The Things That Heal: Putting Life Back Into “Life with RA”


by Ashley

Sadly, as of now, rheumatoid arthritis is a medical condition without a cure. It is chronic, it is debilitating, it is lifelong. While there may be medications, procedures, devices, diets, supplements, and practices that help to manage or treat RA, there simply isn’t a magic pill or a secret cure-all.

Thus, as of now, RA — even when it lulls and flares, ebbs and flows, goes through ups and downs, maybe even periods of remission– remains a forever-illness.

That said: I believe we can still heal from it.

What does that mean? To me, it means, putting the LIFE back into “Life with RA.”

We may not be cured, and we may not even respond to treatments (conventional or otherwise.) But, that does not mean that we cannot begin the healing process.

When I say “heal,” I don’t mean to pretend that suddenly you’ll have a life without pain or sickness.

I simply mean that we can prioritize things in our life that help to mend our spirit or heal our soul. Things that are good for the mind, body, and spirit. The stuff that the heart wants. The emotional salve. The things that save us.

So, what helps you to heal when life with RA becomes too difficult?

For me, music is healing. Animals are healing. Time spent outdoors in nature is healing.

Travel is healing. Volunteerism is healing. Prayer is healing.

Concerts are healing. Friends are healing. Family is healing. Love is healing.

Fashion is healing. Passion is healing. Writing is healing. Reading is healing.

To me, poetry heals. Laughter heals. The ocean heals. Birdwatching heals. Stargazing heals. Nights by a campfire or bonfire heals.

Massages. Cupping therapy. Acupuncture. Gua sha. Hot baths. Meditation. Naps. Reiki.

Swimming heals. Hitting the batting cages or going horseback riding, or riding a bicycle, or doing yoga or Zumba, when I am able to, all help to heal me.

Hugs heal. Smiles heal. Art heals. Philanthropy heals.

Giving gifts and sending out greeting cards heal me.

Taking pictures heals.

Lighting a candle at church heals.

Learning heals.

Wondering heals.

Taking in a sunset heals.

Social media, sometimes, heals.

Going boating heals.

Puns heal.

Fun heals.

Vacations. Sunshine. Flowers. Holidays. Self-care. A cup of tea or coffee. A glass of wine.

All things that help me heal.

A warm heating pad. Cuddles from my dogs. My cats purring on my lap. A kiss from my husband.

These are the things that help me heal — these things are the “stuff” of my life and the “stuff” of my soul.

They help put the “heal” in health and are Band-Aids for my sometimes-weary, sometimes-broken soul. (After all, living with multiple chronic illnesses is admittedly quite tough, to say the least.)

Healing is a process. It takes time and there is no finite end to it.

Healing is a journey — but one worth taking.

Don’t let RA steal your sparkle; don’t let illness dull your joy.

Life with pain is hard, but it’s better than not living at all.

And even on the bad days — oh, and there will be many — you can still find small ways to heal.

If not … well, there’s always tomorrow, my friend.

Love & light,

– Ashley


Rheumatoid Arthritis