Happy Thanksgiving! Not Margaritaville, But Still Sunny

I’m thankful for you!

Volunteers at RPF ACR exhibit with Dr. John DavisI’m always grateful for this community and the difference you’ve made in the lives of so many people searching for support or who just need to know they’re not alone. Many of us have met in person, exchanged hugs and tears, and felt the bond that comes with living with Rheumatoid disease. Many others I’ve spoken with over the phone, by email, or on this site, Twitter, or Facebook… I’m blessed to know every one of you and I could fill this page with the names of many of you who are on my mind day to day.

(How thankful we should all be for the internet itself – and the freedom to speak our minds.)

Of course living with a thankful heart does not mean everything is easy and comfortable. Living with Rheumatoid disease is pretty far from Margaritaville! But even with the various levels of hardship we all endure, a grateful heart makes a difference, opening more doors for courage, optimism, and change.

The people I’ve met with this cruel disease and those who care for them are truly the most resilient, cheerful people I’ve known. They believe “the sun will come out tomorrow” because they have to. And they’re right; it’s the only way to fight such a long battle.

Cheers! So this Thanksgiving, here’s to…

  • Hope of new opportunities for research, treatments, and a cure for Rheumatoid disease!
  • Greater awareness of Rheumatoid disease with the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF).
  • More opportunities for patient participation in all phases of health care.

Special thanks

There are so many names on my mind and I can’t name them all here but, I have to mention how thankful I am for this year’s RPF ACR volunteers Dana, Shannon, Becky, Jay, Roxanne, Katie Beth, Natalie, Mark, Erin, Samantha, and Janet. For my dear friends Leslie and Barb who keep me sane. And for my mom who tirelessly cheers me on.

Postblog: There’s so much to write about what we learned and our experiences at last week’s ACR meeting! Meanwhile, enjoy a few snapshots of our volunteers!

Smiling RPF volunteers with Dr. Lothar Kirsch

Smiles & laughs while tearing down the RPF ACR exhibit

Kelly and Erin at RPF exhibit

Happy hugs at ACR 2012 Tweet-up

Recommended reading

Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more accurate awareness of Rheumatoid disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the Rheumatoid patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA of about 950 pages and writes periodically for other newsletters and websites. Kelly served on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board. There are over 42,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She has lived over nine years with unrelenting Rheumatoid disease. See also http://www.rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

8 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving! Not Margaritaville, But Still Sunny

  • November 22, 2012 at 11:06 am

    rawarrior Two RA bloggers, posting within minutes of each other. What are the odds? 😉 Happy Thanksgiving!

  • November 22, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Kelly, right back atcha! You are the face of resilience, courage, and hope for all of us! Thank you for being here!

  • November 23, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Kelly, I just can’t thank you enough. I now go into my rheumatologist armed with information and so much more confidence. I no longer feel like the helpless lab rat I once was. Plus, thanks to all of you, I don’t feel so alone with this disease. Thank-you for ever!!

  • November 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Proof of how much we need information you provide is in yet another article, from Women’s Day, that popped up on MSN today, “16 ways to beat arthritis.” After briefly differentiating OA and RA, it says, “But there are ways to lessen joint pain, including losing weight, exercising, eating a halthy diet and more! Browse our strategies here to be on your way to a heappy, healthy and pain-free you.” Disease-modifying drugs are mentioned with the assertion that they “actually change the usually significant disability caused by the disease.” While I’m currently one of the lucky ones who is finding significant improvement with a biologic, and I’m so thankful, even I am well aware that this statement leaves out those who do not see significant improvement, making it sound as if all do.

  • November 24, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Sorry for the wrongly spelled words in that previous post. Although I’m glad to be among the ones who benefits greatly from biologics, this is evidence that even those who see significant improvement still see the effects of RA in their everyday life and are not cured. It’s not my spelling that’s the issue: my typing skills have obviously deteriorated, a real problem in my work. Those awkward hands also keep me from my once-realized dream, playing violin in my community’s orchestra.

  • November 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I am newly diagnosed with RD (love the name) I have been struggling with a gamut of emotions. I have several other issues including PCOS that has left me with insulin resistance and thyroid disease so this was a kick in the ass I didn’t need. Your site has been a blessing. I have shared with friends and family trying to help them understand what I am going through. When initially diagnosed everyone was relived. I heard it could be worse. How? No one really understood what I had been going through or what I could be facing. I feel somebody understands when I read the articles on your site and others comments. I also have been blessed to have a really good rheumatologist. Things could be a lot worse. Thank you for your site Kelly.

  • November 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I truly am thankful for the work you, and those who help you, have done towards the goals of realizing awareness by professionals about the disease, where there was very little. The discouragement one feels when told that the manifestation of their disease are not so, or not explicable, simply because it has not been accounted for in the professional literature is one discouragement I could many times have done without. Who knows best about the way a disease presents than the patient herself/himself! I often find descriptions of manifestations I have experienced and been told they are not part of my disease on your posts or posts of others who respond. Thanks for bringing this very important, but often silent, because we learn to live with it, RAD community together. Your work has been a blessing. I would love to join you at one of these events someday.

  • November 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Thank you for the work you do in making RA awareness front and center!! Mat God continue to bless and strengthen you in your mission! Hugs & prayers!!


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