You know the “parking lot a-ha’s” we talk about? The ones where you went to your doctor, and had a good visit, but smacked your forehead as you got to your car because you forgot to tell her something, or mention that one nagging symptom to him?

Well, tonight I’m having that experience – only I wasn’t at the doctor’s.

This was the evening of the New Way RA web chat that I was invited to be part of with Deborah Norville.  CreakyJoints sponsored the conversation, along with New Way RA, a web based television show.  It was a great evening, and I enjoyed hearing so many of your questions. But as I reached the garage after the show, I smacked my forehead because there were a few things I wanted to say, and didn’t get the chance.

So I’m taking my column as the opportunity to do my follow up!

You are the experts.  There is a lot of talk about “experts” on this or on that, but you have the RA, and you are the one who is figuring out how you want to live with it. Yes, there is a lot of information and practical advice, but at the end of the day – you have to make decisions and live them out. So, celebrate your expert status – don’t give it away to anyone else!

You are the heroes of your life.  A shout out to each of you and all of you who are getting up each day and figuring it all out; making your life work, because you are – and that’s an achievement. This disease is awful. It is not only painful, and fatiguing – it lies in wait and slams you just when you think you have it figured out. RA demands to be served – and you all do your due diligence working with medications and exercise and mental health habits and diet and work stuff and maintaining relationships and insurance and insurance and no sleep and flagging hope – and then you get up and do it all again tomorrow. So give yourself a shout and a gentle hug for all of you doing so well.

Don’t’ stop and don’t settle.  I know, I’m preaching to the choir, or another way to say it is, you wouldn’t be here in the CJ community if you weren’t being bold and trying and experimenting and holding each other up on this wonderful crazy journey. But don’t stop – take the inspiration, and the energy you have and take whatever the next step is right in front of you.

 You can ask me a question any time.  It was great to be on web tv (sort of – I was nervous about my hair and how the whole thing was going to work) but we know each other here – and you can email me and ask anything you want. Ask me to explain something I said. Or disagree with me. It’s all here to do. You can always contact me and ask offline – I get my CJ email and respond.

So thanks for being part of this community and for living your lives with courage and grace.