RA Solutions
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Gardening and RA

April is a great month for gardening in New Mexico. Sunny, 70’s. Roses blooming. Oklahoma Red bud a riot of color. I am enjoying every bit. This week I planted a Lady Banks rambler on my back fence.

A new Lady Banks, just planted

There have been times when I never thought I would be able to kneel and happily dig in garden dirt again. Right now I can and I am very happy. In the four years since I was diagnosed with RA, I have learned to modify activities of my life. In the garden I have a kneeling pad for my knees. I buy the smaller size plant so I don’t need to dig a bigger hole and don’t need to haul as much garden soil. I have learned not to buy more than one or two plants at a time. And most importantly, I will relax with a cup of coffee and a book as a rest when my planting is done. The Lady Banks Rose is white and luscious.

Lady Banks Flower

This is an old rose that was originally brought from China. She is a wonderful addition to my rose garden.

Lately, I have been concerned with the progression of my RA. My feet have more damage and I cannot take the long walks that I once loved. The pain in my shoulders make it difficult to change clothes. Pain in my hip can be severe as well as the pain in my back. Both making walking difficult. Jaw, hands, wrists. Managing pain takes a lot of energy. Being in pain is tiring.

I know I have a poor prognosis. When I was diagnosed, I had most of the factors associated with a poor prognosis. Large number of joints affected, elevated ESR and C-reactive protein when diagnosed, low functional score early on, and radiologic changes. I have never been in remission even though I have tried most of the biologics. Life is a challenge for me as it is for the 50% of those with the RA diagnosis who have little relief from RA symptoms. Learning to manage the issues we have is as important as  taking the drugs we need to keep our symptoms under control. In the meantime a little rose garden is a soulful escape.



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