Dreamland: The Opiate Epidemic

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Here’s my latest article for RheumatoidArthritis.net about an excellent book I recently read, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by journalist Sam Quinones.

“Dreamland: RA & The Opiate Epidemic”

The book is a fascinating and eye-opening account of the current “opioid crisis” and  basically the mess that our country is in right now regarding the shockingly high number of people addicted and overdosing on opiate drugs. Quinones, a former reporter for the L.A. Times, meticulously explains the origins of the crisis, including the “pill mills” (pain clinics) of the 1990s, the explosion of OxyContin onto the market also in the ’90s, and the rapid rise of black tar heroin trafficking from basically one small region of Mexico–the state of Nayarit, which is on Mexico’s western coast.

Even though the book deals with a lot of serious and heavy material, it’s definitely worth reading. And it’s a page-turner, which surprised me. For a rather long and dense non-fiction book, I found myself flying through it. I’ve also been recommending it to everyone, even those who don’t personally have a chronic illness or suffer from chronic pain. There’s so much sensationalist media coverage of the “opioid crisis/epidemic” right now that it’s difficult to know and understand what the real facts are. Sam Quinones’ “Dreamland” is a fantastic place to start, I think.

And please, let me know what you think of my article and the book if/when you read it!

Happy World Arthritis Day!

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Source: Instagram (anonymous)

In case you don’t know, today, October 12th, is World Arthritis Day. It’s late afternoon right now in Minnesota and the day is nearing its end, however I didn’t want to completely forget or ignore this day. Other RA friends and acquaintances of mine have been posting stuff all day long on their blogs and social media pages about how arthritis affects their lives. Regarding my own RA story, I recently (well, three months ago) reached an important milestone: the 20th anniversary of my RA diagnosis. I wrote an article for rheumatoidarthritis.net about it, if anybody would like to read it. Click on the link below to read a bit about what it feels like to have RA for 20 years.

“Happy (?) Anniversary, RA”

Thank you for reading it and this blog, despite how little I seem to be posting here. I hope you can find something worthwhile and good to take away from my story.

And, if you know anybody with RA, or have it yourself, please give that person (including yourself) a gentle hug today.

-Angela

Rheumatoid Arthritis Studies!

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Hello everyone!

I’m now a CureClick Ambassador, which means I get information about studies and clinical trials for RA (and other diseases). I hope to help find participants for the studies by sharing them on my blog and social media pages. As many of you with RA know, continued research, development, and approval of new drugs and treatments for RA (and other diseases) is desperately needed for the patients who suffer from chronic illnesses. As drugs fail for certain patients or become ineffective over time, we need to have more options. Clinical trials, and participants in these studies, are therefore crucial in the development and approval of new drugs.

So! I just found out about a rheumatoid arthritis study/clinical trial that needs participants. If you have RA, click here for more info and to see if you qualify:

LOCAL RESEARCH STUDIES FOR RA 

Please consider participating! All of your “rheummates” need you. :)

Thank you!
Angela

I Am Not Lazy

girlboss
Image via @girlboss on Instagram

I just posted this all over my social media pages yesterday because I love it! Having RA and an invisible illness, this statement really resonates with me. I often struggle with feeling “lazy” (and then guilty) just trying to make it through each day living with this exhausting disease. I’m NOT lazy, though. None of us are. We’re doing the best we can while living with constant, debilitating pain. That should be enough.

Link: girlboss.com

Summer Update

Happy July, everyone!

Once again I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted on here and how fast the time is speeding by. Can everything slow down a bit, please? Even though I haven’t been posting on this blog that much lately, I’m still keeping busy updating my RA Facebook page–“Inflamed: Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis” (like this blog)–and writing for RheumatoidArthritis.net. If you’re on Facebook, please check out and “like” my page! I’d love to have you there. I do plan to start posting a lot more on this blog, too.

In other news, I started another new biologic medication this spring, Rituxan, and my rheumatologist and I are now waiting to see if it’s going to work. I really hope it does because I’m running out of biologic options–which is worrying. I’m also desperate to finally get off of prednisone (and stay off it) after taking it regularly for about three years.

Here’s a recent article I wrote about starting Rituxan for RheumatoidArthritis.net: “Rituxan Ready?”

In exciting/wonderful news, I’ve recently lost about 9 lbs! This makes me so happy and relieved because I feel like I’ve been trying to lose weight forever, and nothing seemed to be working. I’m glad to find out that my body and metabolism isn’t totally broken/defective. Whew.

How’s your summer going? How’s your RA? The heat and humidity drive me crazy and make my RA (especially swelling) a lot worse. If this also happens to you, I hope you can find a way to stay cool and comfortable right now. I’m sick of breathing in central air conditioning day after day, but I’d rather do that than be miserable and in worse pain.

I really need a relaxing beach vacation, I’ve decided.