The Positive Side of Living With Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t have to put a damper on your life—sometimes the greatest benefits come at the most unexpected times. Read on for uplifting stories from people living with arthritis.

Kristina Mastrocola

“I stopped beating myself up and started writing poetry”
Robena Richardson, 37, has had bullous lupus since 2001. And while at one point the disease altered the way she looked at herself—“I lost nails and my hair began to fall out”—it also changed the way she looks at life: “I learned to stop basing my accomplishments on my appearance,” says the Tampa, FL, resident. “Lupus forced me to look within myself and find my voice. I started to write poetry as a way to cope with depression, and it made me feel incredible. And now I’m preparing for open mic night at my local bar to share my poetry with my community.”

“Nothing passes me by now”

“A few years ago, I had such severe osteoarthritis (OA) in my shoulder, I couldn’t even reach out to adjust the car radio,” reveals Memphis businessman Tom Webb, age 60. “The doctors had to basically throw my joints in a bucket and rebuild my shoulder with titanium.” What’s all this taught him? “To appreciate everything I have and to be more ‘present’ in life; I have always been an avid runner, but now when I run, I leave my iPod at home so I can really be in the moment, enjoying nature.”

April 2013