RA Can’t Keep Me Off the River!

What’s a lifelong fisherman to do when rheumatoid arthritis makes fly-fishing painful? If you’re Ross Smith, you design RA-friendly rods.

Katie Alberts
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Allow spontaneity in your life. There’s a tendency to overplan when you have a disease like RA, says Ross, “but spontaneity is a wonderful thing. Sometimes I decide on a spot that has good canoeing and I just go, with very little notice, knowing that my RA is managed and I don’t need to go crazy with the prep.”

De-clutter your calendar. “If there’s 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,” says Ross.

Monitor your moods.
Unmonitored, depression can have a negative effect on your health, warns Ross. “I was put on antianxiety medication during the worst of my symptoms and continue to take a low dose today. The blues is just as much of a battle as the pain, so you need to deal with it head-on.”

April 2013