The Month Ahead: Preparing for the Holidays with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Patient Expert

Did you know there are only seven Fridays until Christmas?

I didn’t mean to make you cry (I did when I found out) — when you live with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), there are enough challenges in your life. But it’s November 1 and talking about the upcoming (looming?) holidays is inevitable. This month on HealthCentral’s RA site we’ll help you prepare for the holidays and much more.

Our new #ChronicLifeClub program is up and running. October was hugely successful with many people sharing how they use creativity to cope with chronic illness. This month, we are focusing on FOOD. How to prepare and cook food in a way that is comfortable for your joints, how to use food in ways that support your health, and just plain enjoying what you eat. We hope you’ll join the November #ChronicLifeClub by sharing photos of you cooking, as well as the dishes themselves. You can share them on the RAHealthCentral Facebook page or on Twitter — don’t forget the hashtag #ChronicLifeClub!

We had a specific reason for choosing the topic of food this month. There is a lot of cooking coming up for Thanksgiving and the December holidays, and we wanted to help make the celebrations easier for you. Britt will be writing about how to cook comfortably with RA and we encourage the community to share tips and easy recipes.

But it’s not just about food. I’ll be writing about a couple of other topics related to the holidays. One is about why I am thankful for my RA (not as crazy as it sounds, I promise). In another post this month, I’ll share gift ideas for people with RA.

November isn’t just about the holidays here on HealthCentral. We are also continuing to support you in your everyday life. One area of your life that can be difficult to manage with a chronic illness is relationships. Earlier this year, Vanessa’s letter to help family and friends understand was very useful to many in our community. This month, she’ll write a letter to spouses about how to handle RA and marriage.

We will also be looking at some of the basics of living with RA. We get a lot of questions from people who worry that their pain might be a sign of RA and I’ll write a post about how the disease is diagnosed. There is significant overlap between RA and other types of inflammatory arthritis, but there are also differences. Leslie has both RA and lupus and will tell us more about what it’s like and how she balances the two.

Have you started preparing for the holidays? What’s your biggest challenge during this time of year?