RA Solutions
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RA and a happy holiday

When your rheumatoid arthritis(RA) is uncontrolled, it is very hard to think of holidays or family events as anything more than  obstacle courses filled with discouraging frustration and fear of failure.

There are about 30% of those with RA who have no relief from RA drugs. Only about 10% of those with the best treatment come close to remission. The rest, 60%, have a range from 20% to 50% relief from their symptoms.  These are the statistics for those being treated. What happens to those who have no insurance? To those who have no access to the  wonder drugs of RA, the biologics?  Rheumatoid arthritis is a severely, incapacitating disease and we are grateful for any relief no matter how small. Sometimes we just don’t get any. That is our holiday worry.

What happens when we have a flare in the middle of the holidays? What do we do if our RA is uncontrolled? Even a little relief is not enough. It is not enough when you add the additional demands  of the holidays. When we realize the limits of RA treatments and we add the demands made on an individual, holidays or not, we start to see why depression is a common complication of RA.

So if you are feeling blue going into the holidays, you have reason. And if you understand this you are halfway to managing. Changing expectations might be  the next step. You can enjoy the holidays. You just might need to change how and what you do.

A few humble suggestions.

  • Decide what is most important to you.
  • Understand your limits, Respect them.
  • Take your pain medicine before you need it. You will need less and have less pain to manage.
  • Send gifts from Amazon
  • To save your hands, use gift bags instead of wrapping gifts. Or
  • if gift wrapping is your talent, set up your supplies and work your magic over several days.
  • Buy cookies instead of making them or if baking is your joy,
  • Make them in steps. Most of my cookie dough needs to be chilled. I make the dough one day and bake the cookies over the next day or two.
  • Tidy your house, don’t scrub. Other people rarely care about your housekeeping. Tidy is good though.
  • Stop hosting, share get togethers. Your friends will be happier too.
  • I buy special gifts for family and friends so pick them up as I find them over the year.  Start early. Too late now. But maybe next year.

Spend your limited energy on your favorite part of the holiday. I love my Christmas tree. It is perfect. My son sets it up. I decorate it over several days. Then I enjoy it for close to a month. I light  a pine candle so I have the fragrance of a live tree. Nice.

Do not expect anyone to understand your RA. It belongs to you not them. They, your others,  worry about their own something that may be tough for them as well. You are the one who needs to understand your RA and what it takes to manage it the best that you can.  This way of thinking relieves your mind of worrying about what others think. Your mind will thank you.

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