at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

What Rheumatoid Awareness Means to Me

*Note: this post is part of a Blog Carnival, coordinated by RA Warrior

When challenged to think about what Rheumatoid Awareness would mean to me, personally, I had to give it some thought.  There are a lot of general positive outcomes that I think would come from greater awareness of rheumatoid disease (also known as rheumatoid arthritis).  Greater understanding of this disease would:

  • Help people with rheumatoid disease (PRD) to be better understood by others -- including family, friends and medical professionals
  • Prevent misinformation from being published so rampantly in the media
  • Make it easier for PRD to get the accommodations and assistance they need
  • Improve healthcare coverage and quality of care
  • Underscore the need not only for different and better treatments, but for a cure, and hopefully prompt additional research funding

I think all of those things are important, and this is a partial list of the reasons why the establishment and recognition of Rheumatoid Awareness Day on February 2nd it so significant.  It gives us one special day in the spotlight to focus on getting the message out there about what rheumatoid disease is (a systemic disease whereby one's own immune system attacks healthy cells, causing pain, inflammation, and/or and damage to joints and organs) and what it is not (just a type of arthritis or sore joints).

But let's get a little more personal. I've been fortunate to have a very treatable form of RD, where my current day to day life is pretty "normal" when I take the right medication. I am also fortunate to have family and friends who are supportive.  However, this disease still affects my life: weekly injections and regular doctor's visits; complications and additional considerations for family planning / planning for the future or even a trip; dealing with the consequences of permanent joint damage; additional health risks and drug side effects. 

So, what would greater awareness mean for me, day to day. It would mean that I wouldn't have to get nervous about telling people I have RD, trying to decide how I want to explain it and how to react when they think it's "just arthritis".  It would mean I wouldn't have to get defensive and try to explain why I take weekly injections and why taking X supplement isn't going to make it go away.  It would mean people would understand when I am sore, would ask me how I'm doing, and would offer to do things for me that they know my joints won't allow me to do / would not ask me to do things that they know hurt me to attempt (to be truthful, my husband and many of my friends and family are already great at this -- thanks, guys!!). 

Greater awareness would mean that more people were working for a cure for this disease, and that I might have the hope of one day getting off my medications and having a properly functioning immune system -- ultimately that my body wouldn't destroy itself and that I wouldn't have to fear losing more functionality due to pain or damage.

Please take a moment and read how you can help spread awareness for Rheumatoid Disease and get involved on February 2nd (or any day!).

See Also: 

First Ever Rheumatoid Awareness Day
RA Un-Awareness
RA Won't Get the Best of Me

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. 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!