by telling the stories of the RA site team. We started in May, sharing Brad’s passion for advocacy and Britt’s journey from immobility to doing a 5K. Over the next two months, we’ll feature the other members of the RA team sharing their accomplishments. We hope this will inspire you to share the stories and photos of your accomplishments in SharePosts and on our Facebook page. What makes you proud?


    As well as celebrating your lives, we’re also going to continue bringing you quality information to help you live better with RA.


    Several of our team are going to focus on helping you get through challenging moments. Brad will talk about adjusting to having RA and how to get from a place of darkness to coping better. Leslie is going to focus on the specifics of bad days, sharing how she gets through them and Britt will take a look at the same topic, exploring what to do about flares. One experience that can be very challenging is going to the dentist. Marianna will share some excellent tips that can help make the visit easier and improve the health of your teeth.


    We live in a time where much has changed about the way we approach treating RA. Later this month, I’ll write about treatment approaches in the past and how they have changed to be more effective. Many of us use a combination of Western/allopathic medical care and complementary or alternative treatments. That includes the use of supplements and vitamins. Do you know what works and what doesn’t? Lisa is going to dive into this topic.


    Most people with RA faced a lengthy process of visiting different doctors before getting a diagnosis. Part of the reason is that inflammatory arthritis and other autoimmune diseases are notoriously difficult to identify. To shed some light on that murkiness, Lisa will also write about conditions that can mimic RA.


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    Last month, we published information about pregnancy and RA, as well as news about a book that can help explain chronic pain to young children. With the celebration of Father’s Day in June, we are continuing our exploration of having a family when you live with RA. This month, I’ll complete the series with a post on parenting and RA.


    Parenting is about nurturing and that’s something we all do, whether we have children or not. In May, Vanessa wrote about nurturing life. This month, she’ll approach nurturing from another point of view, posting do’s and don’ts for helping friends who have RA.


    In addition to helping you as an individual, we’re also going to take a step back and look at some of the social factors surrounding chronic illness and RA. Leslie, our resident sociologist, will be looking at how our culture views chronic illness in her post on the stigma of RA.


    We very much look forward to hearing the stories of your accomplishments here on the RA site, as well as on our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Published On: June 01, 2014