Reaching Beyond Limitations: Nike versus Yoda | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Reaching Beyond Limitations: Nike versus Yoda

“Not running sucks” & “Don’t just RUN your mouth”

NIKE-shirt-Not-running-sucksI stopped short when I saw this Nike t-shirt display in a mall recently. I had to get a picture of these t-shirts and ask the salesman, “Do you sell a lot of these? Do people like them?” He said they do. I just smiled and thanked him for holding up a shirt.

Not being able to run does “suck” (a gross word I never use in real life btw). I used to run for an hour on the beach, and there is nothing like it. I miss it like I miss gardening and a million other things. (Like turning my neck to be able to back my truck out of a parking space.)

Of course the “Not running sucks” t-shirt wasn’t aimed sympathetically toward those who can’t run. It means: “Get off your butt and run.” And maybe “If you don’t, YOU suck,” since the companion shirt says, “Don’t just RUN your mouth.”

Nike is pushing pretty hard. What’s next? “Go running or go to hell?

NIKE-shirt-Man-up-or-shut-upAnother Nike t-shirt reads “Man up or shut up.” They’ve come a long way from “JUST DO IT.” I was never a huge fan of “Just Do It” anyway. It’s sort of a rip-off of Yoda’s unforgettable words: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

As much as I respect the Jedi master, that makes me uncomfortable too. A painful change in living with rheumatoid disease (RD) is that I’m often forced to answer with “I’ll try,” instead of just “Sure.” And, as pitiful as it sounds to admit, with RD, I’ve often tried my heart out – and failed. (Yes, even to run).

“Not running sucks” – yes, but so does ignorance

Yes, not running sucks. Constant pain sucks. Taking medications sucks. A calendar full of doctor’s appointments sucks.

There, I said it: sucks, sucks, sucks. Now what?

More than this crude matter we are, Nike

I don’t think Yoda (or George Lucas) meant any harm. Nike’s ad execs probably mean well too. But the culture can always use a reminder, and Yoda himself said: “Luminous beings are we; not this crude matter.” Regardless of what our physical bodies are able to accomplish (or not), we are certainly much more than that. Limitations in our physical bodies (none of us can grow wings to fly) can compel us to reach beyond ourselves, transcend our physical limitations, and grow spiritually.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

How have you adjusted to “try” instead of “just do” sometimes? What senseless slogan bugs you? How have you transcended your physical limitations?

PERSONAL NOTE

Recently certain personal matters have required my full attention, some of which have involved my health and that of family members. Many thanks to those who have expressed concern. I am sorry if my absence caused anyone to worry. It was unexpected and unavoidable. During recent struggles, I’ve been aware of God’s love for me and for each of us who perseveres in pain or adversity.
The mission of rawarrior.com, providing information and encouragement to fight rheumatoid disease, remains a priority to me. Although we have made great strides, there are still huge steps right around the corner. I have just completed some critical repairs to the website and look forward to being online more often as I am able. However I may not be able to respond to every comment or email. Thank you for understanding.

Related Stories

Very early in my RD journey, I lost a friend to the just do it approach. “Like I said, this was early in my living with RA process. So I did not think about how my friends would react to the Rheumatoid Arthritis. I assumed that they would accept me as they always had, and perhaps even sympathize…” Continue reading… The Use It or Lose It Approach to Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

I’ve tried to quit living with a chronic illness – who wants to spend her life fighting? “My odd list of things that keep me going: God, patients, mean people, and children.” Continue reading… Perseverance in Fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis

Recommended reading

Kelly O'Neill Young

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked over 10 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over thirteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

61 thoughts on “Reaching Beyond Limitations: Nike versus Yoda

  • October 13, 2014 at 6:51 am
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    Glad to have you back posting, Kelly, you have been missed. Best wishes.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 7:02 am
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    I am sorry to hear things are hard for you right now but grateful you shared this post because I had nearly given up fighting RA. We are surrounded by Yoda type expectations all the time. But being able to try has to be enough now and be something to be proud of. I just hope I can keep believing that no matter what. It hurts so much and there is so much living left to do. Thank you

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  • October 13, 2014 at 7:18 am
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    Hello Kelly
    I hope you are doing better.
    I am now a 60 year old male.
    The pain gets worse everyday.
    The new pain med law sucks.
    Don’t these people understand?
    Please take care
    Bob

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  • October 13, 2014 at 7:30 am
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    Glad to see RA Warrior is back. Hope all is well for you and your family.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 7:34 am
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    I was worried but I figure you would crawl back out and fight again like the warrior you are.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 7:57 am
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    Hey Kelly, good to see you back and on my birthday non-the-less! Happy Birthday to me! What ever the reason for your absence, I am glad the site is up and running again 🙂 Welcome back!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 7:58 am
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    I have missed reading your email (blog). I have been concerned about you and glad to have you back. I totally agree with what you wrote. I was never a runner but I was a walker-at least 2 miles everyday. I’m lucky if I can walk around a store to buy groceries. I have to fight my bitterness against God for not being able to walk especially on the crisp, cool fall mornings-my favorite time of the year. I know He has a purpose in this so I just sit on my back porch swing and read His word and praise His name for His love for me.
    You are such a great blessing in my life. Thank you for all the hard work you put into your blog and in getting us the information to help make our life better.
    God bless you and your family.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 8:29 am
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    God bless you

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  • October 13, 2014 at 8:30 am
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    Welcome back!
    What is interesting about the “Just Do It” campaign that has stretched far longer than it should have – it’s really not a smart slogan for any serious athlete. Being tough or continuing when you are not able can lead to devastating injury and end of career. As a competitive athlete (pre-RD), knew my body and what it needed. Somehow I lost that ability when I was diagnosed.

    Personally, I’m so over the push theory. I pushed through a corporate career and now with hubby and caregiving for a parent. They don’t understand the impact this disease has. So – now – the laundry stacks up, there’s a little more dust and we might be out of milk, but that’s ok. I’m learning to listen to my body more and ignore the comments, stares and opinions of others. It’s not easy, but I’m “trying”.

    Maybe we need a new slogan – “Don’t judge. Empathize!” Again – welcome back. You have been missed, but you’ve also been in our prayers!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 8:33 am
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    I have started writing also. I run The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver. Although lately I have focused alot of time talking about Alzheimer’s because I watch my mom slip further and further away. I am with her 24/7 now I still talk sometimes about how it to deal with my own diagnosis of Feltys syndrome. These are issues I deal with every single day. So I decided to write about it. It has changed my life in the best possible way!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 9:15 am
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    Welcome back Kelly! You have been in my thoughts, and today I am thankful, like many, to have you posting once again. You were missed, but if anyone can understand the need for time off it is those of us out here finding your support and care so very valuable. We are here for you too!!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 9:26 am
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    Hi Kelly (and all) – I sure have missed all of the support and encouragement that you and your blog provide. Bumping around through the “older posts” has been helpful over the last months but it kind of seemed like I was walking around in an empty house. I am so glad you are back “home” and feeling up for “having company” again! 🙂

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  • October 13, 2014 at 9:27 am
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    You just made my day! Kelly, you are so loved and so appreciated. I too have been praying for you n’ yours and will continue to do so.
    God’s Best Blessings, Kelly ~ our #1 Warrior

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  • October 13, 2014 at 9:42 am
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    Welcome back, Kelly! You have been sorely missed! I wondered why there was no info coming from you but now we know – ahhhhh…….we should have known something was not right in your world as you are always so diligent about posting. Praying for you and your family and hoping that your world has now become right side up again. Take it easy – we know you will do what you can, WHEN you can. xoxo

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  • October 13, 2014 at 9:46 am
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    Welcome back Kelly!!!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 9:52 am
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    What a great birthday gift to me , too, to see you back on the trail again!!! Whoopeee!!!! Little by little, step by step, Kelly, is the RA process at times, and you are the epitome of the Warrror name to lead us through the process! As a team, we’ve always been ready to help each other, and please know that we would never hesitate to help our Team Leader–you!
    Onward….together!!! (:

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  • October 13, 2014 at 9:52 am
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    Kelly I’m so glad you’re back. I’d been wondering why you were absent and feared the worse. I hope you are doing well and I pray for God to give you the continuing ability to write your blog and do all the things that He’s given for you to do in your heart.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 10:03 am
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    Welcome back my long lost friend! May you have an abundance of spoons. Your voice was missed! Remember even though you have supported a community for years, YOU have the support of an entire community! Much love and gentle hugs. Deb

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  • October 13, 2014 at 10:05 am
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    im so happy to see you back, I have missed you..

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  • October 13, 2014 at 10:32 am
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    I’m so glad you’re okay! Thanks for posting..

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  • October 13, 2014 at 11:19 am
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    So happy to see you back.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 11:34 am
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    It sucked not having you anywhere. Glad you are back, and I am wishing you well always.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 11:37 am
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    Gentle hugs! I’ve missed you. I have so many activities that I get started doing with the best intentions. Then the RA beast chuckles and reminds me that it’s still here and not amused by my attempts. I have to pace my activity, which is frustrating. Since I have Palindromic Rheumatism, the “when” us unpredictable. I’ve learned to accept that my body will enforce rest at random. It’s taken a few years and much anxiety to accept my body’s needs and how they differ from my desires, but have found peace in the acceptance.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm
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    It is soooogood to see a post from you. I was afraid that you were having some health issues. A large part of me was hoping that you had a major remission and were catching up on all the things that RD has kept you from doing. Sorry this wasn’t happening but, happy to read your post. It is sad to see T shirts like that, people assuming that because you don’t do some thing means you won’t do it not that you can’t do it.

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    • October 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm
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      My own sister has the attitude that if people (me, I guess) would just get out and try harder, the symptoms and pain would just go away. It’s like a pride thing, I suppose. It’s very hard to understand. If I could wish this disease away, I certainly would!! I hope that she, and others with that attitude, don’t ever develop a disease such as this (even though deep down I wish she’d experience a small dose of it for compassion sake!).
      Welcome back, Kelly. I’ve been so worried about you.

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      • October 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm
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        Jenny, I get the same thing from my brother. If only you would lose 25lbs you would feel much better. (yes,I gained weight when I slowed down with RD). When I finally did lose 25lbs and my RA kept getting worse he had no sage advice. He finally stopped giving me how to get healthy tips when a good friend of his told him all about her RD. I know what you mean about not really wishing this disease on anyone but, I do wish a few people could have it for about 48 hours and once a year so they wouldn’t forget. Then maybe we would get some peace and maybe, understanding.

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        • October 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm
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          Oh all the ill-informed advice we get from people who know NOTHING about our situation! Yes, how wonderful if we could walk, hike, run, and exercise more! But our lack of doing that is NOT the cause of our illness! Most of us did much more of this stuff before we were struck with this disease!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 1:25 pm
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    ” Compassion – Use it , or lose it!”

    Love it. Welcome back, you’ve been missed.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 1:35 pm
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    So glad you are back! What a wonderful encourager you are to me and so many others!
    Some days I think I am doing well as I attempt to transcend this wretched RD. I am able to get pain under control and have energy to get some things actually accomplished. Those are the good days!
    Other days are wracked with pain, no energy, debilitating fatigue, etc. Those are the bad days and that’s when it’s SO hard to keep going forward. God is so generous with His grace and mercy but the hard days are just so dreadful!
    That’s what makes it so hard to deal with people! Because our disease is somewhat invisible, they just can’t see what the big deal is! “What do you mean you have pain EVERYWHERE?” “That’s not possible!” “You look okay, I don’t understand.” “You slept all night, what do you mean you need to rest?” And on and on…
    Darn RD! That’s all I can say, darn RD!
    Thank you so much Kelly! I have missed your posts!

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    • October 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm
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      what a great website Connie. I had all 5 of mine w/ midwives, at home. such a huge blessing. what a ministry you have.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm
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    Kelly, so great to see you back! And my fellow RA warriors, I missed you too!

    I have just returned from a trip to Europe with extended family, and a month ago, went to a reunion of my oldest and dearest friends. In both cases, I let everyone know ahead of time that I would try!, but might have to cancel at the last minute, since I have had an endless series of infections, fractured bones, medication side effects, new complications. I was able to go, and had a wonderful time in each case, having adjusted my expectations about how much I could do, planned the details so that I could have the down-time needed to get through. (I am paying now, as expected; but so worth it!)
    Transcending limitations included changing my expectations about how many fun activities I needed to do, and instead focusing on the joy of sharing time with friends and family, much of it sitting talking or having delicious dinners. As I get older, I realize more and more that is what counts (the sharing not the food, ha – well, maybe the food too!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 2:06 pm
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    So happy and relieved to receive your blog post, Kelly! When I woke up this morning with fiery pain radiating up and down my cervical spine, hips and knees, I lamented the fact that with RD, you’re not rewarded with too many “feeling great” days. So reading your post lifted my spirits immensely and provided a gentle reminder to take it easy and just rest in the moment. You have been sorely missed–welcome back!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 2:22 pm
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    So glad to see u back Kelly! I thought I fell off your list and when I checked it out saw there were no new entries. Even checked out twitter, but I don’t get it so I stopped. Hope everything stays stable for u!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm
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    Glad to see your post, Kelly. I, too, wondered about your absence, and I am sad to see that it was health related. Please remember that there are many of us who are on your side, no matter what happens. Best wishes to you and yours!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 2:30 pm
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    Hello Kelly! Soooo glad to see you back! So sorry about all your health and family issues. I pray that you continue to find the strength to persevere and you and your family enjoy more healthy days.
    I think everyone is glad you’re back!!!

    This is only my second post but have find your site extremely helpful with early symptoms of RD and reading about all the various presentations in the onset stories. It has been very very helpful. It kept me from thinking I was losing my mind and to know I needed to keep pushing until I found the right Rheumatologist! Thank you for all your hard work and research! I just received the daunting diagnosis of RD last week and now seeking answers to all my other questions. I’m still processing, though I suspected the DX for some time.

    I agree with Donna’s comments that anyone can push too hard and to the point of injury. It’s the wrong message to send. Before my official DX, I have a friend who keeps trying to get me to go out dancing with her and friends. She just can’t seem to take no I can’t do it for an answer. I would get the “you could try, you’ll feel better once you’re there” but I kept telling her I can hardly walk while at work and you think I can come from work and dance??? I knew my limitations. I didn’t even try. Yes Kelly, ignorance abounds!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 4:04 pm
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    So glad that you are back Kelly – you are my and many others source of inspiration 🙂

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  • October 13, 2014 at 4:25 pm
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    Welcome back, Kelly. It was a pleasure to see your latest post in my email this morning. Your site rally helped me start to get a handle on my RA dx this March. It came on suddenly and out-of-the-blue. No “suspected it for years” or “it runs in my family”. Just, wham! Pericarditis, tendonitis, swollen painful joints, then positive tests for RF and anti-CCP. I went from performing, kayaking and backpacking to being unable to stand or walk in the space of three months. I kept trying to Just Do It because I could simply not believe that my body would betray me this way. Even after MTX and prednisone (tapered off of it, thankfully) helped tremendously, I would still push to be my pre-RA self, only to bring on a flare and set back. My husband kept warning me: “Barb, are you sure you should be doing that?” But I resented what I considered to be babying me.

    It is taking a while for me to figure out my post-RA self. I CAN still walk, and my daily walks help my knee and hips joints, but on flat ground only with no weight on my back or shoulders. I CAN still perform – sitting down with my nylon string guitar instead of standing with my heavier steel-string guitar slung over my shoulder. And I am hoping that by next summer we will have figured out why my left shoulder hasn’t responded as well to the MTX as my other joints have. Because I want to get back into my kayak – cruising a nice smooth lake, looking for birds and ducks instead of rushing down a white-water river. Life CAN still be good. I will keep trying to Just Do It, but in a gentler, kinder fashion, as long as I am able.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 4:37 pm
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    I was so happy to see your post in my inbox, have missed you much!
    Like so many of us, I have the same story, pushing hard, gettin’ ‘er done, just because I’d been raised to do just that. “Needs must.” And then this, becoming disabled four years after onset, not being able to work a full day without loads of pain meds, not being able to clean my own home or cook meals, not even being able to shower every day or wash my hair.
    I guess each of us has to decide what all these slogans mean to us — for me it’s become how do I make my life meaningful and full despite my limitations?
    Again, so very nice to see you blogging again! Hugs,

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  • October 13, 2014 at 7:27 pm
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    Glad to see you are back. This is the best blog and you are so smart and we are blessed to have you. Glad you are on the mend.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 7:54 pm
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    Welcome back, Kelly, I missed you and am so glad you’re back. I hope you and your family are doing better.

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    • October 13, 2014 at 8:19 pm
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      thank you Alison. that means a lot. Some things for my son are better sorted now, but the RD has been as incapacitating as ever- or more.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 7:56 pm
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    Yes, very pleased to see your news in my emails. There is definitely no site out there like you and i hope you are taking good care of just you while you brighten our days with the connection.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 9:18 pm
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    Hi Kelly,
    It’s so good to see you back, and knowing that it’s been a difficult time it makes it even more precious. I found your site maybe a year or more ago with the space and invitation you created for onset stories. Although I have chronic fatigue rather than RA I appreciated the candor, the journeys that we all share. Thank you for all that you do – the RF that you founded, your activism, your voice. I hope that you have great support and that your family is doing okay and continuing with all the love I’ve heard you talk about.
    xoxo

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  • October 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm
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    Kelly! There you are! Glad you made it back to us! Your web site was my saving grace upon diagnosis!

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  • October 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm
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    Welcome back. Gentle hugs to let you know that you have a huge community of friends who care about you.

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  • October 13, 2014 at 11:18 pm
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    Kelly, I know the good Lord is with you and the family. I have had some struggles of my own after falling almost a year ago now. I really messed myself up. Still struggling with issues from the fall, both physical and mental. Sorry to say I havent really kept track with all in my circle of RA friends, but I have prayed for all of us everyday. Take care of yourself. Gentle hugs.

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  • October 14, 2014 at 12:05 am
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    Kelly, it’s wonderful to see you back. I have deeply missed the insight, wisdom, and information in every new post and comments section. Here’s hoping for smoother roads ahead. As awful as it is for us to be unwell, a child’s illness/injury/distress is far worse. I hope things are straightening out for you and yours.

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  • October 14, 2014 at 1:02 am
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    Well it’s clear to see that everyone has missed you Kelly, glad to have yo back , it’s so hard sometimes when tring to keep up with you friends and others because of our illness, but positive thinking keeps us going , the constant trips to the doctors and then to pathology the list goes on , but chin up and just do the best you can and live your life to the fullest.

    Dave

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  • October 14, 2014 at 8:26 am
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    I’m glad your back to posting and sharing your life and frustration, it helps all of us to realize someone understands and cares even though most people just look at you funny when you say your health problems are due to RA, they automatically think of Osteoarthritis or Arthritis and figure you just have simple aches and pains, I always take that moment to educate them in the difference of the illnesses. Hang in there Kelly we need someone like you who has so much useful information right at our fingertips. You have done so much and still have your fighting spirit. Thank you.

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  • October 14, 2014 at 11:54 am
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    As to the post: I think you’re right, Kelly, that the subtext is that non-runners suck. Even without the context of chronic illness this level of self-righteousness offends me. Do people who bike or play tennis suck? How about people who play bridge or chamber music?

    Exercise is good, yes, but so are many other pastimes. Even before I blew a knee, running was never my thing. Glad to know that, in Nike’s opinion, I suck.

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  • October 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm
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    You have been sorely missed (pun intended). I’m sorry that we’ve been unable to help you when you’ve needed the most support. We love you and appreciate you taking the time to check in. Wishing you hugs, spoons, love and laughter.

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  • October 14, 2014 at 5:21 pm
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    It’s great to see you back, Kelly! What a great post, too. I can’t run but, thank goodness, I can and do walk every day. It helps me so much. This is the first year since my diagnosis (2010) that I’m able to walk regularly. And for any distance. It feels like a precious gift.

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  • October 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm
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    Welcome back Kelly. You and your family have been, and will continue to be, in my prayers. You have been such a comfort to me and others, I hope we can be a comfort for you too. Gentle hugs.

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    • October 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm
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      Thank you so much. It has been the hardest time of my life – I’m sure your prayers helped.

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  • October 15, 2014 at 9:31 pm
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    My faith teaches that there is power in the spoken word, and actually phrases used by Christians in the English language such as “God bless you” directly trace back to Anglo-Saxon pre-Christian belief that we can send blessings unto one another with our words. As you say that God keeps you going, so does my faith. And so I send my wish of blessings of good health to you and yours. May you mend well and quickly <3

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  • October 16, 2014 at 11:36 am
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    You are right Carolyn. I worked 12-14 hour shifts in a very busy Intensive care Unit, chased after 4 children, and hiked almost daily. So, according to the “if you would just exercise” people, I should be the most non RD person on the planet. RD has kicked my butt and, like you, it makes me very angry. No one would tell a Lupus or Cancer patient, ” if you would just do….. you would be better”. RD definitely needs more PR.

    Reply

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