When I was diagnosed with RA, I was too sick to understand the long term implications. I was grateful at the time to put a label on the devastating attack on my body.
I love books and have always looked to books for solutions as well as for pleasure. Soon after my diagnosis, I purchased the book, The First Year Rheumatoid Arthritis by M.E.A. McNeil.
With RA there is a major shift in your life. What to do? How to cope? What to think? It is overwhelming. This book set me on the right course. It helped me organize.
The most important thing it did for me was define my attitude toward RA. I developed my medical team. I understood I was the manager.
I started journaling daily and also logging in my symptoms. I researched the drugs I was on and created files for them. I researched lab tests and understood what they meant and kept a log. I asked my doctors questions and received solid answers.
I knew the first few years were critical. I knew medicine was the only answer. I worked with my doctor to find the treatment that would work for my body.
Now I am able to do many things that make me feel better: a regular massage, body movement, joint flexibility, nutritious food, time with friends.
I learned to slow down. To go with the flow of symptoms.
Thank you Mrs. McNeil for so very much.
This book was published in 2005. Her management of RA was ahead of its time. It is a good read. The medication information is a little dated. I wish for a revised version for that reason.