Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My RA Bedroom...the ABC's of getting some zzzzzzz's

My RA Bedroom:

I think I picked this room first to apply my KISS principle to because it is one of my favorite rooms in my home and because I use this room so much.

There are several good blogs written on the best mattress to select when living with ra and rather then rehash that topic, I am providing you with the links below for you to check out yourself. But the short of the mattress matter is two types seem to be rising to the forefront with ra sufferers: the sleep number bed and the tempur-pedic mattress. Both of these beds sell adjustable electric frames which allow you to raise or lower the head of the bed as needed.  

Now you are probably asking yourself what type of bed does Deb own.  I am still using my mattress from almost ten years ago but I suspect that within the next two years I will be venturing down the mattress shopping isle.  I currently own a pillow top type that I paid over $1,200 for ten years ago. Mattresses can be expensive and I am trying to hold off for as long as possible.  I am not sure which mattress I would buy but I have had the opportunity to sleep on the tempur-pedic mattress for a few weeks. It was a little too hot for me. And I would have to check carefully on the sleep number bed as I have kitties. Kitties have claws and I am not sure how kitty claws would do on an air type bed. I am still up in the air on my decision.

I am going to cover pretty much everything else that might make living with ra easier for you in your bedroom. Call this my wish list for the most functioning ra room around.  But, just like medications, our bedroom must work for us.  Surround yourself with what works for your ra and your particular challenges or needs.

The RA Bed:

  1. Various pillows that contour to your body (maybe even a full length body pillow for those hard to sleep nights) but not so many that they overtake your bed. And you may want to consider a good support pillow for reading.
  2. Set of cotton sheets that are large enough for ra hands to easily make the bed (of course as I have previously written…if you can hire housekeeping help, by all means do it!). I say cotton because often we with ra sweat at night and for me the cotton has worked best with this problem. I love all things cotton!
  3. A lightweight summer cover like a quilt for the bed during the summer. Again I prefer cotton.
  4. A lightweight  comforter for the cold months (the key here is lightweight!) or an electric blanket if you prefer to snuggle under. The more layers you put on your bed, the harder it is to make the bed. I have an alternate down one in white as I have down allergies and down can be heavy.
Everything else in my ra bedroom:

  1. remote controlled fan
  2. flat screen tv mounted on the wall for easy viewing and a no strain neck position along with a dvd or blue ray player.
  3. A solid chair that you can use for sitting or when you need to put your shoes on. I prefer one with arms as they help me to get up and down.
  4. Dressers with big knobs. I use to have a dresser with handles but my fingers often got stuck in the handles. Knobs can be harder to grab but they work better for me personally…no more trapped swollen fingers.  If your current dresser does have tiny knobs you might want to change them out with bigger ones. Use what works best for you. And drawers that don't require two hands are always better then drawers that do.
  5. A nightstand with big drawers to fit all of my ra medications, rubbing creams, and pain patches on my side of the bed. Nightstands are great in bedrooms whether you have ra or not but I feel they are essential for people with ra.  Mine also has a nice shelf on the bottom where I keep my current reading materials. If you have small children in your home, you probably shouldn't keep any medications in your night stand where the webbies can get to them.
  6. Lamps with touch control.  I don't have these types of lamps anymore as I have kitties….you get the picture here. I do miss my lamps!
  7. Enough room on the side of your bed where you can leave your slippers on the floor. I must have slippers on my feet at all times when I am in my home. I have bad ra in my feet. To be honest I also keep a pair of sneakers at my bedside because some days my feet are too bad for slippers…I need the running shoes with the support on my feet before I get up and get moving at all.
  8. An outlet close enough to your bed to plug in your laptop computer so you can read my blog easily (just kidding)  and any other electric things like an electric blanket or heating pad. But be sure that the cord runs along the wall and doesn't lay across the floor which would make it a tripping hazard.
  9. No extra throw rugs anywhere in the room. Throw rugs tend to trip up people with  ra no matter how well taped down they may be.
  10. Have clear access on at least one side of your bed if you use a wheelchair. And there should be enough room to maneuver the chair easily to access the dresser and closet in the room.  A lower dresser will be needed if you use a wheelchair. And you may have to downsize your bed to accommodate a wheelchair if this is a new ra accessory for you. 
  11. Room enough on one side of the bed if you have a walker and room enough to maneuver easily around the room.
  12. If you have a cane then you may want to consider a way to ensure that it doesn't fall over when you aren't using it. Maybe an umbrella stand or if your hands are capable enough a fastener or hook on the wall to keep it off the floor completely.
For me ambiance is critical in my ra bedroom:

  1. Choose colors that will soothe you. 
  2. surround yourself with artwork that lightens your mood.
  3. be sure your windows have room darkening capabilities. Sleeping with ra can be difficult enough, having the sun blaring you in the eyes will just make it that much worse. Daytime naps are often needed with ra. And least we not forget. 
  4. a radio or cd player so you can surround yourself with your favorite music or a cd player with headsets at the very least.  
  5. I also have scent ports in my room that I fill depending on my mood. Scents can help to lift your spirits or calm your frayed nerves. There are also natural scents out there if you prefer.

But do keep in mind that if your ra room is made too comfortable, you will have your entire family wanting in on this new great ra retreat. Anyone say sleepover!

Additional reading:
Tips on Making Your Bed: Arthritis Foundation

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Blog Party Rocks on!

The party is rocking. I hear a song playing...Getting to know you...getting to know all about you.

Calling all ra-ers! Want your name up in lights! Want your story told....check in with Lyda. She is looking to feature you in an upcoming blog. What better way to spread the knowledge of ra...come on out on the dance floor and let the spotlight shine on you!

Gettin' To Know Ya

Since I started this website, my favorite thing has been connecting with people from around the world who also have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I went from knowing maybe two other people who went through what I was going through, to a network of people all over the globe. I have never felt so at home, so comfortable, so able to open up with my new community of friends.

A year ago, I was uncomfortable discussing my health with anyone outside my circle of trusted friends and family. Once I started writing regularly and getting over my fear of opening up to strangers, I realized how great this whole idea was.

These are a few of my favorite party time!

My favorite blog things that here goes! I hope you give them a try like I have already done. They are now part of my blog family and I hope they become blog family members of yours too!
So let's get this party started!

RA Guy Rocks! I am not sure which of his posts is my favorite one but this one is his most recent...I for one love his art work! And while you are there, buckle up and do take the ra roller coaster ride :-)

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is pleased to announce the release of his “Hope! Unlimited” mug, which is now available on!
RA Guy's Hope Unlimited Mug
This mug was especially designed for all superheroes who are living with rheumatoid arthritis, including their friends, family members, and co-workers.
Hand drawn by RA Guy, the art work includes some of the most popular comic book images from his website. The white text on the blue sky is from his “About Me” page, which represents the first words that were ever published on his blog.
You too will feel like a superhero when you use this mug!
Help superheroes like myself overcome “Flare Incorporated” and reach “Hope! Unlimited”.
 RA Warrior...

Santa, Bring Her a Rheumatologist Please

Wanted poster: rheumatologist

Wanted: good rheumatologists

Sonya’s tweet brought me a smile. So much truth in so few words. Those of us with rheum diseases like RA need a good doctor the way most people need a reliable car mechanic. We might crash and burn without it.
This is short for two reasons:
1) I don’t have a long list of requirements. It’s pretty simple.
2) I want to hear about what you want or need in a rheumatologist!

Santa bring me a rheum Tweet

My list: rheumatologist wanted who…

  1. Performs joint examinations and accurately records medical history.
  2. Uses suitable tests for monitoring disease progression and to help insure safety with prescriptions.
  3. Stays up to date on current tests, treatments, and research.
  4. Does not try to use rheum factor lab tests or CRP the way endocrinologists use blood glucose tests, but asks patients about disease activity.
  5. Will fairly communicate with patients on an adult level without any type of abuse.
Treating RA is not easy and we know the field is changing quickly. Rheumatologists can learn more about RA by listening to patients and not scoffing at their symptoms, or rolling their eyes, or making rude comments such as “At least you don’t have nodules like some b@$%&* do!” or “Just get over yourself!” (Those are real recent comments sent by readers.)
Let’s boil it down to what really counts.

What do you want in a rheumatologist?

Note! I get lots of letters asking to help find a good rheumatologist. And this will only increase when the new Rheumatoid Patient Foundation site is opened. If you have a great rheumatologist, you can leave his or her name in a comment here to nominate him / her for the recommended rheum docs list. We are building a great list. We will ask if they’d like to be on the list and a patient’s name will never be mentioned.

P.S.....This is ABCsof RA here...anyone know of a great one in southeast region of NC? I am still a hunting for my great ra doc!
RA: Ready for Action

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Water Exercise

When I was officially diagnosed with RA, I joined the YWCA and started attending water exercise classes there. I also had to go out and buy a swimsuit--for the first time in 15 years! Going to the YWCA is good for my ego, as I am among the youngest there (me, with my white hair) and am almost "thin" in comparison to some people.

I especially like the deep water exercise classes, where we exercise with the noodle. It can be strenuous, though each person adapts at his/her own pace. I really like it and feel better going to these classes.

When I can attend two consecutive classes, I feel really good about myself. However, sometimes two of the deep water classes can be too much for me. It works out best if one is in the shallow end and the other in the deep end, like on Thursday mornings when there is first a water yoga class followed by an exercise one.

Not having gone since Thursday, I am eager to start again tomorrow. Luckily, I do not work, because this takes up most of each morning.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My New Montra...

Anger indeed is a condition and one that I personally do not wish to carry along with all the other baggage I currently own.

I am making a vow to not worry about the following:

Anything I can't change including any crooked things on me...I'll just wait for the two fer deals at my orthopedic's office.

Critters that have legs and might crawl into my home...the key word here is might and besides my kitties love a little extra protein snack every now and then.

The grey hairs that magically reappear no matter how many times Ms. Clarol visits...grey is the new chic in my ra world.

Medications that I take that might make me allergic...I mean what was Benadryl invented for?

Children that are now adults...if they get lost along the way...I'll buy them a new gps.

The dust bunnies hiding under the beds...kitty fur makes a great dust magnet and they love hiding under the beds.

Having to cook breakfast, lunch or dinner...Did anyone say quiche, quiche, quiche? I love this dish! No wonder why!

The mounds of laundry that seem to grow without having to water either...I have named my piles. Pile one is Mango's new bed. Pile two is Moomee's hiding spot and pile three is there to balance out pile one and two.

Bills in every form, the mailed, electronic, and recurring ones...ever notice that in the word bills is the word ills? I wonder if I give them one of my medications they will be cured?

The grass that always needs to be maintained...I figure if we don't water it, it won't grow which means it doesn't need to be mowed.

Ringing phones...let it go to the message center. I have recorded a new message asking all callers for a donation. Are we betting my phone won't be ringing much longer.

Cleaning the bathrooms...I no longer have bathrooms.  Mine are now named penicillin labs.

Making the bed...if I get any strange looks from company, I simply explain that I am an artist and this is my new canvas.  Don't they just love my new art piece that I spent hours creating?

Yes, I will try my hardest not to worry any longer...why bother, it just makes for more wrinkles.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Adverse Event Reporting System...a dirty little secret

I live in the southeast of the US and we have just entered the dreaded hurricane season here. Now add to that the recent outbursts of terrible tornadoes that have devastated many regions of this country and you can understand why I am very concerned about the various warning systems set in place. They do a terrific job here where I live.

This got me to thinking about what medical warning systems we have in place here in the U.S.. So off I went to do my research. The first and foremost top dog here is the FDA which stands for our Federal Drug Administration. They pretty much govern it all: food, drugs, medical devices, vaccines/blood/biologics, animal & veterinary, cosmetics, radiation-emitting products, and tobacco products. I would put this link under one of your favorites.

Why? Well we don't always get notified of things that maybe we should be notified about. If you check back frequently on their home page you can then become an empowered consumer and stay atop of what "alerts" may impact you. OK...I am getting sidetracked here.

My main intent for today is to talk about how side effects of medications are reported in this country. Upon first undertaking the looksie into this, I was expecting a very clear cut path by which doctors, hospitals would be reporting any adverse drug reaction or even any side effect of concern.  I was figuring (falsely so) that our government had a tight reign on this reporting system. You all know by now I love the KISS system of things (Keep It Simple Stupid) and as a patient consuming many, many medications (some relatively new) I was under the false impression that big government had this little pony show under a very tight reign. WRONG!!! I almost puked when I read this...

The Adverse Event Reporting System is a VOLUNTARY system! Are you kidding me! So, let me get this straight oh wonderful FDA of ours...all those adverse reactions that I have been having on a regular basis with methotrexate, plaquinil,  enbrel, humira, mobic, celebrex, etc. etc. probably were not reported? How the heck can this be happening? So for the past 13 years I have been under the false security that while I was consuming my ra medications I thought that all reactions to any of the medications I was taking was being reported, tallied and that our FDA was watching over me.  I was under the impression that when I read side effects on any website (including the manufacturers) that all adverse reactions where being reported, computed and thereby feed back to us as consumers.

And what about my internet friends that have passed away while on medications, often a large amount of medications? Where their deaths reported at all?  Did anyone even consider that maybe their medication combination might have played into their demise at all or maybe even a single medication? I am sure their families were not aware that THEY should have reported their deaths! And I am not saying any medication did contribute to their passing but how do we know?

Now should I be over reacting here? Please check out this link which stipulates that ADVERSE REACTIONS is a voluntary system..I am posting word for word here...

Reporting Serious Problems to FDA

Thank you for visiting the MedWatch Web site to voluntarily report a serious adverse eventproduct quality problem, product use error, or therapeutic inequivalence/failure that you suspect is associated with the use of an FDA-regulated drug, biologic, medical device, dietary supplement or cosmetic.  You can also report suspected counterfeit medical products to FDA through MedWatch.

Submit Your Report Online

In order to keep effective medical products available on the market, the FDA relies on the voluntary reporting of these events. FDA uses these data to maintain our safety surveillance of these products.  Your report may be the critical action that prompts a modification in use or design of the product, improves its safety profile and leads to increased patient safety.

I am ending this now. What can be done about this? My only answer at this point (my BP is so high right now I can't really think to straight!) is for YOU to report YOUR OWN REACTIONS TO ANY MEDICATION YOU ARE TAKING AND MUST STOP!! Did you read that correctly. If not, let me repeat it for you...YOU MUST REPORT IT YOURSELF TO ENSURE IT HAS BEEN REPORTED AT ALL!!

Here is the link to do just that and please bookmark this link. I am counting on you...why? You may very well save my life in the future.

Where to report an adverse drug reaction.

Breath in...breath out....slowly...slowly....slowly. I am now going to take some medication for nausea...oh wait...can I be sure it is safe?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ra Junk Art

I got to thinking....and yes, that CAN be a dangerous thing for me.
I have fallen head over heals in love with Garden Junk Art. What is this you might ask?
Well, it is a cross between fun and funky, creative bliss for those of us who like to think we are somewhat imaginative and GREEN.
It is definitely addictive but less hurtful on the pocketbook then shopping new.
It is a way of recycling everyday things into art for your garden.
A dear friend of mine (hello Cathy) are in this head to head competition to see who can create the wackiest, craziest garden junk heaven on this earth.
So far, she has me beat hands down! And for the sake of fun, I have posted as many pictures of our Garden Junk Art as I have...
hint..hint Cathy, keep the pics coming.
Garden junk art is very flexible, fun and fits the owners wants. Not so for ra related wear.
This got me thinking (you have now entered a field of land mines). Why don't we have more creative ra wear.
I am not talking clothing but rather things I have been forced to use in my ra world on a daily basis that to put it bluntly look dreadful! No wonder we get discouraged living with RA. I mean, look at this thing! Dreadful...just dreadful! And here is my hate list: hand splints, elbow wraps and knee wraps (canes do have a lovely, wide variety to choose from). I would love to see some creative type out there invent a hand splint that I can "art" up if I desire. Heck I would be happy to be able to pick a color besides black or maybe white (I think one manufacturer makes it in white). What about blue, pink, purple, polka dots, stripes or anything I fancy.

Why not some type of covering I can change to my liking and to match my dress code for the day. I am by no means a high fashion lady here but really...can't we do better? Can you tell I am a cat lady of sorts with my new ra art piece?  Ever here about the purse with the interchangeable that is what I am talking about here! A wrist splint with interchangeable covers!  Perhaps a stretchable cover made from material like the book socks! Something we could use as a cover that would also help to keep our brace clean as well. And just think of the ever expanding market for these splint socks...they could also fit over a cast and come in different sizes. Can you imagine a favorite cartoon character for JRA kids? I am a Hello Kitty fan myself.

I want some RA Junk Art in my wardrobe! And guys, if you think you wouldn't enjoy this...think motorcycles, team logos, camouflage, or even a simple brown, green or grey art piece. Heck I could have mine embellished with sparkles too!

And my motto for today is....don't worry, be happy :-)

And no...I have not been drinking! Just wait till you hear my idea for heat sacks!

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's a Question of Trust!

Merriam Webster defines trust as:

1trust noun \ˈtrəst\
1a : assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
b : one in which confidence is placed
2a : dependence on something future or contingent : hope

The truth of the matter (to me) is can I trust anymore? When I was first diagnosed with ra, I trusted almost everyone and everything. I believed in the character, ability, strength and truth of doctors, pharmacists, the FDA, employers, family and friends.

Unfortunately twelve years later, many medical mishaps, recalls of countless medicines by our FDA, broken promises by friends, lack of understanding by employers and family (at times) have nibbled away at the very foundation of my ability to trust anymore.

Will I give up in this battle?  Absolutely not!  But I now know that I must first rely on myself. I must first rely on my God given abilities to track down the best doctors for me personally, track down all the facts about ANYthing I put into, around or on my body, continually strive to say no to those that demand more then my ra body can give or do, and foster friendships that build me up rather then tear me down.

This process has been a very hurtful process at times. And, one that I really never ever expected I would have to experience.  And it didn't happen just suddenly like one of those summer thunderstorms that come on quickly and furiously. And nor do I believe it will vanish as quickly.

The first wrinkle in my script happened shortly after I was diagnosed with ra.  I was given three prescriptions at the time, one including sulfasalazine. Dutifully I dropped off my prescriptions and picked them up. I wanted to get started on my treatment asap…I was in a lot of pain and needed to continue working. Upon arriving home, I opened the pharmacy bag and lined up my prescription bottles on the counter.  Attached to each receipt was the detailed information pertaining to each drug. I sighed heavily, weighing whether I should bother to read any of it. I mean, my doctor did write these prescriptions and a pharmacist filled them. They were the experts, not me!

I am not really sure what made me stop and decide that I had better read them. I mean, this is my body and even though I was so physically exhausted, I needed to understand these medications. I read. On the second prescription which was for the sulfasalazine it clearly stated in bold writing that anyone with a sulfur allergy should not take this prescription.

I was dumbfounded. I know for a fact I had written on my medical records at the rheumatologist that I am highly allergic to any sulfur based medication. I had even (in the past) had the pharmacist make notes in their computer system about my severe sulfur allergy. I was flabbergasted that two professionals had just possibly handed me something that could have potentially killed me if I had not taken the time to read the inserts. A huge sludge hammer hit my armor of trust, taking a big chunk away with it.

One year later, 2,000 miles away I was having difficulty swallowing and I was in a lot of pain.  I tried every doctor that I could think of: endocrinologist, ear/nose/throat specialist, and my gp. I even wound up in the er at one of the top rated teaching hospitals in the northeast. Their diagnoses was a sore throat. Others had said it was ra in my larynx and allergies. I suffered for over two years with this increasingly painful problem until one day my rheumatologist said she felt an enlarged thyroid and wanted to send me for a uptake and scan. She knew of my difficulties with this constant problem. 

After two large thyroid nodules showed up, I again went back to the endocrinologist. His suggestion was that we monitor the situation. The needle biopsies had shown no thyroid cancer and all the tests indicated Hashimottos thyroiditis. I was by this time in excruciating pain. I had also lost over twenty pounds in less then a month as I was unable to eat anything with this pain.

Finally, I decided to find a surgeon in NJ that would work with me given all this information. True, no cancer had showed up even though they had tested for it but I was in pain. A whole lot of pain that was intolerable and untreatable at this point. He was in the Best Doctors Listing and I researched the heck out of how to find a good surgeon. Bless the thyroid board and their ra board over at  Those groups walked me through it all and without their support, I don't know if I would have made it through.

He agreed to remove the thyroid..well almost all of it. He even had it tested during surgery for cancer. It came back negative. They automatically send the thyroid off for further testing after surgery.

It came back cancerous. And not just one cancer but two types of cancers. Should I say Murphy's Law now? That sledge hammer once again came chunking away at my trust. Another big piece went flying. 

I was so grateful to get that thyroid out. And can I tell you…the pain disappeared immediately. I swallowed without fear. I swallowed my favorite foods once again. I was so thankful to this surgeon and to this day I credit him with saving my life. He listened. He cared. He did his job.

Unfortunately for me I have developed an intolerance to medications.  I seem to be allergic to just about everything out there that treats ra including the pain medications. It got so bad that I was carrying around an epi-pen in case of an anaphylactic reaction. And a lot of this intolerance to medications also made me intolerant to the medical community at large. Why? Trust!

I can't tell you the hundreds of times I was told that my side effects would disappear, that my inability to hold food down would subside, that my swollen lips were from food allergies, and on and on. Yet, my rheumatologist agreed I should carry the epi-pen.  She was both a rheumatologist and allergist and had tested me on all the medications. The proof was in the pudding…so to say.  She had witnessed first hand my allergy issues. In her I had trust but it took me five tries with different rheumatologists to find her.

I have come to the conclusion that overall this particular group of doctors feel that their only job is to medicate and medicate heavily and early on in the hopes of heading off joint damage. I don't disagree with them. But, I do disagree with their lack of monitoring side effects of many of these medications. I do disagree with our FDA that they are not more carefully testing these medications and coming up with a better reporting system. And I am disappointed that they do not offer a better support system for their patients and a better way to measure their success with treatment plans and the treatment of pain for ra. And I am disappointed to note that not much has changed in the way of a doctor's visit in the past twelve years. Yes, there are new medications out there but the overall exam, feedback asked (if any), and tests given for ra have changed little. We are talking twelve years here!

I want teams for ra patients. Not stand alone doctors each operating in their hemisphere, leaving the patient to travel between them. I want a better way for patients to express their symptoms, pain levels and whether THEY feel these drugs are improving their lives. I just want better treatment for new ra patients that encompass more then writing prescriptions.

Don't get more wrong, for many these medications work great. And for them I say…hats off!! I couldn't be more happy for them. But we are not all the same. We each have our own bodies, our own tolerance for pain, our own ra symptoms and our own reactions to these medications and ra.

Yes, my trust has been broken. And it didn't just happen suddenly.  It has taken many doctors, many mishaps and many life threatening situations to bring me to this juncture. But a juncture it is.

My hope is in that summer thunderstorm. Yes, it can come on quickly and furiously but after its tulmulturious passing, their is a fresh clean earth revealed.  It is in this new rebirth that I take hope. I will find my way to trust again. It may not be fast and furious, it may take me years again to trust without constant doubting. But I know from this rebirth I have become a better and stronger woman, mother, wife, sister, friend, and patient. And from this I have become a survivor.

The seed has been planted. I will water, I will care for it and watch it slowly begin to grow.

How to possibly avoid the Trust Thunderstorm:
* First and foremost…find the best doctor for you. Find a doctor that you believe is listening to you, treating you with respect, answering your questions, taking the time to treat you, available when you need them (including weekends and evenings) and works with you both physically and emotionally. Ra is more then just a physical disease. It also eats away at us emotionally and this needs to be addressed as well.
*Read all your medication inserts and understand what, why, how and when you should take your medications. Get to know your pharmacist like he/she is your most favorite relative.
* When picking up prescriptions, look at the pills themselves. Be sure what your were prescribed is what you are picking up. Pills can look very similar in color, shape, and size. Be sure you are getting the right pills.
* Read, read, read, and read more about ra.  Become your own expert on it. I am not suggesting you second guess your doctor but assuming (boy I hate that word) you trust your doctor, you should feel comfortable enough to ask any question and get an answer. Knowledge is key in everything in life. Particularly when it comes to your health.
* Go with your gut. It just may save your life. If you feel there is still something wrong and your doctor(s) has not addressed it, seek out another opinion and keep seeking another and another until you get an answer. Ignorance is not bliss in this case. You need answers and a good doctor will believe in you and help you track down what may be going on.
* Find support for yourself. If your immediate friends, family and doctors are not giving you the support you need....try online support groups. Know that you are not alone in this battle with ra...there are over a million of us out there and that is just in the USA alone!
* Don't be afraid to ask for a referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Ra can be a hard disease to cope with and getting help with that emotionally roller coaster will only help you.