RArainbow

A resource blog for young women living with Arthritis


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The incredible Jeffrey Gottfurcht

Hi everyone!

Today I want to share a story which some of you may or may not know about, since it happened over two years ago. On May 14th, 2011, Jeffrey Gottfurcht became the first person with Rheumatoid Arthritis to reach the peak of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain. Amazing, right? You can read more about Jeffrey’s inspiring story in this article from ABC News.

everestFor many of us, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and other forms of autoimmune arthritis have reduced our mobility due to joint damage and the presence of pain. Yet, we’re still going. We’re still walking with our swollen joints, our limps, our canes and our crutches. We’re still dancing, climbing mountains and we’re still visiting Africa in our wheelchairs. We’re still living our lives, even with the pain.

Of course, there are days when flares make moving impossible – but we have to try to not let those days get us down. We are going to have so many of those days and we have to learn to deal with them. We can’t let them break us – so make sure you don’t let them break you. Even though I have had JRA for so long and have tried so many treatments (and am still trying treatments…) there are still days when I flare and my entire body feels it’s been broken at every joint. During these flares I wonder how I’m going to accomplish anything if I’m in so much pain. It’s during these times I remind myself to breathe and to look at how far I have come with this illness. I put on some music, read a book or do work – anything to distract myself from the pain.

Readers, how do you deal with flares?

If you’re newly-diagnosed or flaring with autoimmune arthritis, it may suddenly feel like your world has gone insane and that many of your life dreams are no longer possible. Hang in there, friends. Persons like Jeffrey Gottfurcht show us that this does not have to be the case. If we fight through the tough times and keep our heads up, we usually make it. We just have to make ourselves strong and keep going.

After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Jeffrey founded the incredible Jeffrey Gottfurcht Children’s Arthritis Foundation, where children with Juvenile Arthritis may apply for wishes. Parents and younger patients, make sure you check it out.

In the article, Jeffrey says, “My ultimate message is that everybody has a Mt. Everest in their life…and no matter what condition you have, you can still go out and try things and live a life full of quality.”

Great advice to think about today. 🙂

Readers, how do you deal with flare days? Leave your suggestions or advice for others in the comments below – thanks!
Hope you are all enjoying your summers!
Ms. Rainbow

[Image by pixabay.com]
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4 Comments

Saluting Karen Baker

Today I want to highlight a beautiful story which I read on ArthritisToday.org. The article is titled Africa by wheelchair and is about Karen Baker’s safari experience in Africa. Click here to read it. Like you and me, Karen has Rheumatoid Arthritis which has affected her mobility and she often uses a cane and wheelchair to get around. Karen’s story really touched me and that’s why I want to share it with all of you today. There is nothing that inspires me more than seeing someone push forward and fight for their dreams even when the stars aren’t perfectly aligned. Sometimes you have to work to align those stars yourself, right? Karen, you are truly a brave woman and I admire your strength! 🙂

 How many of us will choose to leave the safety and comforts of a familiar life to explore another country if we are dependent on a wheelchair? How many of us will do it on our own?

Karen did it, because it was her dream to make that journey. She encountered many challenges along the way, but she didn’t run away from them. She held her head up high and worked through them. What a strong and amazing lady 🙂

When you have (J)RA, there is no shortcut or easy route out of the feelings of pain and sickness. We learn to just put on our game faces and go with it, even though we have no idea what’s going to happen and how things will turn out. We learn to live life with this disease piggybacking along.

Like Karen, I love travelling and learning about different cultures. As I get older I do worry about my mobility and my ability to travel independently. Karen, you have shown me that I have nothing to fear. Whatever happens, we can still find a way to do the things we love. It’s not going to be easy, but you have shown us that where there’s a will, there is indeed a way if you want something badly enough. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with the world and all the best to you! 🙂

I want to leave you all with one of my favourite quotes by Walt Disney:

“All our dreams can come true, if  we have the courage to pursue them.”

Wishing everyone strength and courage as we keep fighting,

Ms. Rainbow