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    Posted January 4, 2012 by
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    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    Project 365 RA Twist For Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness


    These photos are just a few snapshots of my life as a Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patient, celebrating the moments with little or no pain, swelling or stiffness. I tried and failed at Project 365 in 2010. I spent all of 2011 in too much pain to even give it another try. This year I decided to do it again but I added an RA Twist. My first photo is a graphic image I made to represent my Project 365. I changed the rules to give myself a better chance of succeeding. I decided to use my Project 365 to promote a nonprofit organization that is meaningful to me, Rheumatoid Patient Foundation.


    The next photo is at the Grand Canyon National Park with my boyfriend Lloyd Brown. He is the reason I have been able to travel. He carries our bags. Many times I cannot even carry a purse.


    The third and fourth photos are of our dogs. Hershey is my miniature dachshund; he is the subject of many of my photos. Buddy is a beautiful subject for photos as well, although he is camera shy. I was able to capture him on a trail in Arizona. He loves to travel and even has his own blog. Hershey enjoys having Lloyd in his life, as he gets more consistency in his routine. He eats earlier and goes on walks. Since I have RA, some days I need more sleep than others. I can have trouble staying on my feet for long as they start swelling so I have to stop. If I am going for a walk it usually has to be short because my feet will start swelling. A walk less than a mile often lands me on the couch with my feet up for the night.


    The fifth photo is a castle in Germany. This was a trip we took during a time I was in what is called remission for RA patients. RA can still cause pain, swelling and stiffness while in remission.


    The sixth and seventh photo I took in July of 2011. I was fighting to get back into remission but this cake was for Lloyd's birthday. I enjoy cooking when I can. Sometimes I cannot peel or chop, but mostly I cannot stay on my feet long enough. Stirring can aggravate my shoulders and cause the pain levels to increase. Luckily I started getting the ingredients together a few days before and made the cake a day early. I usually have to do more planning and preparing than most people. Often I have to plan the amount of time I can stand and know I have a place to sit to get off my feet when needed.


    The eighth photo is at the Four Corners Monument. The states that meet at Four Corners Monument are Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. I took this photo while I was standing where the states meet. I am wearing some slipper like shoes. It is not only hard to stand at times; it is equally hard finding shoes I can wear with comfort. Right now I find myself shopping more for slippers that look like shoes instead of regular shoes. Most shoes tie up, are narrow or have a heel, all which I have issue with wearing. The weight of a shoe matters to me. My feet need room for the swelling as well. Shopping for shoes has never been fun since the onset of my Rheumatoid Arthritis.


    The ninth photo was at the Grand Canyon National Park with my boyfriend Lloyd and Buddy in the background. Lloyd has done Project 365 on his own photo blog GotBaddog.com and has always been an inspiration for me by doing what he can to support nonprofit organizations, taking Buddy and donations to Joplin, MO after the tornado hit and coming up with ideas like dropping off extra lip balm for troops that need it. When I decided to add my new rules for my Project 365, I knew which nonprofit organization I wanted to support.


    The last image is of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation website. Please visit RPF to learn more about Rheumatoid Arthritis and make a donation to help find a cure and provide awareness about RA.

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