“We Make the Most of Every Day With RA!”

Five women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) share their go-to strategies for making the most of every day with RA.

Health Monitor Staff
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“Be creative”
1-year RA patient: Amber Pierce, Dallas

  • Find painless alternatives. I pick up my son, Banner, by wrapping my forearms under his armpits, rather than using my hands, which strains my wrists.
  • Use everyday items to help. Instead of getting all the way down on the floor, I use small step stools to sit with Banner on the floor without having to get all the way down there. Getting off the floor is a challenge, so the stool (one of Banner’s!) gives me better leverage to get up.
  • Let your partner know when not to touch. For Amber Pierce, having her husband, Sam, come to doctors’ appointments so he, too, can get educated about RA is key to his understanding that, sometimes, just a touch can be painful. So when Amber’s wrists are inflamed and swollen, she redirects her husband’s hand if he tries to hold her hand. “Or, I simply tell him I’m in pain there.” And when evening fatigue and achiness make her feel like the flu is coming on, “even a caress or a rub can bother me,” says Amber. “But because Sam knows all about what I experience with RA, he doesn’t take it personally and asks what he can do to help.”

    The couple has also had to learn what works for them when they are intimate. “There are certain positions that are more comfortable for me,” says Amber. “And there are limitations to how far my body can stretch or bend. It’s up to me to communicate those limits.”
January 2014