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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



My three-part documentary-style film series for those living with invisible disabilities and illnesses is NOW LIVE on youtube!


Click here to watch

Please share these videos to help raise awareness


Breaking Free from Chronic Illness

Ways to break free from and cope with the constraints of chronic illness, in order to live your best life.

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.

12 Morning Affirmations to Slay Arthritis When it is Getting You Down

Let’s face it, those of us with arthritis, autoimmune arthritis and related conditions do not have it easy. We wake up every morning not knowing what will hurt, what will be inflamed and what will stop us from conquering the day as we would see fit.

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.


I ended up walking out of the office with only a piece of paper in my hand and have made it a point to pay it forward since then. I may not know the woman’s name but this memory will stay with me forever. When have you shined your light on someone and when has someone else done the same for you? 

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.

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.

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Social Life: How to Cope and Thrive

One thing that we aren’t sent home with though, is a prescription on how to navigate our social life- which is a big part of our mental and emotional health, that can be impacted greatly by illness.

MAY RECAP: Walk to Cure Arthritis Event- Team RARA Tribe

  Around this time last month, I decided to participate as a team captain in my first ever Walk to Cure Arthritis (5K Walk Event). I gathered my Arthritis Anchors-  my supporters new and old, raised some funds for a cure, the hard-working researchers and better...

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.

Top 40 RA and Chronic Illness Blog Award

Rising Above rheumatoid arthritis was recently named one of the Top 40 RA Blog and Top 100 Chronic Illness Blog for 2018 by Feedspot.

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.

Q & A: Joint Replacement Awareness Day® 

Joint Replacement Awareness Day Live Event April 14, 2018

TheRAconnection.com- Join today, it’s free!

This year I began working with theRAconnection, as a moderator and blogger. If you are living with RA, PsA, OA, Lupus, AS or are a loved one, caretaker, spouse, friend etcetera, of someone you know living with these conditions, then you are in the right place! I have...

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.

5 Things You Should Know About People Who Receive Disability Benefits: A Reminder to Those Who Think I Am Rolling in Dough

The truth is that those of us who are chronically ill, not only fight a battle everyday many don’t understand but we also fight to receive emotional and most of all, financial support and help such as, disability benefits.

Chronic Readers Club Q & A Interview

Chronic Readers Club was inspired by a combination of things. Since becoming chronically ill, I’ve felt a need to connect with other people who truly understand what my life is like. The idea to send books was inspired by my love of reading, which was instilled in me by my mom. She’s actually a librarian!

Patients Have Power: My Journey with Methotrexate and Alternative Therapies

  Disclaimer: This piece has been entered in the Patients Have Power Writing Contest run by Clara Health designed to raise awareness about clinical trials. I am passionate about this cause and hope it will help raise much needed awareness about the power of...

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

Hi everyone, I’m RA Guy! I’ve been living with rheumatoid arthritis for almost two decades now, since the age of 29.

Rheuma Tips! Did you know? #17

Rheuma Tips! Did you know? #17

My tip for this month is to find a quiet place and take a moment to write down a list of everything you are grateful for. A friend of mine recently posted that you, “Can’t spell RA without Gratitude.”

read more
Arthritis Thought of the Month: Question #17

Arthritis Thought of the Month: Question #17

Are you grateful that you got sick? This question may seem a bit odd to some. Why on earth would you feel grateful for something like a diagnosis, that turned your life upside down? Those feelings and thoughts are valid. Then there is the other side of the coin, where people have been able to see the blessing and silver lining. It’s normal to one day feel positive and another negative about getting sick. How would you answer this question right now at this point in your life? Let me know in the survey below!

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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


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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

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  • Happy New Year!! ✨
Wishing all of you good health, peace, love, prosperity, and anything else your hearts desire & need. 🥂Cheers to looking forward with optimism and gratitude as we enter the new year and decade!
#happynewyear #newyear2020 #2020 #livelifetothefullest
  • Describe your 2019 in one word 👇🏻
#2019 #year #word #nye #endofadecade #endofanera
  • 🌻✨
#beproudofyourself #progress #progressnotperfection #reflection
  • @rheumatismatic happens to be in my kinda town... Chicago 🌃🎶 it was so nice to finally meet in person after connecting on IG for two years!! ❤️ ⁣
#friends #chicago #sinatra #becausewhynot #toronto #rasister #meetup #coffee #tea #wemakecarselfieslookgood 🤳🏻
  • My motto. 💋

#treatyoself #art #mural #muralart #exotic #flowers #islandvibes🌴 #sip
  • 🤦🏻‍♀️🙄🦄✨
#sickhumor #nopunintended #unicornlover #santa isn’t realistic
  • Merry Christmas!🎄🎁✨
Wishing everyone a day filled with peace, joy & gratitude. #merrychristmas #saintnicholas
  • These are some of my favorite #instagram posts. Cool to see people enjoyed them too!! 📸⁣
#tbt #photooftheday #instamood #instagood #pictureoftheday #igers #girl #instagood #instadaily #summer #instagramhub #follow #igdaily #bestoftheday #happy #tagblender #sky #nofilter #blogger #writer #arthritissucks #kidlitwriter #kidsgetarthritistoo #documentary #documentaryfilm #invisibleillness #invisibledisability #iaminvisiblenomore
  • I have some pretty rad news to share!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
My blog, Rising Above rheumatoid arthritis (www.risingabovera.com) has been chosen by @everydayhealth as one of the top, “10 Arthritis Blogs To Watch Out for in 2020,” alongside nine other blogs/bloggers whom many I have had the chance to meet. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣
Everyday Health is a well-known reputable health information website with over 23 million unique monthly users. When I created my blog three years ago, I was no expert. All I knew was that I had a story to tell and wanted to help others. So being passionate for the cause, I sat down and planned how I wanted my blog to be, sought out expert help and advice, and got to work. While I can write like no tomorrow and talk your ear off, blogging still isn’t an easy task. There’s a lot of effort that goes into it behind the scenes. I was hesitant to put myself out there at first but I’m glad I listened to my inner voice and went for it. As many others have said, writing  has been a very cathartic and rewarding experience. But so has connecting with all of you on this journey. ✨ Link in bio 💙⁣ ⁣⁣
#everydayhealth #arthritis #top10 #instagood #photooftheday #bloggers #blogging #bloggerlife #bloggersgetsocial #ontheblog #instablog #instablogger #blog #writersofinstagram #writerscommunity #writersofig #writerlife #writtenword #instawriters #spilledink #chronicillness #chronicpain #spoonie #invisibleillness




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