Showing posts from September, 2013

Arthritis and Employment: Show Us Your Hands!

September is Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada . As part of this, I'm doing a series of posts about initiatives by different organizations. The common theme of these will be dealing with the topic of working when you live with arthritis.   Earlier this month in Making It Work , I wrote about the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada's study of a self-management program to help people with arthritis stay employed or become employed again. Last week, in Fit for Work , I wrote about The Arthritis Society’s work to help employers develop guidelines and recommendations to accommodate employees with arthritis. Both of these programs are works in development that will lead to better conditions for those of us who live with one of the 100 different kinds of arthritis. But what might those conditions look like? As I've shared briefly a few times, Show Us Your Hands! has spent a significant portion of this year re-examining how the Directors’ inflammatory arthritis affect


The term brave or courageous is often applied to those of us who live with a disability and equally often, you'll hear me take issue with these bouts of admiration. And that's usually because these labels are stuck on us not because we did something particularly brave, but because we got on with life. Instead of sitting in rocking in a corner, we went to school or got a job or went out with friends for dinner or drinks or did any other of a host of actions associated with a normal life. Except because there's a disability involved, all of a sudden this is brave. I remain steadfast in my position that getting up in the morning isn't particularly courageous and that bravery is about doing something scary when you have a choice to not. Living, as opposed to not, is just what happens. Sure, when you have a disability there are often more obstacles in your way, but does that mean that the label slapped on someone with a disability should more accurately be skillf

7 Facets on CreakyJoints and Battle for Grace

It's been a busy week. I've got two posts elsewhere, both related to Pain Awareness Month: First, the great people at CreakyJoints graciously allowed me to share more about 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain .  " 'So many live with pain, many more than you can imagine. A billion and a half of us all over the world are intimately entwined with pain and what comes with it … Looking in the dictionary, I see a definition of pain as a distressing sensation, as physical suffering. But is this so? Is this sensation just one thing, just distress, just suffering? Is it singular or, as with so many other aspects of our world, mutable and multiple, ever-changing? If we turn the prism, looking upon pain through each facet of the glittering crystal, what might we see?' That is a quote from the beginning of my new book 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain . It's a short e-book that dives into the depths of pain and looks at it from different perspectives. I've liv

Take 2: Winner of Chronic Resilience

Remember the giveaway of Danea Horn's new book Chronic Resilience: 10 Sanity-Saving Strategies for Women Coping with the Stress of Illness ? We hit a wee snag– the winner whowas announced last month never contacted me to get her book. So this is presented me with a unique opportunity to give away the same book twice! I used the same source for picking the winner and asked The Boy's boy to pick another number between 1 and 18 (but not 9, the previous winner) and he picked number 6. (please insert drumroll) Congratulations, Annette ! You are the winner of Danea's book! Please e-mail me at landers5ATgmailDOTcom with your address and I'll make sure the book gets to you.l This tickles me to no end, as Annette and I live in the same city and have even had lunch!

Arthritis and Employment: Fit for Work

September is Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada . As part of this, I'm doing a series of posts about initiatives by different organizations. The common theme of these will be dealing with the topic of working when you live with arthritis.   Living with arthritis — whether osteo or inflammatory — can be an all-consuming situation. Everything you do is marked by your disease and sometimes, it can give you a bit of blinders. You spend so much time focusing on making your life work that it can be hard to think in broad strokes. Here are some of those larger facts: Over 4.6 million Canadians live with arthritis. The annual economic cost of arthritis in Canada is $33 billion. In a recent study, fully one third of respondents indicated they stop working because of arthritis. Makes it very real, doesn't it? The study I mentioned above was commissioned by The Arthritis Society and further analyzed by the Arthritis Community Research and Evaluation Unit (ACREU), w

7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain

Pain is a funny thing. Not just to live with (in which case it's not always very funny), but in terms of the myths and the silence surrounding it. Talking about pain is uncomfortable, especially for those who don't have it. Pain is hard to understand. You can't measure it, it's difficult to describe and it's near impossible to make others comprehend what it feels like to be in pain if they've never experienced it themselves. There’s a gap — you may even say, a chasm — between those of us who have chronic pain and those who don't. We need to start talking about pain with each other, to bridge that gap and create a better understanding. To that end, meet my new baby 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain  is just that — a meditative exploration of the concept of pain, what it is like to live with it, its qualities, roles, and impact. It's been in the works for a while, something I've noodled with whenever I needed a break from writing nonficti

Will you help me raise $500?

I often look at my copy of Our Hands Can! and every time, it makes me smile and feel stronger. Every time I see the Show Us Your Hands! community poster in my rheumatologist's office, it makes me smile and feel part of a community. I want more people to have a chance to feel that way. About a month ago , I told you that our big project at Show Us Your Hands! this year is to find a way to mass produce our wonderful photo book Our Hands Can! and posters so they can be more affordable than print on demand allows. And that means raising funds, so we can make a big order of both the book and the posters. Each of the Directors of Show Us Your Hands! is doing fundraisers with what they've got and what I’ve got is a book. Until September 30, 2013, 50% of royalties from every single copy of Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain will go to Show Us Your Hands!. That means selling about 250 books if I want to rai

September Sunset

After I got Regan a new left motor last week, The Boy and I took her out for a run to make sure there wasn't going to be any more shenanigans (like abruptly stopping in the middle of the street. Again). It was a beautiful late summer day with not a cloud in the sky and as it headed toward sunset, we went down to Sugar Beach. We got there just in time to see the ducks starting to tuck themselves in for the night. A bit further down by the water's edge, I looked across towards the gap between the shore and the islands and wondering if it were the flame of the sun that had stripped bare these trees. (more likely this ) Everyone were headed home after a beautiful day When the wake of the boat hit the dock, it created a beautiful counterwave going back out again This little one was late getting home to go to bed   and these little ones made me understand how brilliantly nature camouflages. At dusk, they are almost invisible in the sand As

The Benefits of Space

I took August off from my job as Community Leader for's RA site and a few other things. This cut my workload in half and I discovered something revolutionary. I work too hard. Now, before you experience ocular whiplash from rolling your eyes too hard — because this factoid has been in the obvious to everyone who knows me for some time — let me explain. You start doing something, then you add a little something else, a few hours more over here and gradually, it becomes a very large hill of stuff. But you don't notice, because the increase has been incremental, every task sneaking in quietly and entirely doable. And because it has moved slowly, you don't notice how bad it was until you stop. It’s like the story that claims if you put a live frog in water and very gradually heat it up, the frog won't jump out because it won't notice that the water’s starting to boil. I was that frog. Taking a month off from being in hot water

Arthritis and Employment: Making It Work

September is Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada . As part of this, I'm doing a series of posts about initiatives by different organizations. The common theme of these will be dealing with the topic of working when you live with arthritis.   The Arthritis Research Center of Canada is a very cool nonprofit organization. For one, they’re the creators of the banner, marking and Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada. They're asking that you use this banner on your Facebook page, blog or anywhere else to help raise awareness throughout September.  Last week, I talked to Pam Rogers, Research Coordinator with the ARC, about an exciting new study called Making It Work. But first, a bit of background… Created in the year 2000, the ARC’s mission is to perform research on all aspects of arthritis. The research is consumer-driven, focusing on quality of life issues, care outcomes and more. The ARC has a Consumer Advisory Board of individuals who all live with different

New Shop, New Products

Some time ago, I played around with Zazzle for some custom-made products and liked it a lot. The interface is wonderfully easy, making interesting products a snap. I spent part of my vacation time in August making some new stuff. Looking for inspiration? In addition to the Still Standing poster still in the shop , I've made a couple of postcards for you or someone you care about Hope Postcard by TheSeatedView Find more Hope Postcards at Zazzle Keep Trying Postcard by TheSeatedView See more Inspirational Postcards I also put the Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis logo on a few things. First, a mug. Because there's nothing is comforting as a mug of something warm. Your Life with RA Mug by TheSeatedView Find other Your life with rheumatoid arthritis Mugs at The great thing about Zazzle is that they allow you to make products customizable by your customers. I clicked a certain button and that means you don't have to s

A Visit from Good Friends

August got off to an excellent start with a visit from my sister-friend AB and her family. AB and I have known each other since Grade 1, so they arrived just in time for she and I to celebrate our 44th anniversary. We have big plans for six years from now… We spent a wonderful four days hanging out, noodling around the neighbourhood and eating good food. in other words, the perfect visit. As is my wont, I did all of that with my camera in hand. When it comes to photography, I follow the adage that you take a lot of shots to get a few good ones. During this visit, I was surrounded by extremely photogenic people, so I got a lot of good ones. Herewith a small sampling. AB at Sugar Beach Introducing... Bjarke, AB's husband   Camilla, their oldest, now attending university in Scotland   Christoffer aka Chris, recently home for a year as an exchange student in Utah   Janne/TinkMama came in with the kids   Remember five years ago ? Here's