For The Love Of...,  Health

Living With RA – Rheumatoid Arthritis

This post is part of a paid sponsorship by Regeneron and Sanofi Genzyme. All opinions are my own.

 

Do you know anyone who lives with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis)?  This is something I have personally struggled with for some time.  It has had a real impact on my daily life and  lately I have been working very hard to minimize that impact.

 

Daily struggles include:

  • We have a three story home with a walk out basement.  We live on the third and fourth floor – that’s a lot of stairs when you struggle with inflamed joints.
  • I have a desk job – that may seem ideal but sitting all day is a problem.  After sitting for a period of time it can be very difficult to stand and move quickly.  It takes a while to get moving.
  • This same struggle exists when traveling.  We camp seasonally and travel at least 2.5 hours to get to our destination on weekends.  I practically need a cane to get moving after sitting in the passenger seat for that long.  I try very hard to keep my legs moving all that time but it is still an issue.
  • Sometimes I jump out of bed in the morning and totally forget that it takes a while for my legs to get moving.
  • My kids are very active and sometimes I can’t even do the simplest things to keep up with them – like the frequent request to go hiking or on a bike ride.
  • We own three horses – one for each of my kids and one was supposed to be for me – but until this week I had not gotten on him.  Fear of my RA kept me from attempting it.  We have had him for 9 months and I hadn’t even sat on him.  This week that changed!

 

Sanofi and Regeneron created the Honestly RA campaign to take a very honest look at life with RA, in hopes of better understanding patient needs when it comes to treatment and overall support.  Together they fielded a 1,004 self-reported Rheumatoid Arthritis patient survey designed to uncover the emotional impact of the daily struggles, frustrations, and triumphs that people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis experience.  Findings include:

  1. The impact of RA on daily life
  2. Treatment experience
  3. The patient-doctor relationship

 

Did you know?

  • 8 in 10 people living with RA reported that they experience pain daily or multiple times per week
  • Even after treatment, nearly two-thirds said their pain keeps them away from daily activities and celebrations
  • A majority (74%) of patients said their treatments don’t always work as well as they would like

 

For me, RA has definitely kept me away from daily activities that I want to participate in.  Some days I could walk for miles while other days  it’s hard walking down three flights of stairs to throw in a load of laundry.  For 9 months I took care of three huge horses, tacked them up whenever the kids wanted to ride, and did all the care-taking, but I couldn’t get on them.  Part of the struggle was fear and part was joint pain (not to mention the unpredictable part of the situation that my horse is really not meant to be a beginner horse and I am a beginner).  I am happy with walking around on a horse as I don’t need to trot, canter, gallop or anything like that.  This week we put some work into it and I was able to ride him a couple times.  I switched saddles to a saddle that works well with me and my sore joints; I was able to mount my horse from a higher platform; and I had help dismounting – which means I didn’t have to jump 5 feet down. Someone helped guide my horse right back to the higher mount where we began and I was able to dismount without jumping and hurting my already sore joints.  I rode horses more this week than I have in the last two years (we have been going to the barn every single day), but it took significant modifications and people that understood the difficulties.   I also absolutely do not like asking for help – but finally my love for our horses wore me down enough that I just couldn’t wait anymore.

 

My final ride of the vacation week was not on my horse – it was a trail ride with a bunch of friends (barn family).  This wasn’t on my horse – we don’t know how he would react or respond on a trail ride yet.  First we travel down the road and passing cars, trucks, motorcycles etc… may be too stressful for him.  We will figure that out soon enough.

 

 

 

In conclusion – I spend a significant amount of time trying to come up with other ways to do the things I love.  Sometimes that process can be stressful and emotional but eventually I usually get to the place I want to be.

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