Educating myself about RA
I was diagnosed with JIA when I was 6 years old. My RA started in my pinky finger and my family and I started calling it “Blubber” because it was the same size as my thumb. Since this was twenty years ago, my family and I didn’t have access to the Internet. RA was once considered an illness affecting only older people, so at the time, my diagnosis made my family and I nervous.
I now know that RA is a degenerative disease that will affect my body increasingly over time. It has always been in my best interest to learn what I can do to help slow and/or reduce the effect that this disease has on me. I remember being bombarded by information when I went to the doctor’s office. It was hard to figure out what information was relevant and what didn’t pertain to me.
I always had 100 questions to ask, but only 15 minutes with my doctor. It was overwhelming when I was young, and continued to be, even when I became a teenager, or visited my doctor in my early twenties. I wanted to learn about RA in an effective way, but researching things online can sometimes be more hurtful than beneficial. About a year ago, I went to a doctor who was playing educational programming in the waiting room. I realized that not only was it solely about RA, it was really helpful information, not just empty information that I already knew. Simple things like stretching, swimming, or changing my diet could greatly improve my condition. I had not ever heard that, but I wanted to talk to my doctor about what I had seen in their waiting room. For the first time, I felt like the appointment I was at was helpful, informative, and not overwhelming!
For those of you that want to look into it, ContextMedia:Health was the network in the waiting area. I may have heard similar information from my doctor numerous times, but hearing something in a scientific manner wasn’t inspiring me to make life changes. Watching videos about other people living with RA mattered to me and I found myself taking notes on the nutrition and exercise tips!
ContextMedia:Health is an extremely beneficial service. I emailed the company to let them know as such. I realize how much of a difference it made in my life, so I wanted to share it with other people who might be living with RA. With constant changes in the healthcare industry and new treatments on the market – patients need relevant information when and where they are thinking about their disease and that’s what their service did for me. Living with arthritis has not been easy but the more I know about the disease, the more I can take action to improve my life.
When was your last flare?