How Do You Conquer Chronic Illness?

Chronic illness does it’s best to interfere with daily life. Ignoring it seems to help suck away some of it’s power. However, there are too many days when if the illness isn’t bothering us physically, then it’s tasking our emotions, or even our wallets. That leaves very few worry, chronic-free days to enjoy.

Being surrounded by understanding people helps a lot. Another powerful way to deal with it is by standing tall no matter how little chronic illness can make you feel. Try not to whine – you deserve to vent, a lot! – just don’t give it the power to chronically bring you down.

That being said, we can use all the help we can to build an arsenal against the emotional anguish that comes with an ongoing illness. So please tell us, what is your weapon of choice when battling “the chronic”? -trvw

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Thank You All

Thank you very much for helping with the JRA 5K race. It couldn’t be done without the donations and volunteering from everyone. Thanks for the runners and walkers of course. There was a lot of competition with other races Saturday, but we did the best we could. In spite of the expenses, we will still have a descent donation for JRA.
Again, thank you so very much! This disease is horrible for anyone to endure, especially kids. Every bit of help is worth it, and hopefully together we can at least ease the pain and spread awareness until there is a cure.
Race results are available at
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The JRA 5K Run/Walk

The fifth year for the JRA 5K will be happening this Saturday, June 20th, 2009. I hope that everyone will come out and help raise money for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease that makes everyday tasks a huge challenge. It attacks joints, causes pain, and intrudes on life emotionally and physically. Raising money will help find a cure and hopefully make life more tolerable until there is a cure.

Kids with JRA are brave and deserve a pain free, happy life in spite of obstacles. Come out and show your support, regardless of any “boundaries” that you might have. Don’t let anything keep you from running, walking, or supporting the JRA 5K race this Saturday at the Battlefield City Park. Click on the link above for more information.

Thank you so much for helping attack JRA!!! -pm

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No Whining!

nosignDo yourself a big favor and stop whining about your disease! Now that I have your attention please don’t think I’m a cold-blooded witch with no compassion, quite the opposite.  If you live with a chronic illness, sometimes the best things you can do to help yourself is to refuse to indulge in whining and complaining about how awful it is.

It is true that dealing with a disease like JRA or Type 1 diabetes is a pain literally and figuratively. It’s not fair and it has a laundry list of negative aspects. However, complaining yields counterproductive results. If you give attention to the bad thoughts and feelings you give power to them. You give them an opportunity to manifest into more negative thoughts which does nothing in your favor for feeling better.

Instead, put those lousy thoughts on the backburner to fry! Take a break from the bad feelings as a chance to tell yourself how strong you are for dealing with such junk – because you are! It takes a brave soul to handle the cards that you have been dealt, so pat yourself on the back and put on a smile for a change.

You deserve to sulk every now and then, but make it few and far between by concentrating on positive thoughts. You deserve to feel happy and feel good for being strong. It might not be easy to do in the beginning, but keep at it and it will get easier. You have much to gain by thinking positive. Positive thoughts manifest and your health will benefit too.

How do you cope when negative thinking creeps into your head? Let us know! If you need a jump start here are some tips from an article titled, “Positive Thinking Can Bring Good Health”. -pm

  • Look for a good role model. There is always someone who seems to be doing just what you want to be doing. Maybe they’ve scheduled exercise into their workday and switched from coffee to herbal tea. Learn from a successful friend, family member or colleague. Ask them how they keep healthy and follow in their footsteps.
  • Try some positive self-talk and avoid negative-talk. Take a minute to give yourself an ego boost. Repeat some motivational words out loud or to yourself. Negative talk, “I can’t do it,” “I’m fat,” is dangerous for your well-being and healthy goals. Try to avoid the negative self-talk before it harms you. Remind yourself that you deserve happiness and can make positive changes.
  • Get support. Tell your friends and family about your healthy habits. It helps to have an encouraging network.
  • Reward yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back for your healthy efforts. Take a nice bath, get a massage, and enjoy a new DVD or CD.
  • Have a plan. Making a plan to exercise or eat healthy lunches with a friend can mean the difference of sticking with your goals or falling off track. If you’ve planned for an activity, you’ll likely stick with it. You may even find that writing down your goals and steps to achieve them can help you stay on track. Take it day by day or week by week. The process of writing down your personal action plan is a good way to keep you honest and watch your progress or pitfalls.
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Necessary Evil

pillshotWhen it comes to managing an illness, the very medicine that adds comfort  and control to life can also strip away longevity. It is disappointing to think about how the medication that you swallow or inject into your body can be slowly killing you while at the same time it is adding value to your well-being in the short term. In order to live a better life, taking the potent poison becomes a necessary evil.

However, on a positive note, medicine is evolving all the time. Hopefully advances will be able to cure diseases and omit the need for drugs while correcting any damage done from taking medicine. I have been injecting and swallowing poisons since I was a child as a means to cope with rhuematoid arthritis.  It scares me to think what is happening to my body when I take something that is supposed to be helping me. At the same time I can’t let the RA continue to attack my joints and potentially cripple my valuable, active lifestyle.

The best way I deal with this issue is by trying to take care of what I do have. Take a look around at the people that abuse their health with excessive alcohol, smoking, or bad food. They are no healthier than I am. I focus on being happy and putting value to the life that I have. I have no choice but to put my fear aside and hope that my efforts will pay off. If I live with a positive attitude then I will get more out of my time alive then I ever will if I sulk and wonder what if.

It’s not that I never get worried about how the disease is controlling my fate or if I’m trading one evil for another. I have to clench my teeth and swallow my pride when I see my knuckles swell. Some of the scary thoughts that worry me I have to push away because I refuse to let them control me. Surrounding myself with supportive and caring people is one of the best ways to fight off the necessary evils in life. No matter who you are or what you are dealing with, there comes a time when you have to make decisions that will leave you wondering “what if?” Don’t live in the “what ifs” of life because the “what it is” of life is waiting for you to make the most of it. -pm

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Finding Understanding


Family and friends are important through our entire lives. The post Forever Friends discussed the value of having strong relationships. It make us feel good knowing that there are people in the world that care about how we feel and who try to understand the things that we might be going through in our life. Understanding is an important characteristic to have amongst good friends.

With a disease like JRA/RA life can be hard to understand. Sometimes we don’t look or feel sick at all. Then other days simple tasks feel like fighting a giant monster. It’s inconsistent at times and it feels like it fakes us out because some things that were easy one day are hard the next. It can be hard to explain to other people. That is why understanding friends are great to have. It is also very important to be understanding with your own self as well as being understanding to the fact that not everybody can relate to you and your disease. Try not to get upset that some people, even doctors, just won’t understand.

I don’t like to let on when I feel bad. That makes it difficult when I need a good, understanding friend but they don’t know about the pain, worries, or frustrations I am feeling. Try to explain to the people you trust how sometimes you just need them to be understanding or ask how you’ve been feeling. Finding understanding with the caring people around you is one of the best medicines for you! -pm


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JRA and PE


When you have JRA, PE class can be hard to like. Hopefully you are lucky and are surrounded by understanding teachers and kids. It’s also important to be understanding of yourself. Some days you might feel super strong at running and then other days you might not be able to go as fast. Try not to get discouraged. Part of having arthritis is to know that your body and joints will have good days and not-so-good days. Always do the best you can. If you are having a bad day, try to do lighter exercises. By doing some movements you will help your body stay limber, that way you will stay fit for the days that you are feeling great.

Whatever you do don’t get too discouraged. It’s ok to feel mad but don’t let mad win! Stay strong on the inside and you will be even stronger on the outside. Take care! -pm

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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)

jrasketchJuvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints. There is not a ton of information out there about what it’s really like living with this disease. When I was about 6 years old I was given the diagnosis and now I’m an adult. I used to be very embarrassed about letting anyone know that I had JRA and would not talk about it. Now I hope by sharing what I deal with I can keep somebody else from ever feeling weird about having arthritis, any other disease, or by just being different. I call it my “Twisted Gift” because having arthritis has forced me to look at life in a way that I might not have otherwise.

Some days you will feel great and some days you won’t. But that’s normal for anyone with or without a disease. There are also thousands of worse diseases that people must live with. Sometimes when I really feel achy and frustrated, I consider the junk that other people are facing and realize that I’m not so bad off after all.

Holler at me and share your thoughts! Thanks for reading. -pm


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