November 23, 2005, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I was a sophomore in high school, 15 years old.  It completely changed my life, and now, four years later, I have come to realize that change was for the best.  While living with this disease is complicated, I’ve come to appreciate the little things in life.  It’s made me a strong person, optimistic, and a better Christian.

I created this blog firstly to provide information about Rheumatoid Arthritis.  There are many myths about RA that need to be set straight.  Throughout the four years I’ve had this disease I’ve come across many tips and tricks that making living with RA that much simpler and I am dying to share them with the arthritis community.  For approximately six months last year, I believe I had a remission.  My doctors and I took a chance by going off of  one of my medications, and did great until the cooler weather came through.  Now I’m continuing to work hard, using these tips, and I believe by summer 2010 I’ll be well into another remission.

It is also important to me to provide a sense of support.  In the past, knowing someone else with RA greatly reduced the loneliness I felt, loneliness that, sadly, can go hand in hand with Rheumatoid Arthritis.   Staying positive while we deal with the ups and downs of our disease is key, and through sharing some of my stories, I hope  I can help you find good in the little things, too.  Rheumatoid Arthritis is a hard disease, but a positive attitude can make all the difference in the world.

And finally, I want to educate those without Rheumatoid Arthritis.  If you do not have the disease you could never understand exactly what we go through, but I want to help you see what our lives are like and hopefully you can gain a little respect for this illness.  Rheumatoid Arthritis is not a disease that should be taken lightly.  It doesn’t only affect our bones, there’s so much more to it.  It’s life changing.  Understanding this is the greatest gift you could give to someone with RA.

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vicki Williams
    Feb 03, 2010 @ 15:22:22

    Thankyou Cari. Your positive outlook on life is great, I’m relatively new to this disease and it’s scared the heebie jeebies out of me!!! So many people have scared me with tales of ‘deadly’ meds and their awful crappy lives. This blog has made me feel alot more positive about having RA 🙂


    • Cari Elliott
      Feb 04, 2010 @ 14:11:24

      I’m so glad that I was able to help! I heard several stories myself when I was first diagnosed. A teacher of mine rambled on to me for about twenty minutes about a friend’s grandfather who had severe problems . She scared me to death as well! But people don’t realize that their grandmothers and grandfathers and so on were diagnosed way before our little miracle TNF blockers came along. Huge advancements in treatment of this disease have changed the way RA patients live, and it makes life with RA much less scary. Thanks for reading!


  2. Taylor Fancey
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 14:06:54

    Hey Cari!
    Stumbled upon this and think it’s great! We’re the same age I’d say, I was diagnosed at 12 in 2002 and have arthritis in just a couple joints but it’s pretty bad. It’s soo nice to know there’s other people out there going through the same stuff – I feel like I research it like crazy.


  3. Diane
    Feb 08, 2010 @ 13:00:20

    Good for you Cari girl! Great site and great info. I relate and can feel for you. I had symptoms in High School but did not get diagnosed until I was 19. I am now…49 (gulp!). The worst part for me when I was so young was I felt so alone! Nobody understood, there was nobody to relate what I was going thru SO I managed and HURT (physically and emotionally) alone! I am so glad we have the techology now so we can share and not feel alone! It sucks to have such a disease at such a young age…I know. I was so active and it changed my life but like you – I concentrated on the positives. I have to say you are lucky cause there are FINALLY some good drugs out there to help. In my 20’s and 30’s all they would do for me was give me prednisone and pain pills. The gold shots and other meds did not work. Anyway,,,blah blah blah…you have a fan in this ole grannie! All my best to you!


    • Cari Elliott
      Feb 08, 2010 @ 21:16:11

      Thank you so much, Diane! I appreciate all the feedback. And yes, I am VERY lucky to have my wonderful TNF Blocker, Enbrel. I realize that I have it much easier than past RA patients as well as some current RA patients for that matter. Thank you very much for reading! 🙂


  4. Jules
    Feb 15, 2010 @ 17:13:46


    Thanks for this blog. It really does help knowing that there are other people out there, going through the same thing.

    I have a supportive family, but, because I look “normal”, people tend to forget that I am ill and need lots of rest.

    I am on Metho and Remicade. I was on Enbrel for 3 years…it kinda helped, but the Metho and Remicade are REALLY helping. I hate the side effects, but, I can manage the pain better.

    Praying for pain free days,….take care.



    • Cari Elliott
      Feb 15, 2010 @ 17:53:35

      That’s GREAT that the combination Metho and Remicade are helping your RA, although I’m sure I can speak for all of us in saying that those side effects really can stink sometimes. But it’s so much better than dealing with the pain.

      I definitely think that because our disability is invisible that it’s harder for people to understand us. For any friends, family, co-workers (peers and teachers, for people like me) that do not understand, why not try writing a letter to them? That’s pretty much what I did in my “Don’t have RA?” tab at the top of my page. Everything you want them to know or understand about you and your illness, write it down, and then email it to them. Or if you don’t feel like you can be that direct, start a blog like I did and then link it to your Facebook/Twitter/MySpace. It’s already helped me tons and it opens up communication for the future.


  5. Megan G
    Feb 23, 2010 @ 19:30:33

    Great blog. I was diagnosed when I was 16, which was over 18 years ago. There wasn’t a lot of support then for teens with JRA and I’ve most RA meds on the market. I am also currently in love with Enbrel and take Methotrexate.

    I look forward to reading more!



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