Exploring. Adventures. These aspects of life can fall by the wayside when we have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). When you’re busy managing fatigue and pain, finding the time to explore new areas, new thoughts, and new ways of advocacy can seem insurmountable. This month on HealthCentral, we are exploring and hope you’ll join us.
Venturing forth into the unknown requires having the tools to do so. For people with RA, one of those tools could be custom orthotics. RA in your ankles and toes can change the way your joints function and the extra support, designed just for you, can make all the difference. Vanessa will tell us about the process of getting custom orthotics, and the differences this has made in her life.
Getting there is half the fun and half the challenge. Travelling with RA can be daunting, as you look at managing your medication, packing, carrying a suitcase, and dashing for distant gates in the airport. And what about sleeping in a different bed — how will that affect your pain levels? Sometimes, the fear of what might happen can be enough to keep you at home. Britt is going to look into how to cope with the fear of travelling with RA so you can get out in the world.
Once you get there, adapting to a new environment with a chronic illness presents yet another challenge. A few years ago, Leslie moved to New York City for school and is now looking for work. What’s it like to have a chronic illness in this iconic city? We’ll find out later this month.
Exploring isn’t just about the literal meaning of travelling and seeing something new. It’s also about the metaphorical journey to gain new knowledge about your disease. This month, I will write about little-known joints that may be affected by RA, as well as sharing some new information about the biology of that fatigue with which we all struggle.
One of the best things about travelling is the people you meet when you wander around a new place. On October 12, we have the opportunity to connect with other people who live with arthritis in other countries during World Arthritis Day. What does it look like when people from all over the world get together to raise awareness about arthritis? I’ll be taking a look at that, too.
How do you explore new things with RA?
Lene Andersen is the Community Leader for HealthCentral’s RA Community. Lene (pronounced Lena) is an award-winning writer, health and disability advocate, and photographer living in Toronto. She’s written several books, including Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain, and 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain, as well as the award-winning blog, The Seated View. Follow Lene on Twitter @TheSeatedView and on Facebook. Watch her story on HealthCentral.