Use Your Words to Speak Life | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Use Your Words to Speak Life

Happy Birthday Katie Beth!

KB strawberry birthday cake

This week I was AWOL from the blog again – it was KB’s big 21. You already knew that (and some other big news) if you read the RAW newsletter The Spearclick here to sign up if you didn’t get one. And make sure to check your spam if you have signed up – the account tells me a bunch are in there.
The birthday was a hugely happy celebration. And this is KB’s senior year studying chemistry (and a lot of biology) on her way to pharmacy school. She’s interested in researching new medicines. Did I say interested? More like fascinated.

Maybe seeing the lack of adequate medications for Rheumatoid Disease motivated her decision. But we also remember a conversation with a friend who told us he might have chosen to develop the next great shampoo, except that using knowledge of chemistry to develop medicine gave his life more purpose. And maybe her decision was partly based on a mother’s encouragement, “Study science if you can. Don’t worry if it’s hard. People who can serve in medicine, like pharmacists, are always needed.”

Speak life – To the deadest darkest night

No one would doubt the powerful role encouragement plays. Everyone loves the commercials about encouragement from Our words have power to inspire, to heal, to clear away clouds. Enjoy a few lines from a favorite song by TobyMac (video below). When I got my new phone a year ago, I made it into my ringtone right away – I wanted to be reminded to Speak Life to everyone I communicate with! Actually, I see that as my role on RAW as well.

It’s crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart with the words we say.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak…
You speak Life, You speak Life.

Raise your thoughts a little higher,
Use your words to inspire,
Joy will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the things you say.

Encouragement and patient engagement

I was sad KB couldn’t come with me next month to speak to the Pharmacist Society of Wisconsin (PSW). But she’ll miss too many days already for ACR, so she can’t miss one more. Chemistry is a pretty intense major.

Now that I think of it, encouragement is the heart of the message of patient engagement that I’ll bring to PSW. I will encourage them in connecting with patients, and engaging people in discussions about medicines. Isn’t it thrilling that patient engagement matters so much to these pharmacists that they want to know about how to help patients be educated and empowered?

KB, Kelly & Donna at Redskins gamePostblog: How on earth am I going to get through the next few months? The last few months, so many “lost” days were when it seems I accomplished nothing. SOMEHOW, with gritted teeth, long deep breaths, and some help I couldn’t do without, I managed to give KB a little family birthday party. Thank God for a friend like Leslie who knows how to seamlessly fill in where it’s needed – at a birthday party and a trip to Green Bay!

Amazing but mostly useless fact: The Redskins will be in Green Bay the weekend after we are! Wouldn’t that have been great? This picture is last year after ACR. ↑

Recommended reading

Pharmacist posts

Pressing on

My awesome kids

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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12 thoughts on “Use Your Words to Speak Life

  • August 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Happy Birthday, Katie Beth! We send our best wishes as you reach this milestone and also start the trek to more challenges! Kelly, you are so fortunate ( and I know you know it!) to have such a fantastic family, and they, too, are so fortunate to have you!!!
    You will help each other to get through all the challenges ahead–and you’ll have fun, I’m sure, doing it! Best wishes!

    • August 22, 2013 at 10:34 am

      So true Vi and I would’ve never guessed how much fun it is to watch them too.

  • August 22, 2013 at 9:45 am

    It’s so amazing that our minds are running on similar tracks sometimes. The blog post I put up yesterday is about encouragement and how important it is in getting people more involved in their own care and self management. It fits right in with goal setting which is what the blog was about when I started.
    Encouragement is the ‘secret sauce’ in my opinion. That’s one good thing about Twitter, at least among the people I talk to there. They are a generous bunch of people with praise and spreading good and constructive messages.

    • August 22, 2013 at 10:30 am

      YES yes Annette. You’re so right. It’s hard to say how important & how helpful.

  • August 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

    This is to wish Katie Beth a happy 21st. When I read about her major, I was really tickled. My grandson, Ryan, leaves today for Baylor university where hexagon major in bio-chemistry. He wants to either be a country doctor, a cardiologist or a researcher developing cures for diseases. Isn’t it wonderful when bright young people want to contribute to the betterment of the world instead of just making a lot of money? My heart swells w/pride and joy at ryans choices as I’m sure yours does for KB.
    Forging ahead w/my spear!
    Linda Caplin

  • August 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Help! I need some encouragement. My bones hurt like crazy, I can hardly lift my arms, my R ankle hurts so bad I can barely walk, I have my usual pre-flare sore throat and my husband and I are supposed to leave for a weekend away tomorrow. I hate this disease. Not only does it manage to wreak havoc on my life but it is also messing with my husband’s plans. I am hoping my Doc will agree to a prednisone burst and taper just to get me through the next few days. Prayers and encouragement, please.

  • August 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Happy Birthday Katie Beth!
    What a wonderful major. Chemistry is so fascinating! Best wishes to Katie Beth this school year!

  • August 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm


    Oh what a clever girlie…..wishing you lots of luck for your future studies…

    I bet proud dos’nt begin to describe how your feeling Kelly..
    Both my twins are off to Uni in October….Yayyyy!!

  • August 22, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Happy Birthday, Katie Beth. What a blessing to see such an intelligent and beautiful young woman creating her own path in life. Best wishes!

  • November 2, 2014 at 12:26 am

    OH, Kelly … thank you once again for being transparent, being real, and putting yourself out there. You give me so much hope. This is my 4th year of not teaching full time. After being diagnosed, I just thought I’d take a year off and go back. Yeah, right! I’m now checking into disability at age 44. I’m a go-getter too, and those days that are turtle slow are so frustrating! Worse than the pain I think. But the Lord has used this disease to draw me closer to him. And if that’s what it takes, I’m in. Day by day, we must speak life, not only to those around us, but to ourselves as well. Blessings!


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