Monday, July 18, 2011

Life with and after RA

No project today - I have some in the works, but I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who left such positive and encouraging words for me from this past weekend's blog hop.  I am grateful for your support and excited to have a bunch of new followers!

In an effort to keep the story short, I left out a lot of details.  I wanted to provide some hope to those that have this disease or others like it - there is LIFE AFTER RA!  It took several months for me to get a solid diagnosis (which has been added onto over time, as one auto-immune disease will trigger others and other conditions), and even longer to find a treatment plan that worked for me.  I take a lovely cocktail of crummy medicines that are giving me a high quality of life right now.  While I have virtually no immune system to speak of, I walk, work, craft, and parent with little to no issues.  The addition of Enbrel and Melaleuca Vitality 4 have been life altering for me, and now I rarely wear arm braces or walk funny any more as often as I used to : )  I've been extremely blessed with an opportunity to work from home, which shelters me from illness exposure and allows a comfortable environment for me to crash in on my not so good days.

Lots of times people confuse Rheumatoid Arthritis with the more commonly familiar Osteoarthritis.  Arthritis by definition simply means "joint pain" but the differences between RA and OA are vastly different.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused by the immune system turning on it's self.  An internal switch is flipped (usually caused by some sort of traumatic event and very often after the birth of a child) and the immune system begins to attack healthy join tissues and fluids, causing rapid decay.  Left untreated, RA can cause severe disability and a crippling of the hands, feet, and other joints.  RA is not an "old person's disease" and has often been found in children as well.  Treatment usually involves suppressing the immune system to limit it's effect on the joints and surrounding tissue. 

Well maintained though, people with RA can love active healthy lives, but getting to that point can be difficult, long, painful, and lonely.  If you know someone with this disease do what you can to learn about how you can help support them.  Thanks for reading!  I promise projects soon!


  1. Hello Heather, I bounced through during the blog hop and just made a quick comment. I went to a swarm just after reading your story and ended up sharing the link with a friend that hasn't quite figured out how to cope. I spent today going back to each of the comments that were left for me and looking at the different blogs. I love what you have done and will continue to be inspired by your work. Thank You!

  2. Hi Heather! Just stumbled upon your blog. I, too, have R.A. I have just started trying to craft to keep my hands busy. My R.A. seems to be more into my wrist and hands at this time. I am on Orencia (IV's) monthly, methotrexate and so many others to try to fight this. I am so loving looking at all the lovely things you have made and hope one day I will be able to make things as lovely as yours. Thanks for listening. Hope you have a great weekend:)