Real People. Real Life. Real Results.
Real RA Patients Share Their Secrets
Shannon - A competitive long-distance runner and self-proclaimed "health foodie", Shannon went from independence to denial to despair when her pain and RA symptoms first kicked in. She credits her positive relationship with her rheumatologist for her successful treatment and improved outlook. Her advice is to:
- Ask for help - whether from a friend, family member, colleague or store clerk. Don't be afraid to lean on others for assistance with even seemingly simple tasks.
- Come prepared to your doctor appointments. Bringing a list of questions helps make the visit more productive. You can keep track of your questions with the Let's Talk RA patient notebook.
Jenny - Though she now enjoys being a full-time mother to her busy toddler, Jenny wondered if she would ever be able to have a family after her RA diagnosis. Before becoming pregnant, she worked closely with her obstetrician and rheumatologist to discuss a treatment plan for her during her pregnancy. She recommends:
- Be proactive. When it comes to managing your disease, make sure all the members of your healthcare team are on the same page so together you can make the best decisions about your treatment.
- Learn to be open with your rheumatologist. The more open you are, the more likely you are to keep RA from controlling you. Use the discussion guidelines in the Let's Talk RA Communication Kit to make sure you are communicating honestly about your symptoms and patterns as well as sharing your goals and preferences.
Patricia Ann - A grandmother of four, Patricia Ann loves to crochet, sew and read but her RA - which has caused deformities in her fingers - can limit her ability to do so. Add to that the challenge of trying to manipulate her fingers to sign with her deaf son and his family, and you would agree she has plenty of reason to feel discouraged. Instead, she says:
- Look on the bright side. Focus on what you can do, not what you can't. There is always something positive. You just have to look for it.
- Take the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) found in the Let's Talk RA Communication Kit. Bring it to your next appointment to jump start the discussion.
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Find out how others living with RA use the tools found in the Let's Talk RA Communication Kit with their doctors to get the best treatment plan for rheumatoid arthritis.