February 2nd is Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day and – as RA is my OG diagnosis (and the one that gives me all I can handle and then some to this day) – I write a post for it each year – and, in keeping with tradition, I’m also running late (so all is well – hahaha).
This RA Awareness Day/Week has found me flaring like all hell, still with the left wrist ablaze, and with some stabbing pains through my left hand, hip, ankle, and foot, and with knees burning, and with my face throbbing, and with a migraine lurking at times – and I am exhausted.
With RA, stress – say from a busy semester as well as both Henry and Mick being sick this past month – and big weather changes often exacerbate symptoms (among other things).
At the same time, for the past two weeks, I have been on a second strong oral antibiotic for a skin infection – in addition to the prophylactic antibiotic that I am prescribed long-term to prevent recurrence of the systemic infections I have experienced as I am immunocompromised. Being on these two together has just kicked my arse. It is draining. Thankfully, I finished the short term prescription yesterday and I hope I will rally soon.
All that said, I have written often about the symptoms and complications of RA but I will still share a few basic graphics this Awareness Day.
First, RA is a systemic illness with many complications.
Unfortunately, it seems that most RA patients experience complications, and, by the ten year mark of living with RA, 60% are disabled.
The above graphic mentions that medications can be intense – and I have documented here the difficulties I have experienced as a result of prednisone therapy with bone fractures throughout my feet, immunosuppression, and weight gain. This is in addition to the side effects from my DMARDs and other RA meds.
There is a 40% increased all cause mortality in women with RA according to a Nurses Health Study conducted using data collected from over 100,000 women over nearly 40 years. Also, “in the study, the researchers found that each five years of having RA increased the women’s mortality by 11 percent compared to women without the disease.”
It isn’t pleasant to think about but it is the reality of the situation.
However, treatments continue to come along and hopefully will get better and better.
I am still here and kicking and I am so grateful for my amazing family and for my friends and for this wonderful life – even on the painful days.
As always, onward.
Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.
Grace and Blessings.