‘I lost myself in those first few years after my diagnosis. I was nervous, frightened and overwhelmed. I hated not being able to go for a walk with my kids. I hated being utterly exhausted all the time. I felt old, miserable, crippled and useless…
For a while RA shattered my confidence in life and made me wary of the future. But I think it’s vital that I learn something from this experience. I’ve accepted it and that has been a huge help. I’ve stopped asking how this happened and started asking what can I do to live the best life possible?’
– Sinéad Moriarty from the introduction
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints.
Some 2,000 people are diagnosed with RA in Ireland each year; three in four are of working age. In total, RA affects 45,000 people in this country. For someone newly diagnosed with RA, coming to terms with the news can seem overwhelming. While there may be relief in being able to name what is wrong, there is also acknowledgement that this is a chronic life-long condition, for which there is no cure.
My RA Story is a powerful collection of accounts by people living with RA of the impact of this disease on their lives. The contributors write about the physical and emotional impact of the condition – the pain, fatigue, despair and depression that it has brought. Lives, careers and families are often irrevocably changed as a result. It is not all grim, however, because in coming to terms with this condition people learn how to deal with adversity, they become more present in their own lives, learn what is important, they find hope.
This book is about giving people hope – especially to those who are newly diagnosed with the condition, and uncertain and fearful of what the future holds.
All proceeds from the sale of this book go to Arthritis Ireland (registered charity no. 20011123)