Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Funny Gimp Stories

Autoimmune diseases affect all aspects of our lives. Because of the way they affect balance, hand grip, stamina, etc, we all have funny stories to relate.

One of mine comes from when I was a dialysis nurse. I made rounds with the physician and we stopped by a patient's chair. When I stepped back so we could make our way to the next patient's chair, I landed on my rear.

While I had no injuries, other than my pride, the poor patient thought I'd tripped over her feet and every time I went near her, she tucked her feet as far under the chair as she could.

When my co-workers realized I wasn't injured, they all had a good laugh. I wish I could tell you that was the last time I gave them a good laugh....

I fell more times than I can remember. One day, I dropped a twenty-four hour urine jug spilling urine all over the floor... there's a lot of pee in one of those jugs! Not to mention, I had to tell the patient that he had to re-do the test.

I could go on with my klutzy episodes, but I know most of you have some funny stories to share - so please do!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

RA and Lupus Diagnosis Criteria

Lately I've heard some strange stories from friends who were told they couldn't have Lupus or RA for various reason. One friend was told she didn't have Lupus because she didn't have psychosis or seizures. 

With all of the misinformation floating around, I thought I would share the diagnosis criteria for each of these diseases.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

 At least four of the following criteria must be met in order to diagnose a patient with RA
  1. Morning stiffness or stiffness after sitting for a prolonged period that lasts at least one hour and has been present for at least six weeks.
  2. Swelling of three or more joints for at least six weeks.
  3. At least one swollen area in the wrist, hand, or fingers
  4. Symmetrical joint swelling
  5. Presence of rheumatoid nodules
  6. Abnormal Rheumatoid Factor levels in the blood
  7. X-ray changes in the hands - although this is now thought to be evident only in disease progression.


 Any combination of four of the following eleven criteria are a good indication the patient may have Lupus:

  1. Rash - fixed redness either flat or raised over the nose and cheeks
  2. Discoid rash - red, circular raised patches with scaling, hair follicle plugging and possible scaring.
  3. Photosensitivity - exposure to sun or ultraviolet light causes the rash.
  4. Oral and nasopharangyeal ulcers
  5. Arthritis of two or more joints with tenderness and swelling
  6. Pleuritis, pericarditis or serositis
  7. Renal disorder with protein >0.5g/d or 3+ cellular casts in urine
  8. Neurologic disorder: either seizures or psychosis without other causes
  9. Hematologic disorder - either hemolytic anemia, leukopenia, lymphopenia, or thrombocytopenia without a drug-induced cause.
  10. Immunologic disorder - Anti-dsDNA, anti-SM, and/or anti-phospholipid
  11. Antinuclear antibodies: An abnormal ANA titer in absence of drugs known to induce.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Faces of Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA can affect any joint and many of the organs. I found this great video and thought I would share it with you. I

Friday, April 13, 2012

HWAMC #13 Ten Things I Can't Live Without. . . .

There is only one thing that I can't live without. . . my relationship with Jesus Christ. Without that, nothing else matters.

Having said that, there are many other relationships that are very important to me. My family, my church family, and my friends who are considered family are very important parts of my life.

Things may make our lives more comfortable and we may enjoy the things in our lives but relationships with other people make life worth living.

These are just a few of those relationships. If I posted pictures of all of the important relationships to me, it would take pages upon pages of posts.

Eric at Disney WorldDennis At Disney WorldFather and SonScooby

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stream of Consciousness Day HWAMC Day 12

Today's writing prompt is a "stream of consciousness" post. Basically, we write around a sentence without stopping or editing. For me, this is quite difficult. I have an internal editor that doesn't like to be turned off.

Horse looking in car mirror

Today I looked in the mirror. . . .

I don't particularly like what I see.

My fingers may be puffy and a little twisted, but when I hold a dying patient's hand, those fingers are beautiful.

My body may be overweight, painful, and not work like it should, but when I embrace a patient's family member, my body is beautiful because it comforts.

I have never been considered beautiful, my health issues may leave dark circles, and age has traipsed across my face leaving a few wrinkles, but those things are trivial when you consider what my patients face each day.

As a hospice nurse, my patients don't care if I look like Tyra Banks. They do, however, expect me to be loving and compassionate.

The next time you look in the mirror, look beyond the face staring back at you. Look at the person within. The one your parents love. The one your spouse and children love. Try to see yourself through the eyes of those who think you are the most beautiful person in the world.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Theme Song

Today's WEGO challenge is what theme song would you have for your blog or health focus?

Man playing guitar on the beach

Jeremiah 29:11" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Lord, today I will praise You.
I will praise You.
You, Lord, and You alone will I praise.
I lift up Your name, holy and worthy of all praise

You, oh Lord, have blessed me,
Loved me,
Treasured me,
 You, oh Lord, You alone have saved me.
I was lost but You found me
I was broken but You healed me
I was stranded in a pit of self-destruction,
But You, oh Lord, You saved me.

Lord, today I will praise You.
I will praise You.
You, Lord, and You alone will I praise.
I lift up Your name, holy and worthy of all praise

You, oh Lord, are worthy of all honor and praise.
You alone are worthy.
You are my salvation.
My hope.
My all in all.

Lord, today I will praise You.
I will praise You.
You, Lord, and You alone will I praise.
I lift up Your name, holy and worthy of all praise

You, oh Lord, have blessed me,
Loved me,
Treasured me.

Lord, today I will praise You.
I will praise You.
You, Lord, and You alone will I praise.
I lift up Your name, holy and worthy of all praise

My theme song could only be one of praise because in the midst of the storms of this life, Jesus has held firm and loved me in spite of me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dear Me

A couple walking along the beach in Southern California
Today's topic in the WEGO 30 Day Challenge is to write a letter to myself at sixteen.

Dear Me,

Today is your sixteenth birthday. Take a long look at yourself. You need to realize that you are a treasured child of God. (Isaiah 44:2) "This is what the LORD says-- he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you." 

The despair you encounter will not destroy you but will make you stronger. Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Instead of focusing on ways of to end this life, look to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When you focus on Him, you will begin to see your life differently.

Once you begin to realize that God made you for a purpose and you begin to look outside of yourself, reach out and help others. Do something for the less fortunate. Work at the soup kitchen, visit nursing homes, volunteer to help with the kids at church. Go on youth mission trips. 

When you turn eighteen, go to college. Don't get mired down in the misconception that you need to be married right away. There is time down the road. For now, go to school and have fun while you're doing it. Get involved with young adult classes at church.

Each year, take time to reflect on who you are in Jesus and how you've helped others in the previous year. Remember that you were placed on this earth for a purpose. A purpose greater than you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

Today's challenge was to design a poster at

Keep Calm and Carry On
Often when living with a chronic illness, it is difficult to remain calm. Sometimes it seems as though every visit to the doctor brings more bad news and more to deal with.

We must remember to live our lives for today. We have no assurances of tomorrow so if we remain calm and carry on for today, then the worries of health don't seem quite as overwhelming.

If we focus on today, we won't be worrying about what tomorrow will bring. While this is not an easy accomplishment, if we succeed, our lives will have less stress.

Have a blessed day.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Best Conversation

A group of men talking

The WEGO 30 Day Health Challenge for today was to write about the best conversation I had this week.

Since I talk quite a bit, this one was a little bit hard for me. I have had quite a few good conversations.

Mine for this week was a short and simple little conversation but it meant the world to me.

It happened just a little earlier today. My husband drove to the store and the dog and I rode along.

Dennis caught me by the hand.

I smiled at him. "My best friend."

"First and foremost. You were my friend first. I just liked you when I first met you."

I squeezed his hand. "I love you."

He gave me his sweet smile and said, "I love you too."

Such a simple conversation. One we've had millions of times but it always brings a smile to my face. 

I hope you have a blessed week.

photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via photopin cc

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Isolation of Chronic Illness

Woman sitting alone
When living with a chronic illness, there are many times when the isolation is a little overwhelming. 

I recently rented a scooter when we in Disney World and I found just being in a scooter had a tendency to leave me feeling a little isolated. 

At times I waited behind the scenes for a ride while they had my family wait in the regular lines. Having said this, I would like to emphasis that while we had to wait in alternate lines and at times waited longer than the regular lines, Disney World is one of the most handicapped friendly places I've been to. The staff members in the hotel and the parks were courteous and helpful.

Other times, I noticed that people just did not see me. They would cross in front of me causing me to have to stop to keep from hitting them. I don't think they were being rude, they just didn't see me. As I looked around, I noticed the other people in scooters were facing the same things.

A mobility scooter
My Ride for Disney World
Other times, when I haven't felt well-enough to attend church, I felt isolated from my church family. Our church has resolved that issue for us by having live services streaming at and they have developed an app for the iPhone and iPad where we can watch the sermons.

In addition to watching the live sermon, there is a chat option so you can connect with other worshipers.

What other ways can we overcome the isolation of chronic illness?

Friday, April 6, 2012


Today's challenge is to write a haiku or two.....

Snowy da
Cold rain drizzles outside
Winter dances in the city today
Creating achy joints

Spring breezes blow through
Sun kisses the dry parched land
Gritty eyes view windy days

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Writing About Health

Today's challenge: "I write about my health because. . . ."

I write about my health because I want to help others. If I can share my experiences and some information on diagnosing, treating or living with Rheumatoid arthritis, perhaps someone who reads my blog will find hope and help.

There have been many comments left on my blog that have touched my heart. 

"I just found your blog and wanted to say, Thank you, what a wonderful and brave post. Depression is a liar, trying to make you believe things that aren't true. I've had my own battles since I was young - on and off for 30 years. Having got the lovely gift of RA, the depression has been rearing it's ugly head. I'm determined to put it back where it belongs. Love and hugs to you. on Depression Revisited"
"I am so happy I found your blog on Facebook. I also suffer from depression since being diagnosed with RA. Thank you for this post. on Depression Revisited"

 Comments like the ones above are the reason I write about my health. This life isn't about me. It's about using the abilities and obstacles that God has allowed in my life, to help others.

If by writing about my health and my life, I can help one person, the time I spend on my blog is worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Super Hero

A woman in a super hero suit
Today's challenge asks if we had a superpower what would it be and how would we use it. This is a tough one for me to write on because my heroes are everyday ordinary people who do extraordinary things in spite of the obstacles in their way.

Dois Rosser founded ICM, International Cooperating Ministries. This soft-spoken, southern gentleman was a successful businessman in Hampton Roads, Virginia. In 1986 He saw an immense need in India for places of worship for Christians. He then founded ICM and began building churches around the world.

My husband and I had the honor of meeting Mr. Rosser when we won a trip to Ukraine with ICM. Seeing first-hand his love for the people of that country and his selfless giving, in spite of being older granted him a place in my heart as a hero.

The others who I hold as heroes are all people who give of themselves out of love for people they don't know. I believe the greatest superpower available is love. No matter the state of our physical bodies, we can reach out to others and love them. Love is the greatest of the superpowers.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Today's challenge was to write about a quotation that inspires me. Instead of one quote, I thought I would look at an entire song.Francesca Battistelli's Free to Be Me inspires me. It reminds me that I am free to be me. I'm not longer twenty but perfection is still my enemy.

In spite of my physical limitations, quirky (some would say nerdy) personality, my shyness and awkwardness, God has given me the freedom to be me. Because of my relationship with Him, I can accept me for who I am and learn to accept my limitations and develop my abilities. I'm free to be me.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Health Time Capsule

If we developed a health time capsule to be opened in 2112, what would we include in it? How would the folks who open it view our "state of the art" healthcare?

Since I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, let's look at the technology we now have for diagnosing and treating RA.

A time capsule for RA should include all of the tests that are currently done to diagnose and monitor the condition. An RA titer, ANA, CRP, Sed Rate, CCP, and a CBC to name a few.

We should also include examples of some of the more common DMARDs. A bottle of hydroxychlorquine, sulfasalzine, leuflonamide and methotrexate are all good examples. 

Next, we need the biologics. Humira, Enbrel, Remicaide, Rituxan, Simponi, Actemra, Cimzia, Kineret, and Orencia.

We probably need to toss in an X-ray machine, MRI, and an ultrasound since those are used to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of RA.

Since many people with RA have severe limitations, we need to throw in a handicapped parking permit, a scooter, a wheelchair, canes and crutches. In addition to mobility aides, the time capsule wouldn't be complete without jar openers, IMAK gloves, braces, heating pads, rice bags, specialty utensils, gas cap turners, non-slip mats, just to name a few of the specialty devices we use every day.

Since our huge time capsule is overflowing, we'll seal it up with this little sampling of things used for RA diagnosis, treatment and daily life.

What will the people who open our time capsule in 2112 think of the contents? I hope they would experience shock at toll taken by a disease that is no longer around.

Maybe they will find many of the diagnostic techniques archaic and torturous as we do many of the treatments from a hundred years ago. For example, in 1912, oxidizng the blood was considered state of the art. This was done by electrification. 

Much of our current technology has only been recently developed. One example of recent technology is a common diagnostic tool used today. The MRI was only developed in 1970's by Dr. Raymond Damadian. In 1977 he built the first full-body MRI machine.

Since technology increases almost daily, I'm confident that great strides will be made in the diagnosis and treatment of RA and possibly the eradication of the disease completely by 2112.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

30 Day Challenge!

Hey everyone - I just wanted to tell you about a new activity I'll be doing this April. The Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health. I will be writing a post a day for all 30 days. I hope you'll join me in writing every day about health. It's going to be a lot of fun and I'd love to see what you have to say about each of the topics, too. All you have to do to join is sign up here: and you'll be able to start posting once April rolls around. Looking forward to writing with you!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Becoming Your Own Advocate

If you do a Google search for self-advocacy, you will find many sites that tell you how to be your own advocate if you are mentally ill, have autism or a brain injury. However, there aren't any sites that tell us how to be our own advocate if we have autoimmune arthritis.

Anyone with a chronic illness needs to learn to be their own advocate. There are some very simple steps that you can take to start you down the path to self-advocacy.

The first step, keep a health journal. In your journal, document all of your symptoms. For example, if you are having pain, document the pain including the rate and quality of the pain.  By rate, I mean on a scale of 0 to 5 with zero being no pain and five being the worst imaginable pain. Quality of pain refers to the type of pain: stabbing, pins and needles, ache, etc. And last location of the pain.

Document if you have fatigue and use the same 0 to 5 scale with zero being no fatigue and five being the worst imaginable fatigue. 

When you are having symptoms, check your temperature often and document it along with the pain and fatigue.

These symptoms may be documented on a simple chart such as the one below.

(0 to 5)
(0 to 5)

In the notes section, document any other symptoms or anything else that is going on with you at that particular time.

The second step to self-advocacy, in addition to your journal, keep a list of questions you would like to ask your rheumatologist. In between visits, when you think of a question you would like to ask, jot it down. When you go to your visit, take your notebook with you and ask the doctor those questions.

If you are having a flare and you have joints that are inflamed, take pictures of the joints. Print those out with date and time so that it can be correlated to your health chart.

The third step to self-advocacy, keep copies of all of your medical records. They are your records and you have the right to a copy of anything and everything in that record. Some physicians will charge you a fee to copy your entire chart but most will give you copies of your most recent labs, x-rays, etc at no charge.

If you don't want to deal with all of the paper, scan the records into your computer and keep them in a file on your computer. You can even purchase a medic alert bracelet that has a USB drive attached and save all of your medical records onto it.

The fourth step could be one of the most important steps. Ask your physician to review the results of any testing with you and to explain what those results mean. It's important that he discusses all of these results with you and that you understand what they mean. If you don't understand what he is saying, stop him and ask him to explain.

These are some simple steps that will help you start down the path to self-advocacy. It's very important that you become your own advocate. Your health is the most important to you and your family so you must take charge of your health care. Ask questions and expect answers. Keep asking until you are satisfied that you understand the answers.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Image Inspiration

By Mars Observer

 Today's challenge was to find an image on Flickr for inspiration.

The photo by Mars Observer reminds me navigating the healthcare system when you are ill. There are glimpses of light and understanding but for the most part, the path is foggy and uncertain.

Autoimmune diseases create even more fog and shadows because they are difficult to diagnose and positive or negative lab tests may or may not mean anything significant. This fog, coupled with the fatigue and pain of the AI creates frustration and stress.

One way to cope with the stress of maneuvering the medical maze is to keep a health journal. Write down questions for your physician and document any and all symptoms. Keep copies of your labs, x-rays, MRI's, etc. 

You can purchase a medic alert bracelet that has a USB drive built in. These drives are usually large enough to hold copies of quite a few medical records.

It's also a good idea to have a family member or good friend accompany you to all physician appointments. They may ask questions you don't think of and they may hear or remember things the physician says that your stressed, brain cannot absorb.

By planning ahead, it is possible to navigate the foggy healthcare road successfully.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hip Pain

Hip pain may be caused by many factors. The location of the pain gives a clue as to the cause of the pain. Many factors can contribute to the underlying cause.

Enthesitis is an inflammation at the insertion point of a muscle. There is a strong tendency for calcification. There is usually pain only when the muscle is used.

True hip pain caused by the hip joint, is located in the groin area. It is usually located over the inguinal ligament. Occasionally iliopsoas bursitis may mimic true hip pain. 

The iliopsoas bursa lies between the psoas muscle-tendon and the pubic bone on top within the femur. 

Meralgia paresthetica is usually felt on the outer part of the thigh and is characterized by tingling, numbness and a burning pain. It's caused by compression of the nerve and can be caused by tight clothing, obesity, pregnancy, trauma or disease.

Sacroiliac pain can range from sharp to an ache and it may radiate out into the buttocks, low back, and groin. The sacroiliac joints are located in the back on either side of the spine and help form the pelvic girdle.

Buttock pain is usually referred pain from the lumbo-sacral spine or lower back.

Trochanteric bursitis is usually localized to laterally over the trochanteric bursa. Due to the depth of this bursa, warmth and swelling are usually absent. Diagnosis can be confirmed by inducing point tenderness.

Ischiogluteal bursitis is inflammation of the bursa covering the ischial tuberosity. (the bone that protrudes on the buttock when sitting) This type of bursitis causes pain in the buttocks.

Sciatic is pain, numbness, weakness and tingling in the thigh. It may be caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When Should A Cane Be Used with RA?

In one of our on-line support groups we have been discussing when to use a cane or walker with RA.

After doing some research, I found an article that urges RA patients to use a cane as soon as standing up and walking becomes challenging. Canes may protect the joints, even before significant damage is evident. Using a can also helps relieve pain in the hips, knees, and ankles.

It is important that your cane be the correct height. If it is too short, you will be hunched over and if it is too tall, your shoulder will be hiked up. Either will cause unnecessary pain. 

To measure a cane, hold your arm straight. The handle of the cane should come to your wrist. When using the cane, your arm will be crooked at a 30 degree or less angle.

Also make sure the handle is comfortable. RA hands have special needs and the grip should not hurt when it is used every day. I have two canes. My first cane had a wooden handle and it hurt after a few hours of use. I now have a gel-handled cane and it is much more comfortable.

So why do we balk at using this assistive device? Is it because when we use a cane, our disabilities become more real, more visible? 

While it is difficult to take the next step and begin using a cane, it is important for those of us who suffer from RA to think about long-term consequences. Use of a cane provides stability and few falls and also helps prevent joint damage.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cricoarytenoid Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect any join in the body, including the joints that make up the larynx or voice box. (Click on photo below to enlarge)

2008 Trailsight Medical Media

 The cricoarytenoid joint is the joint between the cricoid and arytenoid cartilages. This joint is rotated by the vibration of the vocal cords thus changing the tone of the voice. 

While cricoarytenoid arthritis is typical in RA, (between seventeen and seventy-five percent of RA sufferers develop it) a large number of RA patients do not realize their symptoms of hoarseness, pharyngeal fulness in the throat when speaking or swallowing, pain in the ears, and shortness of breath may be directly related to laryngeal RA. Hoarseness is the most frequently noted symptom.

Emergent airway closure is not seen often but can develop in patients with CA joint involvement. Patients with persistent hoarseness, pain when swallowing, talking or coughing, shortness of breath, or a sensation of fullness in the throat should contact their physician.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Blood Tests in Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are a myriad of lab tests associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. What do these tests mean and why are they done?

One test your rheumatologist will probably order is the Rheumatoid Factor (RF). In seventy to eighty percent of people diagnosed with RA this test will be positive but twenty to thirty percent of RA sufferers will have a negative RF. Results may also change over the course of the disease.

Another test you may have done is the Anti-CCP Antibody test. This test may or may not be positive in RA but if it is positive, the likelihood of having RA is around ninety percent. The anti-CCP also indicates that the disease is likely to progress more rapidly.

The ANA or Anti-nuclear Antibody tests measure the immune-system chemicals that indicate autoimmune disease. Around thirty to forty percent of RA patients test positive for ANA. This test may also be positive in many other auto-immune diseases.

ESR or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate tests for inflammation by measuring how quickly red blood cells separate out of the blood and settle to the bottom of the tube.

Another test for inflammation is the CRP or C-Reactive Protein. This is a protein produced in the liver during periods of high inflammation or infection. These levels change more quickly than the ESR so this is a test used to measure the effectiveness of treatment.

A CBC or complete blood count is another test usually done. This gives the rheumatologist information regarding your hemoglobin, red blood cell count, platelet and white blood cell count. In RA, the platelets may be increased and since the white blood cells indicate immune system activity, they may also be increase. The hemoglobin may be decreased, indicating anemia.

A fairly new test on the market is the Vectra DA test. This test is a multi-biomarker blood test for RA disease activity. It measures twelve proteins associated with RA disease activity and integrates them into a single objective score. It has been validated for adults diagnosed with RA and is not a diagnostic tool but rather a disease activity indicator.

This list of tests is not all inclusive as your rheumatologist will determine which blood tests are appropriate for you. Other tests that may be done include, liver enzymes and kidney function tests, just to name a few.

Your rheumatologist will use all of the testing done in conjunction with your clinical picture to work with you and determine a plan of action for your treatment.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Assistive Devices

Assistive devices not only make life easier for the person suffering from autoimmune arthritis but they can also protect the joints from further damage.

Here are some of the devices that I either use or think would be helpful.

I have a bottle opener that I use on a daily basis. On one end it is flat so that it will slide under the pull tab on a drink can and the other end has a sharpish bag opener. (Well mind did have that until I dropped it and broke it.)

The Good Grips peeler is another device I have. Before I got this, my hubby had to do all of the veggie peeling. Now I can do some of it but I still have trouble chopping up a lot of the veggies.

The gas cap turner will probably be the next device I buy. At the gas station the other day, I came very close to asking a man in the bay next to me for help because I had trouble removing the gas cap.

 I also use a medication cap opener similar to the one above. Mine has a magnifier in one end so you can see the name of the medication without too much trouble.

I used to have wax bath for hands but it wouldn't work for feet. The large wax bath system is on my RA wish list since they are large enough for feet, hands and even elbows.

I have used the bird pen in the past when I had many hours of nursing documentation to do by hand. It did help relieve the stress on my fingers.

For those who have trouble getting in and out of bed, a bed cane can be a great benefit.

Carry handles for grocery bags can make bringing the groceries in a little less painful. The bags have such thin handles that they cut into the poor painful hands and this alleviates that problem.

Arthritis gloves keep the joints warm and provide light compression for those inflamed joints. In the winter, I wear mine under my regular gloves to help keep my hands even warmer.

Gripping playing cards can cause pain in arthritic fingers and these will help alleviate that pain.

Door knob turners help prevent undue stress on fingers and hand joints. They also make it a little easier to open doors.

Canes can be beneficial for those times when the feet, ankles, knees or hips are flaring and mobility is limited. I keep a cane in my car even though I don't use it much. I have learned to use it more when we travel to help prevent falls.

I do recommend getting a cane with a gel grip. I have two. One with a wooden handle and one with the gel grip. The gel grip cane was purchased after using the wooden handled cane in Disneyland. The hard wooden handle made my hands ache.

There are many more devices that can make the life of the RA sufferer a little easier. These can be found on the internet and many local drug stores carry quite a few of these devices.

Try out some of them and I think you'll find that they make life much easier.