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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects Your Life

Tips on working and living with RA.

In Life With RA, Struggle = Success

Thanks to effective treatments, living well with rheumatoid arthritis is within reach for more people than ever.

Teresa Shaffer, her husband, and children worked together to build a strong family life despite RA.

She wrestled almost daily with RA as a young mom. "When my kids were growing up, I would have to say 'no' to a lot of activities they wanted to do, because I knew I couldn't manage it. And as a mom, that hurt as much as the physical pain," she says.

She and her husband tried to communicate openly, and acknowledge frustrations. "He's 100% supportive, but he gets frustrated when he can't do anything about [the pain]," she says. "Still, I would rather he say something rather than keep it inside, even if I don't really want to hear it."

Now entering her third decade of life with RA, Shaffer says, "I'm the same person I was 20 years ago. My body has changed, but I have the same feelings, I want the same things out of life."

She's hurting, but hasn't canceled her flight to Minnesota for a conference on pain advocacy. The way Shaffer sees it, "As long as I'm struggling against it, I may have RA, but RA doesn't have me."

Reviewed on October 14, 2008

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