Getting Real About Life With RA

We asked folks about life with rheumatoid arthritis. How do they cope with the mental and physical challenges? Here’s what they had to say.

Health Monitor Staff

Whether you’re newly diagnosed or consider yourself an RA veteran, it never hurts to hear from others living with the condition. What keeps them going? How do they fend off fatigue, overcome frustration and stay positive? Click through our slideshow, as folks get real about life with RA.

Don’t worry about being the best.
“Worry about the quality of life. It’s not about being No. 1. It’s about participating in life and enjoying the journey.”—Cindy Lane Ross, Mobile, AL

Photo: Toni Riales Photography

Allow yourself to feel frustrated.
“I had to give myself permission to feel the anger, pain and sadness. Once you give yourself the time and space to feel those emotions, you’ll no longer feel hijacked by them—and you won’t take them out on the people closest to you.”—Karen Ager, New York City

Photo: Donna Marie Bailey

Work smarter, not harder.
“I make a point to spread household chores around—maybe fold laundry one day, vacuum another. On a ‘good day,’ I’ll double or triple a freezable recipe and store the extra for fast, microwavable meals later on.”—Denise LaDelia, Rochester, NY

De-clutter your calendar.
“If there is a social obligation I don’t feel like attending, I let myself skip it to save energy for being active and doing the things I love.”—Ross Smith, Fountain Green, UT

Have a mantra for the tough days.
“During the most difficult months of my RA journey, I had swelling, pain and stiffness from my neck to my toes. It was a very rough time. But I woke up every day and repeated over and over throughout the day, ‘My body is always working toward optimal health.’”—Cathy Kramer, Naperville, IL

August 2013