When someone with rheumatoid arthritis is surrounded by people determined to live above the illness, an interesting thing happens.

The person embraces this challenge. Connects more. Smiles more. Reaches for newer paths. Holds their care circle—family, friends, treatment team—tighter. Maybe even shares what they’ve learned with others taking their first steps along this journey.

The RA Guy Foundation strengthens these circles of support. And that makes all the difference in the world.

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Learning to live with and adapt to a chronic illness is a challenge. But it can be done. Accept your feelings—and talk about them. Stay active. Eat smart. Stick with a treatment plan that works for you. Hold on to the things that make you happy. And find and celebrate the hidden gifts this illness has given you.

—de Ridder, et al. Psychological Adjustment to Chronic Disease. Lancet. 2008

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We all have stories of how this illness has impacted us—and how we rose above the challenge. What’s your story?

How has your outlook on life changed since your diagnosis? I like to say that I have RA—it doesn’t have me! RA may impact my choices, but I am still the one making them. Though I really had a hard time talking about my diagnosis at first, these days talking about my RA is one of my main coping mechanisms. I now find that if I am open and honest about the challenges I am facing I can find strength from them, rather than feeling buried by them.

Mariah Leach blogs at From This Point. Forward.


Every dollar donated online goes directly to our programs to support people living with rheumatoid arthritis.