Baby Steps Progress with Rheumatoid Arthritis
It is the start of a brand-new year filled with potential for change, especially for the better.
I love how this day of this month always gives me hope for the future. I have a fresh calendar with empty pages just waiting to be filled with the details of my life. With the potential inherent in a new year, who knows where I’ll go? Right now, it feels like I will go only forward.
The thing about having a chronic illness is that this forward movement tends to not be linear. Rather, there are sidetracks and double backs and points where you get stuck. It can feel as if you’ll never achieve your goal. But over the years, I have also learned that keeping going, dusting yourself off and getting back on track — even if it’s slower than you want — will eventually get you where you want to go.
This month at HealthCentral, we are talking about how baby steps can help you move forward while accommodating your chronic illness.
Marianna will write about adjusting to the different pace of living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). How do you stay steadfast between all the sidetracks? How do you keep going? Make sure you come back to check out her tips on how to adapt and still get to where you want to go.
We will also be talking about baby steps in other contexts. Social media can be a great source of support if you are the only person among your friends and family who has a particular chronic illness. Cathy will tell you how to begin finding a community online. Back in the “real” world, Emil will explore the process of finding your way back to being athletic when you have RA. Like anything else with this condition, it requires baby steps.
Whether online or away from the Internet, you’ll find that people react in different ways to your having RA. One common reaction is for someone to tell horror stories about how whatever approach you take to dealing with your condition will inevitably be wrong and result in horrible consequences. I’ll do an article about how to deal with these kinds of negative stories and in a follow-up, Cathy will write about the importance of being gentle with people who are new to RA.
We often hear how important it is to stay physically active, but it can be really difficult when you’re hurting and exhausted. Yoga can be a really good way to start to move, but how do you work around your RA? Emil will talk to a yoga instructor and share tips.
But that’s not all! We will also share resources, books, and doodads that can help you function better as you take baby steps into the future. If you’re new to RA, join me on the RAHealthCentral Facebook page on Jan. 24 to find out what is important to know for RA newbies.
We look forward to taking baby steps into the future with you over the next 12 months!
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.