As the 12th October comes around again, I am reflecting on what the day means to me, and how this meaning has changed over the years.
Following my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in 2002, I spent my first couple of World Arthritis Day’s congratulating myself on simply surviving. My pain, limitation and emotions were still extremely raw, so it was a day where I revisited my grief and tried hard to remind myself that although this was hard, I was getting through it, one moment at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.
Over time, as I felt stronger in my ability to manage this diagnosis in my life, the 12th October became a day no longer about me and my struggles, but a day to educate my friends, family and colleagues. I would remind them by email, of the seriousness of this illness and ask them to follow my lead by educating others about the reality of chronic arthritis, as well as the misperceptions of the 100+ diseases that fall under the umbrella term “arthritis”.
Today 13 years on, I am thrilled to share with you an exciting resource being launched today, on World Arthritis Day. I am honored to be have been asked to be part of Empowered– a brand new, interview style, reliable source of information about Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis and Psoriatic Arthritis from Arthritis Australia.
Bringing together rheumatologists, general practitioners, allied health professionals and consumers living with these chronic health conditions, Empowered is all about sharing knowledge, information and experience, to empower you to understand your illness, make good decisions in the self-management of your health; and ultimately live a full and happy life, despite arthritis.
So, today I choose to be thankful for those who support me everyday in my health journey; access to effective medications to treat my disease; and innovative, reliable information sources like Empowered. Check it out at http://empowered.org.au.