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By Lanier Lobdell
My name is Lanier Lobdell, and I am a 55-year-old (young) woman with rheumatoid arthritis, or RA. RA is an autoimmune disease that mostly affects the joints, but it can also affect internal organs. Basically, our bodies attack themselves. I have had RA for almost 21 years, and it definitely has changed my life, however, I try not to live my life like I have a disease.
For me, attitude is everything. I always try to find humor in the situation or try to ignore it, but—lol—that does not always work. These days I can hardly walk due to my ankles fusing like my wrists did, yet I still try and do the things I always did. I love riding my motorcycle, and I try to take long trips every year.
This year I got involved with some folks who make the biologic medicine I am on, to create the Going the Extra Mile Tour to raise awareness about RA. The tour will take me across the country and back on my motorcycle, making stops along the way to meet with local Arthritis Foundation (AF) chapters and people in the communities who are affected by all forms of arthritis including RA.
I want to encourage people not to let RA stop them from living their lives the best they can. I don't want people to give up. There are so many new meds coming out these days, and they can really help. People have to be their own advocates and get informed—knowledge is power. Talk to your doctor and focus on what you can do—not what you can't. Rest when your body is telling you to and push and keep going when you can. Learn to listen to your body—that's how I deal with having RA. And don't forget to try and laugh A LOT!
I have also found that what you eat also affects your condition. Getting a good night sleep is huge—what a difference that makes!
So, I will be writing and sending pics and videos from the road on the Going the Extra Mile Tour Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/extramiletour. Visit and become a fan! I hope my efforts will help someone out there and give them encouragement to keep going. That's my goal!
After kicking off in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon, on July 10, we'll be stopping in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Portland, Maine. Check my Facebook page for dates and times, along with more info on RA through a link to the AF page.
Thank you for being interested!