Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease May Be the Scarlet RA | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease May Be the Scarlet RA

Women in the shadows

The Infamy of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

I’ve answered several questions lately about Rheumatoid Arthritis and secrecy. Is there something embarrassing about RA? Can we just talk about it with anybody?

Lucille Ball was one of the most famous people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, when she died, I did not hear about her RA battle. It was not until I did some RA research that I realized Lucille Ball had Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Why was that? I was a huge Lucy fan; she was a funny girl’s idol. She made it cool for a woman to be goofy instead of just glamorous.

Lucille Ball scrupulously hid her Rheumatoid Arthritis from her adoring fans as well as from others in her industry. I’ve read that she did not tell people that she was in pain or why she required rest. When you read about how, as a celebrity, Lucy hid RA, it seems like she felt some kind of humiliation about the disease.

Lucy’s not the only one. There’s Kathleen Turner, who was willing to let people think she was an addict instead of let on that she had Rheumatoid Arthritis. It reminds me of a post by Sara a while back in which she called RA the Loser Disease.

As I discussed with IrishBookFairy recently, most RA’ers do become private about their Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms. Before I started a Rheumatoid Arthritis blog, I had to practically pry information from a couple of people with RA who were corresponding with me. I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while.

Early in the last century, people hid cancer. But that was due to the likelihood of impending death. Fortunately, both of those are much reduced today.

I’ve read that people with psoriasis or shingles often hide their illness due to embarrassing symptoms. Are RA’ers doing the same thing? What humiliation is there in having an illness that you cannot have caused?

Does Rheumatoid Arthritis disability make us feel humiliated? Is it caused by the reactions of others to our pain? Or potent Rheumatoid Arthritis medicines? What do people with Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms have to be embarrassed about? Is it the Scarlet Letter A of diseases? What for?

Recommended reading:

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:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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82 thoughts on “Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease May Be the Scarlet RA

  • August 14, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    I’m exhausted even talking to my doctors about it. I recently was in pain in multiple joints and my dr did a Vectra blood test and it came back high disease activity. The sad part is I was glad because most days I don’t feel like anyone believes me. I have never had much swelling or high ESR or CRP levels. During a recent prep for a procedure I was having, I heard a nurse say “she’ll be easy she only has joint pain”. We have to educate healthcare workers too! I was diagnosed 5 years ago and it has changed my life so much. For me it has been the fatigue. It’s relentless! How many times have you heard…you look good, you must be feeling better? Most days, I just don’t have the energy and respond that everything is great.

    • August 15, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      You are so right, Leslie. I’ve heard these comments from docs and nurses too. I wish that nurse would read my upcoming book on rheumatoid disease.


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