Ra Horizons Are Bright
As we approach and enter a new year, I tend to contemplate my life and journey with RA. This year, one thing that has really resonated with me is the myriad of treatments, research efforts, informational access, and educational opportunities available to those of us with RA.
RA resources have come a long way!
It seems like just yesterday that gold shots and massive doses of corticosteroids and/or aspirin were the only options for dealing with RA. What a long way we have come since those days! Nowadays, treatment options abound, and educational and social interaction opportunities are at our fingertips, literally.
When I was first diagnosed 26 years ago, the only place I could find any information beyond a simple pamphlet given to me by my PCP was at the library. I took out several medical books and delved into them to try to find out what RA was, what my treatment options were, and what my future held. Suffice it to say, it was tedious and varied greatly.
Where to find support
The best I could do in touching base with others having RA was a “chat room,” which was often filled with people in acute distress. I found myself more depressed than feeling comforted. After much digging, I was able to find a “chat room” that offered tips for management and treatment choices. I also became affiliated with The Arthritis Foundation, serving on their New England board for a few years.
Several years later, I discovered blogs and ended up starting one myself. That opened the door to relationships with many other people with RA. Blogs abound now and have their place in RA communication. Facebook groups did the same, offering many opportunities to interact with other folks with RA. I started an RA support group in my community, offering face-to-face, more personal interactions, and it gave me friendships for life. If there is not one in your community, I encourage you to start one.
Opportunities to get involved
Then along came Health Union and RheumatoidArthritis.net. I was asked to be a patient advocate/contributor. I have met so many amazing RA warriors along the way! Each one has given me priceless support, advice, comfort, and information that has proven to be invaluable to me personally and professionally.
My point here is the future is limitless when it comes to RA. We have abundant and varied resources for every aspect of our RA journey at our fingertips now. Just a few decades ago, we could never imagine what we now have to assist us day after day, year after year. There is no one facing the future with RA who should feel alone or helpless. Reaching out is available on so many levels. If you are not sure how, just look at the many articles related to this topic (and any others you can think of) in our Rheumatoidarthritis.net library.
Don't be afraid to ask for guidance
Check in with your care team to see what thoughts they have as well. It may surprise you to get their feedback on where to look, who to touch base with, and how to pursue these new horizons.
I feel very hopeful that the future of RA management is bright and that we can all contribute as we offer our unique approach to the journey.