Visualizing Your Future with Rheumatoid Arthritis
The end of 2009? Already? Are you sure? Wasn't it just July?
But no, all the signs are there. My windows are frozen shut after the first winter storm of the season, the supermarket is playing muzak-ified carols and the Christmas tree guys are here up on the corner. And as I go by, my senses fill with the scent of pine, creating a forest of green around me as a welcome counterpoint to the concrete of downtown.
It's been an exciting year, both in healthcare and here on MyRACentral.
A review of 2009 would not be complete without mentioning the US Health Care Reform. It has been fascinating to watch this process of changing the system to allow more care for more people. Opinions and feelings ran the gamut, and debate was at times fiery, but that's what democracy is all about - a frank exchange of opinion and, ultimately, working together to create something better, something that almost always requires further tinkering, but the will is there. It was the year of H1N1 or Swine Flu, initially scary as it tore through Mexico, but as it spread beyond and mutated, adapting to its human host, it turned into something milder, helping us fine-tune the tools for dealing with serious world-wide pandemics without the devastation. And for those of us living with rheumatoid arthritis, it was a year of exciting research and more hope, as new biologics entered the arena: Simponi, Cimzia, Rituxan.
The Writers & What They Wrote
And here on MyRACentral, it was also a year of new development and growth. We added new Experts who added to our reference library, and shared their lives and experiences with us:
Lisa Emrich, who lives with both RA and multiple sclerosis, is currently writing a series on co-morbidity, e.g., RA and MS, RA and diabetes, RA and fibromyalgia, RA and cardiovascular disease and also posted an exhaustive list of financial assistance to help you get the drugs you need to treat your disease.
Sara Nash wrote about the Buckle Me Up campaign to bring awareness to younger people living with RA, wondered what would happen if the Bachelorette had RA, traveled to Egypt and Israel and moved to Baltimore for a new adventure.
The "older crowd" was busy, too:
Holly continued to share her experience of being a young mother with RA, wrote a letter to "newbies" with RA and shared her decision to continue methotrexate even though it was making her hair fall out.
As for me, I wrote posts for the Beginner's Guide to RA on a number of topics, including SSD, working and self-advocacy, posted interviews with people who have created careers in connection with their chronic illness (talk about literally making your disease work for you!), the Spoon Theory, and mused on just what the expression "Better Living Through Chemistry" can mean.
You can find more posts written by each Expert by clicking on their name.
Enough of reference areas and now to the really exciting part: the growth of the MyRACentral community! Compared to where we were a year ago, this site has positively exploded. Just last month (November, 2009) we were in the top 5 HealthCentral communities with over 400 answers posted in the Q&A section - a real milestone!
The force behind this number is you. Thanks to you, MyRACentral has become a lively community of engaged members who are committed to creating an online place where people living with RA can exchange information and get pointers for wrangling their medical team and living well with this disease. One of the most important factors in living well is finding others who know what you're going through, and now we can. This site has become a place to share the hard times and the good, and find that most heartwarming thing: people who care, people who connect across the US and beyond, people who give each other the support that makes it possible to get through. Every day, I am astonished and touched by the depth of caring I see in your answers and SharePosts. Working here as a writer is fun, but you and this community you have built make working here a privilege.
I can't wait to see what we'll do in 2010!
You can read more of Lene's writing on The Seated View.