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From Self-Care to Surgery
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  5. Could we prevent rheumatoid arthritis? - University of Birmingham

Patients deal with hot and painful joints, zero energy, and the fear their condition is getting worse. Climbing out of bed is difficult. Getting dressed can be a scary thought. And leaving the house can be a daunting task.

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To help raise awareness of this insidious disease, and encourage patients to talk openly with their doctor, Pfizer and greyhealth Australia have launched a new direct-to-consumer campaign, featuring TV, social and a patient support website. The campaign highlights the common symptoms patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis experience, and empowers patients to talk openly about their condition.

The pain and suffering can occur on a daily basis, sometimes with no relief in sight. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and swelling of the joints.

From Self-Care to Surgery

Cherie Davies and Ben Webster, joint creative directors at greyhealth Australia, said patients want to be understood. If you know someone who is living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, encourage them to talk to their doctor about treatment options.

Hopefully raises awareness. He said, mum, is that what you feel like? Thanks for making people aware of our lives. As soon as the ad started I knew that it was about RA. A truely accurate depiction of how it feels to live with RA. Thank you for bringing awareness of this chronic illness to the public. It is a lonely and isolating illness that no one can see but is so very real to the sufferer.

When I need to explain my illness to others now I will refer them to the ad in the first instance. I am glad- finally an ad to raise awareness for RA. Breast cancer gets lots, but of course, many people die from that. But even Osteoporosis gets more publicity-i have that too-but it is nothing compared to RA. RA is so painful and the pain is constant. My feet are deformed so now i am walking on end of my tibia but i keep moving. What a sick joke.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Part 1: Introduction

When i was diagnosed in , there was no emotional support for this disease either. I was floundering but i was determined. I have a sense of humour. He worked with RA patients in a hospital in Ireland before steroids were used to treat it. If you sit and wallow, you seize up and it is worse, i think.

So i am relieved to see something on media about it, to raise awareness. Information about this disease, and all us sufferers, have been neglected and left behind for too long. Even though the ad is a good start, i hope there will be more information made available to tv viewers and other forms of media. I learned that personality also might play a role in susceptibility to disease. People who exhibit a lesser-known personality type — type C — have a tendency to appease others and suppress their own feelings, and could be at greater risk for becoming sick.

I recognized enough of myself in this description to self-diagnose as an emotion-stuffing, type-C woman, apparently the perfect storm for coming down with an autoimmune disease. There was something else too.

In a Good Spot

Sometimes I would wake in the middle of the night with my shoulders on fire and wonder, Did I do something to deserve this? Though I would never blame someone else for their illness, I did not give myself the same kindness. I was in pain: I wanted it to have a purpose. I am privileged in that my disease in its current form comes without loaded cultural connotations, without shame. It is, unless you look closely, invisible. I can say its name aloud in public and not have anyone shrink away in fear or disgust.

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Perhaps it will one day rob me of my able-bodied privilege, and maybe it is misunderstood as the creaky disease of age, but for now the ascribed meaning, the useless metaphors, the judgment, come only from me. As I learn to live with this disease, I peer at it through different lenses and metaphors.

Is rheumatoid arthritis an enemy to conquer? A companion I will walk with for the rest of my life? Is my disease human or animal, male or female? Does it have, or should it be given, a name? In a way this disease is the love of my life — something I will wake with every day and take with me wherever I go.

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It will cozy up to my bones, make my mouth go dry, and cause my heart to calcify. This tendency to imagine my disease as something it ultimately is not has allowed me to distill rheumatoid into something I can face. I am still shy around this disease. I give it other names and identities because the truth of it is too bulky and sharp to chew up and swallow. Until I develop some sort of bravery to do so — and I hope that with time I will — I continue to shield myself from the full force of what rheumatoid arthritis is.

Not every diagnosis allows time for pondering metaphors, but rheumatoid is no sprint toward death. It is a slow burn, like a peat fire smoldering under the snow all winter.

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Does that make it sound glamorous? Let me try again.

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It is juggling prescriptions and vitamins and special diets. It is still not having the medication right almost three years after diagnosis, still having swelling in the knuckles and sore knees on wet winter days, the threat of permanent damage to my joints shadowing every quiet moment. It is the embarrassment of repeated sick days, the fear of being seen as unreliable.

It is knowing that anything beyond office work is no longer an option. My days of chainsawing and trail building are over. Perhaps I never intended to be a woodswoman forever, but now that the choice is off the table, I long for it. It is the right index finger not being able to curl any more. It is the inability to bend my right wrist back, making my waving and high-fiving humorously inept.

Could we prevent rheumatoid arthritis? - University of Birmingham

It is hopping around the kitchen in pain as I attempt to open a jar, the disheartening defeat and burning wrists when I set it back in the cupboard, still sealed. I was feverishly hot to the touch, but there were no apparent signs of rash or discoloration. She took my temperature. It is springtime in I am three years old and I have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The author is a native of south Louisiana. She grew up during a period of integration and social change in the south. Despite the unrest that the country was experiencing , her story is one of inspiration, accomplishment and anticipation.

The author reminds us that love, family, determination and prayer are essential in life. She currently lives in northern Virginia with her husband and three children and works as a college and career counselor in public education. Formats Softcover. Book Details. Language : English. Format : Softcover. Dimensions : 6x9.