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General Discussion

RA/Life Balance

  • By Rachel

    Hi, I am new to the forum but I’m really grateful to have found it. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis close to a year ago, but the pain and symptoms were present long before my formal diagnosis. I am a 26 year old female and it is difficult to accept some of the lifestyle changes and decisions that accompany a diagnosis like RA. I am glad to have caught it early, however, the unpredictability and variability of an autoimmune disease sometimes feels like an enormous mountain in front of me. I often find myself going through various stages of acceptance and denial, hopefulness and hopelessness, & pain and relief. I am very interested to hear other peoples’ stories and I hope that I will be able to share and contribute something meaningful to others. Over the past year I have thrown myself into my career and my graduate degree with such intensity – and I feel proud of my accomplishments, however, I know that the amount of responsibility I have taken on adds to my stress levels, adds to my flares, and impacts my quality of life. I haven’t yet found the balance or the type of lifestyle that will be most beneficial to me but I am on the constant search. Wishing all the best to all of you.
    Thank you,

  • By Kelly Mack Moderator

    Hi Rachel, your experience really resonates with me. Having RA and learning to live and balance is a long journey. Hopefully you will find stories hear that speak to you and provide support in your experience. Sending warm thoughts! Best, Kelly (Site Moderator)

  • By Jane Burbach

    Hi Rachel,

    So sorry about about the RA but happy for you in your accomplishments academically and professionally. It takes so much effort to live with RA. I am proud of all of us for persevering and doing the best we can.

    As far as balance goes, I am still working on it too. It’s been just over a year since my diagnosis but experienced symptoms off and on starting at age 19. Now there is some kind of flare on a regular basis, but at least the meds got me back to work after a couple of months of almost complete disability.

    I am a self-employed consultant and have projects with deadlines on a weekly basis. Luckily the projects take between one and three days per week. So the plan is to work during the middle of the week. My clients understand that I have RA and are flexible – and I am flexible with them as well. Being present for my family can be a challenge when I am stuck in bed or on the couch. We have help with cleaning and yard work, but cooking and laundry are a daily challenge.

    RA also takes a huge toll on the social life… so hard to make plans with friends considering work and family responsibilities.

    I guess we just do the best we can as we can.