Making Lemonade When You Want Latte | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Making Lemonade When You Want Latte

Does making lemonade make it all better?

Making Lemonade When You Want LatteWhen I first started my blog on Google’s Blogger website, the profile page required people to describe themselves with whatever question that popped up. The question I got was “What is your super power?” I answered “Making lemonade.”

It seemed like rheumatoid disease (RD) was like every other trouble that had come into my life. It was lemons, so I’d make lemonade. Make the best of anything painful by adding the sweetness of a joyful heart.

Through many painful circumstances, I’ve always reached down deep for something to sweeten them. Oftentimes to my detriment, I’ve held on too long trying to make more lemonade even when lemons piled up on every side, rotting. I always thought that my capacity to make lemonade was a measure of my success in life.

I was raised to “Be a Marine,” stay strong and look invincible. It was the same way with RD: if we are really strong, we can’t complain that it hurts like childbirth every day of our lives. We add the sweetness of encouraging others and then hide how hard it is. That makes it all lemonade and cupcakes, right?

I always thought that my capacity to make lemonade was a measure of my success in life. Click To TweetRecently, Dr. Personable said to me, “It’s not good to live in this much pain. For so long.” I thought about it. It’s true; too many lemons can seem like overwhelming bitterness. I cried later that day because the doctor also gave me bad news and it all came home at once – what if never wanted lemonade? I’ve been drowning in lemonade. What if I had wanted a latte all along?

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Making lemonade involves acceptance

I had a good cry that afternoon and then got back to making lemonade. But I’m still pondering about the latte. It’s that same old tension between acceptance and fighting to get our lives back. Making lemonade is part of acceptance. The latte represents fighting for something else we really want.

One huge lemon for us is the legal case that has continued in large part because I cannot afford to pay the attorney. I owe about $5700 at this point, and nothing goes forward until it is paid.

There’s a time for making lemonade and a time for sipping latte

Maybe sometimes we get so busy making lemonade and trying to be strong, we don’t see how terrible a situation has gotten. I think that’s why the doctor’s comments shook me. I’m not sure what else can be done about my RD, but I’m more on the latte side right now than I’ve been before.

If I had watched this Carrie Underwood Blown Away music video below years ago, it might have shaken me in the same way. Seeing these glimpses of our world depicted on the screen might have forced me to stop accommodating the unacceptable. It was not time for lemonade.

Making lemonade is still an admirable pursuit. It is my super power after all. But lemonade shouldn’t be the only thing on the menu. What do you want that RD is hindering? What is your latte?

We might not be able to have everything that we want. I haven’t had a “pain free day” in over eleven years, for example. But there are still good things I can fight for – things that aren’t lemon-flavored. What are some of yours?



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Kelly O'Neill

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked about 12 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 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 fourteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/

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7 thoughts on “Making Lemonade When You Want Latte

  • February 24, 2017 at 5:21 am

    Wow! I just knew these tips. Because When i want latte, i just made the original one.

  • February 24, 2017 at 6:37 am

    I’m sorry you are in so much pain. It’s hard making lemonade all the time, we have to allow ourselves a good cry every once in awhile to copw with the situation so we can move on.

    My teenager told me once when I was down and on the verge of tears, that I was a Marine and one of the toughest people he knew. He told me he couldn’t believe how much I did for our family through the pain he knows I have. Well that started the tears but for a different reason. Since then I made it my goal to Be the Marine that he thinks I am. I still put on a brave face but I also let my family know when I’m hurting too much and my boys respond with excellent cuddling skilla ?

  • February 24, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I think you are the strongest person I have ever met. Your obstacles are huge not only with severe RD but in your personal life too. You give so much to all of us – it’s unfathomable – it truly is. I do so hope your Dr can find a medicine to ease your pain and halt this horrible disease. When I read your experience I feel ashamed of my own RA related lemons.

    • February 24, 2017 at 9:39 am

      hi Catherine,
      that is certainly not my intent. you should be proud of all you can do with this evil disease hanging on. even smiling through pain is doing something at times we can’t do a lot more.

  • February 24, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Bulls eye! I believe this is the most accurate description of dealing with RD I’ve ever heard. Trying to be strong and determined to make that lemonade out of the lemons that are this disease and not really liking lemonade or wanting it. You sure can’t give it away! I wonder if others are curious why I keep making all this lemonade? Probably not!

  • February 24, 2017 at 11:58 am

    You put into words how I have felt for the last 10 years. Some days I just don’t want to drink the lemonade. ❤


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