Being Blessed While Having Rheumatoid Arthritis | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Being Blessed While Having Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fun at NASA

Twitter, RA, and Coincidental Blessings

Having Rheumatoid Arthritis can lead to depression. We’ve talked about RA and depression before. However, most people with Rheumatoid Arthritis work so hard to stay optimistic that they tend to be quite cheerful. Every day, I am encouraged by the bright and hopeful RA’ers I met.

Sometimes, I don’t even know they are RA’ers – at least at first…

A few months ago, I saw a very encouraging tweet on Twitter and looked at the string of authors (re-tweeters). I clicked on the links to the Tweeters pages to see whether I might follow one of them. I chose to follow one woman. The lady’s profile page said she was a homeschooler and a writer. Looking over her encouraging tweets, I guessed she might be a Christian.

Next thing I knew, the woman was commenting on the RA Warrior blog and messaging me about Rheumatoid Arthritis. She’d been diagnosed with RA for 12 years. She assumed I’d heard about her having Rheumatoid Arthritis and followed her for that reason. I had to tell her: I had NO idea you had RA. I just thought you looked like a sweet person to follow.

Last month, I was tweeting about the Ares rocket launch that was the first step in the experimental system which will lead to the replacement for the Space Shuttle. I live near the Kennedy Space Center and I love all things space. Another space tweeter recommended me as a space tweeter to a third woman who’s an astrophysicist.

I barely had time to notice and enjoy following them back, when I noticed a strange coincidence: a wonderful new comment on the blog with the same name as the lady scientist. You guessed it. She has Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Having Rheumatoid Arthritis and knowing God cares

There are times in life when we wonder whether we are on the right track. Other times, it’s more obvious that God is leading us. Writing this blog about Rheumatoid Arthritis can seem like a daunting task at times. It helps immeasurably to see the relationships and connections that follow – often without human orchestration.

Social media has helped me to connect in some extraordinary ways with readers of this blog. There’s a fellow RA’er who recently donated toward the expenses of this website. There’s the fantastic surprise I had the other morning when I woke up and found I’d been nominated for Most Educational Person to Follow. And just yesterday, I got a package in the mail from an RA’er who sent me some special socks to wear to my first Orencia infusion.

If you are not already following me on Twitter, you can click on the blue birdie button at the top of the page. We have an amazingly supportive and informative Facebook group. If you aren’t a FB Fan yet, there’s a button on the sidebar.  I hope you can feel as blessed as I do by connecting with others having Rheumatoid Arthritis. 🙂

Recommended reading:

Updated 3/30/10.

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/

22 thoughts on “Being Blessed While Having Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • November 13, 2009 at 7:35 am
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    I am so glad I decided to use twitter and stumbled upon you! have a wonderful day and enjoy your new socks! they are my addiction ok one of many

    e

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  • November 13, 2009 at 7:52 am
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    I hope this doesn’t post twice, if so sorry. Wrote long comment that disappeared. Maybe I wasn’t suppose to say those things. (I’ll save it for my personal blog)

    Kelly, I’m sure your treatment will be over when you have time for blogging and twittering. Wishing you the very best results.

    MissDazey

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  • November 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm
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    http://sadiesjourneywithjra.blogspot.com/ – I am linking my site, but also the site we keep for our 12 year old daughter who has been living with JRA for the majority of her life. I also have RA, but don’t write about it, in the face of what my dd faces, my battle seems nothing! I have not ever looked for sites regarding RA, but in the last several weeks I have been looking and came across this site yesterday. Thank you -your writing is amazing and your articles speak so well to many struggles that RAers face! I love that you are talking about how RAers look to be optomistic, what choice do we have?? We have to hold onto hope!! Honestly, life is a gift, it is wonderful and we can’t let RA win!

    Thank you!!

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  • November 13, 2009 at 12:40 pm
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    http://sadiesjourneywithjra.blogspot.com/ – the above link is our family site and this link here is my 12yr old daugthers site that I keep in regards to her JRA which she had had since she was very young. I just found your site and I love it and appreicate it very much. So much great support and encouraging articles. Thank you!!!

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  • November 13, 2009 at 6:33 pm
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    Hey, friend! You’re a sweet one to follow too 😉 I appreciate what you’re doing with this blog. Keep it up! If you ever have doubts, check out the smiling faces of your followers. We’re smiling because you bring us hope right here. Thank you!

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  • November 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm
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    I have to agree with you Kelly, it is healthier to be as positive as we can. My RA has made life hard, sometimes even debilitating, but has also created a spirit within me that I never knew existed. I know this will sound a bit bizarre, but what I’ve learned because of it, I would never want to lose. If ever the genius who could remove all signs of my RA, I would still ask don’t take away what rheumatoid arthritis has done to my soul”. RA in many ways has shown me I am a kind person, a person that can understand and listen to others who share this journey of RA, it has made me patient and I revel in the days when my pain is low. I wouldn’t want to give away the perception it has taught me. It’s invaluable and essential to who I am and who I hope to be, along with my enduring husband who has been there for me every step of the way. Don’t get me wrong, I do mourn the healthy person I once was, but I swear to all that is beyond our thinking, even with a disease like RA, we can learn a lot about ourselves and others. I still get irritated and think “why me” every now and then. That is inevitable. When I am down, I get really dark. But now, when I find myself in those moments of despair, I talk myself out of it and take on the monsters of RA. I know it is okay to allow yourself to be unhappy occasionally.
    Thanks for letting me sound off ….. Blessings, Ves

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  • November 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm
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    Counting my blessings is what makes living with RA so much “better” than the doctors predicted. To heck with them and their doomsday warnings- the wave of positivity we are riding and finding so many others who live this way (both with RA and living a positive life) has been a true blessing for me. <3<3<3

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  • November 15, 2009 at 12:56 am
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    I am so much more positive now that I know I am not alone. Being alone and feeling like you are the only one experiencing these strange and torturous symptoms can be very frightening! Thanks for helping me smile again and be my optimistic and happy self!

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  • November 16, 2009 at 9:31 am
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    You have a wonderful spirit. Good luck with the Orencia!

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  • November 16, 2009 at 10:24 am
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    When the Enbrel stopped working for me, I switched to Orencia. I am doing much better now, but still live with mild pain everyday. That is something I can not control. When I wake up every day, I can choose to be happy or to be mad at the world. That is something I can control.
    A dj on a local radio station where I grew up, use to sign off every day by saying “Smile … it makes people wonder what you’ve been up to”.

    I love the Kennedy Space Center! I have been there twice, an amazing place. I was there in 88 for the first shuttle launch after the Challenger disaster. The launch was delayed and we had to fly back home the day before it launched.

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    • November 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm
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      Terry, it was cool to come home and read that. Right now, we are anxiously awaiting a launch – STS 129. We just raced back from Orlando to watch the launch. After today, there are only 5 launches left. We never miss, but we had to run over for the dentist. I won’t do that again. You won’t be able to get me to risk missing one of the last 5. Gotta go get my camera ready. 😉

      Reply
  • March 31, 2010 at 9:54 am
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    I once found an article by another RA blogger which asked “What has RA given to you?”, which prompted me to sit down and give some serious thought to the things that having RA has given me, rather than worrying about the things that it has taken. The three things that came most to mind are greater compassion & understanding for others. I became involved in a support group for RA & AI diseases as a member which due to, what I believe now were fated circumstances’, I now own and co run. I feel through this group that I am able to ‘give back’ & help others to learn to live with RA.
    This brings me to the second ‘gift’ that Ra has given me, my amazing RA’er friends. I’ve met so many amazing people both through our group and recently a new friend from the RA warrior FB group. Its wonderful to have so many special friends who truly understand life with RA, no matter how supportive your family & friends, no one can really fully understand how it feels but us.
    Thing three is time. I had to retire from my little part time, and much loved job as a dinner lady last June, and while I felt at the time that RA had stolen something precious, it had, but it had also given me the gift of time to do other things that I never had the time or energy for when I was working. Time to take each day as it comes and go with the flow, whether that be a day where I feel able to accomplish a fair bit, daily jobs round the house, coffee with a friend or loved one etc, or a day where I manage nothing more than chilling on the sofa with a bunch of movies and my laptop.
    I’m grateful for each day, the good and the not so good & I’m grateful to that blogger for making me realise that chronic disease doesn’t just take from us, it gives back too.

    Gilly

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  • March 31, 2010 at 6:31 pm
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    Us RA’ers CAN do anything!!!!

    Reply
  • Pingback: Most Tweeted Articles by arthritis Experts: MrTweet

  • April 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm
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    i am blessed with ra!!! I had to move in with my mom and i am so much closer to my parents and i am able to help them more than i ever could!!! I have time now to be involved more in my kids life!!

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  • September 15, 2010 at 7:22 am
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    Wow- Bless you and this site-
    I’m 37; could not tolerate Plaquenil and in about 72 hours, I will begining MTX. My rheum. is a research physician- and I am a biochemist: together we have decided ( though I would to God there were a different solution) that I need MTX. I will also take folate- 1 gram (weekly, I believe). I’m frightened, as I understand the intricacies of this med: but I also refuse to lie down and give up and die due to a rapid, insidious onset of RA (with RSD from two spinal fusions, and blood work numbers that point at Lupus, as well).
    I feel blessed that I can learn from this (gifted) author, and this site. I will hold you all in my heart and prayers- and humbly ask that you do the same-
    Thank you for this site- your leadership, kindness and information. I will add anything I can. May the higher spirits bless us all, and hold us up, somehow.
    Peace,
    Nicole

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    • September 15, 2010 at 1:45 pm
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      Thank you Nicole. I agree with your decision to fight, “I also refuse to lie down and give up and die due to a rapid, insidious onset of RA…” I hope it helps you a lot and the side effects are minimal.

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  • September 15, 2010 at 7:32 am
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    PS- I am a “cleric”, (I think that’s as close a word to my world as is possible).

    I was raised in a secular household, by a family of Amglican heritage- the focus was on doing/being “good”, and not on religion.
    As an adult, I found I needed more and became ordained. I believe in accepting all faiths- and in the Chicago suburbs (and all of Illinois), I am able to marry, baptize, bury, anyone of any faith. More importantly, I look to all books of love- to all people- as the marriage of science and mystic faith creates something wonderful.
    I bring this up, because, as I ask for “your” help, I offer mine- in whatever manner I can give it. If I am needed for any matter regarding ANY faith, please do contact me. Life is short, but joy is eternal.
    Peace,
    Nicole

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  • March 18, 2011 at 9:15 am
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    This blog is a lifesaver to me. I come on here every morning, as I can, to avoid isolation. I AM BLESSED! I have prayed not to be bitter, not to feel sorry for myself. Thoughts are usually followed by actions and if my thoughts are negative then soon my words and actions will also be negative. Sometimes chronically ill people are isolated because they have become angry and critical toward others.
    but if our thoughts are “other” centered, we are able to maintain our humanity and not dwell within our pain.

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    • March 18, 2011 at 9:52 am
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      It is challenging Nancy, but you have stated it well. Thanks.

      Reply
  • April 13, 2012 at 10:17 am
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    Hi Kelly,
    I have been following you for several months now on your blog and am so wonderfully blessed to have found your incredibly informative site, RA Warrior ! Thank you for your honesty, helpfulness and sensitivity to this very misunderstood disease. I too have RA and don’t really think of myself as “cheerful” as such; maybe just very aware in my own sense that God has allowed me to struggle with this disease but has given me a total peace and ability to live with both the struggles as well as the wonderful blessings. I have suffered with many aspects of RA, but also know God is in full control of all of it. I am thankful He has given me relief from much of the pain, etc. for now and Trust Him fully with what He has for me in the future. Thank you once again for your blog – it has taught me and helped me beyond words. God’s richest Blessings to you and your family. Chris

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  • December 8, 2016 at 5:23 pm
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    Kelly – may I ask you about your Orencia experience. I appreciate this post is older but I would very much appreciate your input. Thanks.

    Reply

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