Where poets, writers & artists won’t let chronic illness stand in the way of creativity 

**Gratefully Creative**

Welcome to Poet’s Corner (& Artists too) ~ Issue #36


From Our Editor:

Our special guest this month is no stranger to the rheumatoid arthritis community. It is our superhero, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy. He is going to share a very inspiring story through photography from his recent trip to the United States (he resides in South America).

He has also recently started a non-profit, the RA Guy Foundation, which I had the honor of being involved with along with several others, featuring our Stories of Courage. You can find out more right here:


Thanksgiving will soon be here and I just want us to be thinking about, what we are grateful for? Living with a chronic illness can truly be challenging at times, but it does not have to consume us. That is what this place is all about, letting your creativity shine, in spite of your limitations.

I hope you enjoy this special issue of *Gratefully Creative*



CJ Poetry Editor



In this issue:

Cities and Mountains, Part 2(Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy)

Invisible Illness Word Collage (Judith Flanagan)

A Grateful Tale of 5 Years (Story by Brenda Kleinsasser)


Editor’s Note: Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy


Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is a walker, a dreamer, a reader, a writer, and a designer. He resides in South America with his husband and his three dogs, and enjoys traveling to his home country of the United States to visit friends and family. He shares his adventures of living with chronic pain and disabling inflammation at www.rheumatoidarthritisguy.com.


Here is a little recap, before we continue with Part 2 of Cities and Mountains.

August 2014 Original Post: CreakyJoints Poets


People often ask me, what do you do? Depending upon my mood, I have many different answers. I am an architect. I am a photographer. I am a teacher. I am a writer. I am a designer.

But there is one response that remains constant, no matter how I am feeling.

I am a walker.

Even when rheumatoid arthritis took away my ability to walk with my body, I continued to walk with my mind. For years, I was determined to leave my bed, and to get back out in the open.

I am now there, back out in the open…and whether I’m walking through the mountains of South America, or through the skyscrapers of New York City, I quietly smile on the inside, because I know I’m doing exactly what I was meant to do.

November 2015 Update: I am STILL walking, and I am STILL smiling.



Cities and Mountains, Part 2 by Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy


Editor’s Note: Judith Flanagan

Judith Flanagan is from Australia and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2012. She enjoys photography, animals, creativity, music, movies and the World Wide Web. Before her diagnosis she was studying Web Design and Networking, but was unable to continue.

Judith volunteers with the International Foundation of Autoimmune Arthritis. Her motto is: United We Stand Hand to Hand, which represents you’ve got a friend in me and truly understands, what it means to live with a chronic illness.

Invisible Illnesses

Invisible Illness Word Collage created by Judith Flanagan




Editor Brenda on “Trevor’s Golden Corner” 

For those of you who are not familiar with Trevor, he is a Golden Retriever who helps Brenda out with spreading Tales of Awareness.

Trevor’s Golden Corner:  A Grateful Tale of 5 Years


This tale is about my becoming a part of Brenda’s life, almost 5 years ago. As you know, I help her spread tales of awareness and hope. Yes, there is always hope! These past 5 years have been so wonderful, in that I have been involved in so many of her projects. Brenda not only has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for over twenty-four years, but she is now a seven-year meningioma brain tumor survivor. Believe it or not, that is where her creative writing started. She was reading something to her late mother (Brenda misses her so much) and she said, “I didn’t know you could write like that, it just flows.” Brenda didn’t know she could either. I guess it can happen after having something traumatic as having had a craniotomy. It can even happen to those who have had strokes. There are studies that have been done on this, but I am only a dog, so the only thing I study are bones. BOL Anyway, this is how her blog got started. Another interesting story, is how the title came about. She was in the shower. They say that ideas and creativity can be sparked while in the shower, hence the name: Brenda’s Brainstorm, which has since changed to Brenda’s Brainstorm & Trevor, as I tell most of the tales.

BOL brendasbrainstorm.blogspot.com  Check it out, we share all kinds of tales about awareness and even how she got involved with CreakyJoints.

It has been a joy helping her out, whenever I can. Brenda rewards me with dog collars. I have 3 of them now. My first one was made by her mother, so that one is extra special, as I was a part of her life for a brief time. I visited while she was in the nursing home and many people stopped by her door to see me too. BOL

We make a great team and I even got my picture taken with Brenda, right before her local TV interview with NBC ND news. I wasn’t allowed to be there during filming, but I was so proud of her that day. She did something she had never done before. She told her story with passion and truly made a difference for all North Dakotans.

Brenda will continue to do great things and I will only be too happy to help her, accomplish whatever she sets out to do. She’s been talking about having a pawty for me, in honor of my 5 years of being her companion. I am so grateful she is in my life. She has overcome so many obstacles and just keeps plugging along.

This is Trevor, wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. Save some turkey for me, I mean the bones. BOL