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Monday, February 1, 2016


I lift heavy weights.  I swing, I press and I snatch kettlebells.  I will be the first to do a Turkish Get Up.  I run.  I do high intensity workouts.  I've done triathlons.  I trained for and passed the Strong First Kettlebell Certification this past year.  This year I plan to train for and pass the Strong First Barbell Certification.  I have Rheumatoid Disease.  I am one of the lucky ones who have been able to control the disease with minimal medication and diet.  Why do I bring this up today?  Because not every one is as lucky as I am and because I MAY not always be so lucky. 

Today, February 2, 2016, marks the 4th annual Rheumatoid Disease (RD) Awareness Day.  Reason for a day of awareness?  Most people do not understand what RD is.  It is not simple a type  of arthritis.  Arthritis is just some symptom of RD.  What I have found interesting is that medical providers, outside of Rheumatologist and those who work with them, don't understand what Rheumatoid Disease is.  Dr. Lloyd, my first rheumy, would say to me that socially people including medical professionals would ask him how to treat their arthritis.  His response was always, "I need to know what type of arthritis you have."  Lupus, scleroderma and Sjorgen's Disease are forms of arthritis.       

Rheumatoid disease is a chronic systemic disease.    RD is a serious autoimmune disease that attacks the joints and other body parts.  Simple put, your body attacks itself.  It affects your lungs, your heart, your liver, your kidneys.  Surprisingly, which always takes me by surprise, sometimes you may feel a shortness of breath.  What I also always forget and continually surprises me is the level of fatigue you can feel.  Sometimes I wonder why I feel so tired and exhausted.  I forget this symptom.

I am lucky.  I have been able to control my RD with diet and, at times, medication.  I have not had to revert to the injectables to treat my symptoms but have been successful with Methotrexate.  It is not a great medication to have to take but it worked.  When I do take it, I need to go for blood work every 2 months.  One of the side effects is liver disease. 

There are many, many people who are not as fortunate as I have been.  Some sufferers try pills, some try injectables and others a combination of both.  Some people try everything without any relief.  Combine that with the fact that not enough research has been done on the long term effects of injectables.  If you have moderate to severe RD, life can be difficult, challenging and life threatening.  I do not feel I am overstating this.

This is true about rheumatoid disease as it is about many others.  Even during my worst days, most people did not know what I was experiencing even when I was using a cane.  I did not share the struggles then and I rarely do now. 

It can be a deadly disease.

For more information check out this site!

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