Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease

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Celebrating one month pain free

Back in August I mentioned that Tanya had started using a new drug to combat the pain from her Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (aka RAD or RA) she has been living with since 2003. She had been using Enbrel for quite some time, but it did not seem to be doing any good, so Cimzia was suggested. These kinds of drugs usually take a while to get into her system before they start working, and she was in a terrible amount of pain, so her new Rheumatologist started her on various sleeping pills and anti-anxiety pills; but nothing seemed to help. The last time we visited Dr. Ishimori, we talked about this and it was decided that Tanya should start taking an anti-inflammatory, Mobic; the change has been amazing.

Within a couple weeks of adding Mobic to her drug cocktail Tanya noticed something pretty amazing. She was no longer in pain. Considering she could not walk around the block without experiencing some pain, this was pretty remarkable. As time went on she realized that she could carry her camera, with an external flash; she could walk up and down hills and she could lift items over her head without paying for it later. In fact, when rain was in the forecast she did not feel it in her joints. It has been 10 years since that has happened.

Naturally, Tanya is taking advantage of this pain-free existence; this means being able to finally unpack after more than a year of living here, and we go out for walks with our cameras. These photos are from our visit yesterday to the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes Estates. We walked the mile circumference of the garden with all its hills, and she felt no pain. That is quite the accomplishment. Continue reading

Rheumatoid Awareness Day – Coming out of the shadows

Saturday was Groundhog Day and it was the first annual Rheumatoid Awareness Day; for patients with Rheumatoid Disease, previously known as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD). February 2 was picked as Rheumatoid Awareness Day because just as Punxsutawney Phil pokes his head out of his burrow to see if his shadow is visible or not, Rheumatoid Awareness Day was started in the hopes of getting the truth about this disease to the masses and to help bring it out of the shadows.

Groundhog Day has long been a favorite day of mine, beginning back in the 70’s when I worked at the telephone company. In addition to the standard holidays that most union employees expect to have off with pay (Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July), we were given “floating holidays” that were days off with pay that we could take whenever we want. I always chose February 2 since there were so many holidays between November and January, and the next one would not be until the end of May, so it made for a nice break.

This year, CNN’s iReport set up a project for people to take photos of their shadows. I already had plans to go one a nice bike ride and thought I would be able to get some cool shots of the shadows cast by me and my bike; but it was far too overcast for there to be anything in the way of shadows. Luckily, I had my point & shoot camera with me when I took the dogs on their morning walk, so I did my best to get some shadow pics with them. Continue reading

Living with RA: One year later

A few weeks ago several of my siblings came into town to attend a function that was honoring my dad and a few others that attend his church. One of my brothers asked me if I was going to continue writing about life with Rheumatoid Arthritis or not. Apparently he had enjoyed reading my perspective. I explained to him that while I was continuing to do as I had promised as far as bringing awareness of RA and of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation, I was doing it primarily by donating watermarks on some of my photos to the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. The reason for this was that living with a person that had RA was not always a pleasant experience and I was not always ready to deal with the strife that might result if I wrote my thoughts for the world to see. Little did I know that some might interpret my lack of writing a an indication that all was well, apparently there are people in my own family that seem to think that we use Tanya’s disease as an excuse to get out of doing things. Tanya frequently discusses on her blog how strangers do not seem to understand RA, how they will offer home remedies that their grandmother used for her arthritis, or how if people cannot see the effects of the disease, it must not exist. I begrudgingly accepted this as reality, but I was saddened when I discovered that this extended to my own family. As a result, I have decided to talk a little about the last year.

In October of 2011 Tanya moved in with me and I learned what living with Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD), also known as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) was really like. Tanya and I carried on a long distance relationship for more than four years, so I thought I had a pretty good grasp on things as far as RA was concerned; I was wrong. When we were 2,000 miles apart I did not see RAD on a daily basis; I could only go by the comments Tanya might make when we spoke on Skype or ICQ. Considering we lived so far apart we saw each other a lot but Tanya is pretty good about not complaining, so for the most part, I only heard about problems when they were severe. Because Tanya wanted to spend time with me, she would suffer in silence and I really did not know how bad it was. Continue reading

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