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“On my journey with rheumatoid arthritis, I have realized that it’s not only about fighting the condition. Living with it one day at a time- is what it’s all about. Every day I chose to keep going, rise above, and embrace all the good, the bad, and the ugly of RA.” -Effie




Documentary-style film for those living with invisible disabilities and illnesses


Debuting during Invisible Disabilities Week, October 13th – 19th, 2019 on my YouTube channel, social media and everywhere.



Arthritis and Depression: What You Need to Know

Poorly managed, under treated and undiagnosed arthritis can lead to depression or anxiety. Existing mental health issues can aggravate arthritis too. Even those living with this illness for years can struggle on and off with these conditions. Knowing different ways to cope by either seeing a therapist, medication, exercise, diet or stress management techniques can make all the difference in having a positive outcome. 

When I Was Questioned for Using a Disabled Parking Placard

Almost ten years ago, my integrity was questioned regarding my chronic illness and disability for the first time. I was about four years into my diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis, and despite the dark cloud that loomed over my head on a daily basis, I felt on top of the world.

What Arthritis Awareness Month Means to Me

For me, arthritis awareness month is about inner reflection, continuing to share my stories in hopes of helping someone out there and connecting with like-minded individuals within my community.

Arthritis Warrior Wednesday

I was diagnosed with RA in 2012 after childbirth. I’m a full-time working mom in Los Angeles.

I’m a Nominee for the 2018 WEGO Health Awards- Here is how you can help!

I am excited to announce that I have been nominated for the WEGO Health Best in Show Blog Award in the 2018 WEGO Health Awards.

15 Life-Changing Habits People with Chronic Illnesses Can Do All Year

I realized that as we get older, our priorities change. Those of us with chronic illness, autoimmune illness and various disabilities, usually have the same priorities as our peers, but the one thing that will always have to be the biggest priority is: our health.

Arthritis Warrior Wednesday: Pre-Challenge on Instagram Post

Since the first week of May started mid-week on a Wednesday, I decided to share the main character of my children’s book that I have been working on, for the first Arthritis Warrior Wednesday featured spotlight. 

Vegan and Gluten-Free Soothing Winter Cauliflower Soup and Flatbread

Savory vegan cauliflower soup with gluten-free and vegan flatbread.

Essential Oils Hot Topic Talk with doTERRA Wellness Advocate Carolyn Kosanouvong Walker

Prior to starting my journey with essential oils, I didn’t know anyone who was using these alternative supplements to help with muscle and joint discomforts or sleep difficulties. In 2016, I met a doTERRA Wellness Advocate in my city that helped me get started on customizing essential oils for my specific needs.

Arthritis Warrior Wednesday

Hi! My name is Erika. I’m 31 years old and I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 28.

5 Pain and Inflammation Relieving Products I like- Issue: # 1

This will be a series of my most liked pain and inflammation relieving products. Here is issue #1.

Who Are Your Arthritis Anchors?

Now you may be thinking to yourself, well what is an arthritis anchor? Those who truly care and support us shine their light and help us navigate the ups and downs life can bring, by walking right beside us. These people are our anchors.

Arthritis Warrior Wednesday

“Hello! I’m Kayla and I’m 24 years old. I’ve had Rheumatoid Arthritis for five years this month.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of a Total Knee Replacement

Growing up I remember doing class assignments that asked us where we envisioned our lives to be in five, ten, twenty years. Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at eighteen and having a total knee replacement at twenty-nine years old, was not on my radar.

Invisible in Chicago: What’s It Like to Live Here with Chronic Illness?

The best thing about Chicago for those living with chronic illness is the quality of medical professionals here. Especially in the integrative, alternative, functional and holistic medicine fields.

#MySymptoms Poem

This week many of us arthritis warriors raised awareness for World Arthritis Day on October 12th by either sharing our stories, statistics, or wearing arthritis gear. I recently shared a poem on The Mighty giving a glimpse into the symptoms I experience while living with rheumatoid arthritis. I am inviting you all to join in on sharing a poem about your symptoms through the #MySymptoms Poetry Link Up.

Arthritis Warrior Wednesday

I’m Carolyn and I live in California. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 3 years old when my family was still living in Southeast Asia where I was born.

My New Attendee Experience at HealtheVoices 19

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the fifth year of #HealtheVoices19 in Dallas, Texas. I left back home to Chicago more inspired and empowered than ever, here are five reasons why.

My Go-To Products After Total Knee Replacement Surgery

They can be used before surgery or long after your orthopedic surgeon gives you clearance. Here are some of the items that I find helpful and hopefully you can too.

Arthritis Thought of the Month: Question #16

Arthritis Thought of the Month: Question #16

Have you been affected by Step-therapy?

Also known as “fail-first”- a troubling practice employed by a majority of insurers that forces patients to try therapies preferred by the insurance company before their doctor-prescribed medication will be approved, even when doctors are certain the initial therapies won’t be effective.

read more

Keeping it Real With Arthritis Stories

Whether you are living with rheumatoid arthritis or another type of arthritis, we all have a unique story that deserves to be voiced, heard and shared. Equally of importance, is showing an accurate depiction of those living with the disease and providing a real-life glance of who the person istheir interests, passions, hobbies, goals, career, likes, dislikes and so on, behind the veil of arthritis.

Not only can sharing our stories raise awareness but also illuminate our paths for us to see that we are not alone on this journey and have  common experiences with one another.

Rheuma tips! Did you know?

Arthritis Thought of the Month


RARA Home Page

“On my journey with rheumatoid arthritis, I have realized that it’s not only about fighting the condition. Living with it one day at a time- is what it’s all about. Every day I chose to keep going, rise above, and embrace all the good, the bad, and the ugly of RA.” -Effie

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Instagram @risingabovera

  • I AM INVISIBLE NO MORE: PART 1 is now live!!! Link in my bio ☝🏻
Invisible disabilities and illnesses are REAL, even if you can
  • TGIF Friyay 🎉💋💅🏻 Enjoy the weekend everyone and don’t forget, World Arthritis Day is tomorrow 🌎💪🏻 #goawayarthritis
  • Amazon Prime changed my life though! 😂
Repost: @holisticworldhealing
  • Watching the sunset at the park 🌅 
#nofilter #kidlitwriter
  • ... and that’s a wrap! 🎥🎞
The documentary-style film I’ve been planning for awhile now happened today! Couldn’t have asked for a better crew and actors. We had a great time making this and can’t wait to share it with everyone during Invisible Disabilities Week, October 13th - 19th. 
Stay tuned!
  • ✨ The RARA Shop is now live! ✨
Visit the link in my bio or go directly to www.rarashopdesigns.com to see all the items 🛍
I’m wearing my new favorite tank top for the gym called, “Slaying RA all day everyday” or whenever I need some motivation. If you like/love this press that ❤️ button or comment below! 
Swipe ➡️ to see the full image. 
#motivationmondayontuesday #gymtime #rara #shop #designs #tshirts #tanktops #rheumatoidarthritis #arthritis #merchandise #meaningful #relatable #humorous
  • So there’s a designer who made this collection above for Paris Fashion week titled, “Attention Seeker” with models, IVs and the word SICK across a bland white shirt. (as stated above).
I get everyone has a right to express their creativity but some can take it too far or don’t explain their visions. But if his motive was to get people talking and thinking, he sure did. Now I found this ironic because for one of my merchandise items in my RARA Shop, I took the opposite approach to this and made the item with the help of @christallebodiford 👩🏻‍🎨 swipe right ➡️ were we crossed out the word SICK and placed traits you can be besides “sick.”
The message is simple: you are more than your illness. Yes, it can be a big part of your life and identity (if you choose) , but it doesn’t have to dictate who you are as a person or what you do in life.
I can say for myself and many others, that when I was diagnosed with JA I kept it personal between immediate family and a few chosen close friends. Otherwise it was pretty much hidden from the outside world. I didn’t want people knowing at the time because as with an illness you go through stages of grief, sadness, acceptance etc. Now I don’t really care who knows or what people may think. 
It was only several years down the line after experiencing some sh*t, that I wanted to help others, raise awareness and make a positive change in the world. We aren’t attention seekers, we’re just doing it for the cause 👊🏻🌎 You can check my shirt (on next slide) tomorrow when my shop launches and I think @maison_kimhekim should too. 
No, I’m not a fashion designer. I just love accessories, comfy t-shirts and sweaters, and to express my creativity in various ways. So I decided awhile ago to create some items for the community and donate 10% of the revenue to research for arthritis. 👩🏻‍🔬👨‍🔬
#morethanjustsick #rara #shop #designs #tshirt #rheumatoidarthritis #juvenilearthritis #awareness #advocate #activist #forthecause #fashion #fairfashion #disability #chronicillness
  • Some truth to be told on this fine Tuesday morning 🌥🗣
Not all disabilities are visible. That is a, f a c t. 
Don’t judge a book by its cover or assume you know what’s going on in someone’s life. 
If you like stickers or want to raise awareness for this cause, or both ..you will find this item in my RaRa Shop, when it goes live at the end of this month. For those of you who like T-shirts, this will be available for both men and women in 15+ colors. 
Sign up to be the first to know when the shop is live by visiting the link in my bio 💙
#truthtuesdays #truthbetold #tbt #invisibledisabilities #invisibleillnesses #awareness #rara #risingabovera #shop #stickers
  • ‼️ ATTENTION ‼️
If you, your family member, child or a friend is living with rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile arthritis, then you need to read this and be informed of what is going on in our community on the government level. ▪️
More than 100 patient advocates, including myself, and health care professionals took to Capitol Hill as part of the American College of Rheumatology effort to lobby legislators to support bills that would reform step therapy and increase the rheumatology workforce.
I am grateful that I was chosen to represent the state of Illinois and meet with members of Congress and their staff in my area, to share my story and discuss these very important issues. I finally got to meet an online friend in person too. Fellow arthritis advocate, Charis. @beingcharisblog 
Here’s the big takeaway and facts to know (continued in comments below. I know it’s a long read but it’s worth it):
◾️Safe Step Act of 2019 (H.R. 2279)
1.  Step therapy has been shown to hurt patients.
2.  Did you know 50% of all patients reported having to try two or more different drugs prior to getting the on their doctor prescribed?! Imagine finding a drug that works well for your own personal medical history and needs, and then having a third party to you NO, show us proof it works. When you and your doctor already know it works.
3.  Imagine being a young woman wanting to get pregnant but need a certain medication to keep your disease activity in check and keep your baby safe, but insurance say you can’t be on that said drug your doctor recommends.
4.  Treatments for rheumatic diseases are not a one-size fits all. 39% of step therapy were stopped because insurance-preferred drugs were ineffective and 20% of the time the patients conditioned worsened. That is scary.
5.  About 25% of patients who switched insurance providers were required to repeat step therapy with their new carrier, even if they sent in proof already.
🔹These decisions should remain between the patient and prescribing physician. Two doctors are behind the creation of the Safe Step Act🔹




Are you or anyone you know living with rheumatoid arthritis? Join theRAconnection, it’s free!
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