at the Water's Edge


Living life and learning all I can along the way!

First Ever Rheumatoid Awareness Day

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF) has announced the establishment of the first ever Rheumatoid Awareness Day to promote education and awareness of rheumatoid disease (aka rheumatoid arthritis).  There has never before been an awareness day for RA, and this will be a huge step toward increased education among the public (See Also: RA Un-Awareness).  In my opinion, this day will be extra fun because it falls on February 2nd -- Groundhog Day!

I have my qualms about Groundhog Day, as you can read from my post last year, but it ties in perfectly to rheumatoid disease.  Each year on February 2nd, the groundhog comes out of his hole to see if he can see his shadow -- we use this as a way to predict how much winter we have left for the year.  If he sees his shadow, there's supposedly six more weeks; if he doesn't, then spring is right around the corner.  I ranted last year about how backwards this seemed and how it really didn't make a difference in Michigan, anyways.  This inability to predict the weather and goofy reliance on something as obscure as a groundhog's shadow goes hand in hand with the inability to predict the outcomes of rheumatoid disease.  At present, there is no way to predict how quickly or aggressively the disease will progress or which treatments will be effective for which patients.  For some, the disease is mild; for many it is severe and progresses rapidly.

Because rheumatoid disease can progress so rapidly and deformities and damage can happen quickly, it is essential that patients see a rheumatologist as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms.  Early and aggressive treatment has been show to provide the best chance at remission.  This early "window of opportunity" can be compared to the 6-week window of time that the groundhog's shadow is presumed to predict.

Another analogy that can be drawn is to the groundhog's hole or his shadow.  There's a sense that the truth about rheumatoid disease has been shoved in a hole and left in the shadows, as people mistake "rheumatoid arthritis" for simply achy joints and misinformation gets perpetuated in the media.  It has been so difficult for rheumatoid patients to push through the clutter and be able to be understood and have their illness understood as a destructive autoimmune disease.  Having a Rheumatoid Awareness Day will encourage people to share the truth about this disease and help bring it out of the shadows, into the light for the public to see.

You don't have to have RA to help spread education and awareness!  Click on the RA info button in the sidebar for some basic facts about rheumatoid disease.  Plus, head over to the RPF website for tips on how you can get involved.  It can be as simple as a Facebook post or a Tweet sharing facts about rheumatoid disease or linking back to the RPF website or press release.  Anything you can do to spread awareness and accurate information is a blessing to me and patients like me!

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ABOUTME

Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Happy Gilmore. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!

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