Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for Over 10 years

Cathee McKeown Health Guide
  • March of 2007 will be my 10 year anniversary of being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Most people probably wouldn’t want to celebrate something like this but I plan to recognize this anniversary for a few reasons. First of all, when I was first diagnosed with RA I had no idea what that even was. I remember that my best friend was with me at that appointment and when she heard what it was she was like, Ok…what does that mean? Turns out that it meant A LOT!

    I’m glad that I know what Rheumatoid Arthritis is because there are millions of people suffering from it and I never knew. Every race, religion, gender and age are affected by this crippling disease and we all suffer the same. Even though we are “different” as far as society sees, we are all the same in this. We all feel the undeniable pain. We all feel the frustration of simple limitations. We all feel the guilt of not being who we used to be (the hardest one of all). But because of RA, I can relate to those people who suffer and just understand…just “get it.”
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    Secondly, having RA has made me a better person “inside.” I think differently. I respond differently. I am more compassionate and aware. These are the few good things. There are plenty of bad things but I’ll talk about that in another Blog. This is the “Happy New Year” Blog! My last thought on celebrating my RA is that I can and should make this an opportunity to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! I have ten years of a lot of reading, learning, feeling, experiencing, crying, yelling, questioning, examining, denying and accepting that this is who I am and I have to do the best I can. The only person who can do that in your life is you! That is your gift to yourself this year, creating the best You possible, no matter what the circumstances.

    It’s been a long time since I could even see that, and this year I am giving that to myself. My old, tired, aching but optimistic self! Another GREAT way to give, and actually contribute to your self as well, is to be a member of your local Arthritis Foundation. So many people are already members; I have been a member for a very long time and the benefits are terrific.

    When I get my Arthritis Today magazine I read it cover to cover (as if it were a People magazine)! I really do. The articles are great and you get a lot of really important information regarding all forms of Arthritis. You get newsletters on different topics and local events. They can always use volunteers. Always! I have yet to volunteer but my first goal is to begin volunteering this month. All of these things help increase awareness, raise money for RA research, and support for those who really need it. It is really a gift that we all could use!

    So, I think there are a lot of things that I can celebrate this year, be thankful for and give back in return. If we all just take one small step we can make huge advances in research. Personally, I have tried and failed every RA medication and treatment so far. So for me, I really rely on the future advances of medications. I don’t want to sound bleak but this is just my reality and I know the reality of so many others. Let’s do this for each other. 2007, wow…

  • Have a great and hopefully pain “less” year!
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    • What are your RA resolutions for 2007? Leave a comment below or post a reply on the RA Message Boards!

Published On: January 12, 2007