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Life with RA

From the time Sterling and I returned home from our mission, our plan was to attend at least one event in all the markets and then maybe go on another mission or attend OnStage Local events—just be flexible. As we all know, plans don’t always go our way!

I mentioned in a recent post that my RA (rheumatoid arthritis) has been acting up lately. Well, to be completely honest, my flare started in September and has progressively gotten worse. To keep things short and simple, I’ll just say that I’ve felt worse than I’ve ever felt, and the discomfort (recently turned pain) has almost made me want to go on the prescribed RA drugs; but because it doesn’t feel right to me (and maybe because I’m a little stubborn!), I’ve made it my almost-full-time job to research everything possible and work with anyone who may be able to help me return to full health.

Because of that, Sterling and I decided that instead of planning and preparing for OnStage Live and not feeling well enough at the last minute, it would be best to plan on not traveling extensively for the next few months. Obviously, if things turn around, we’ll get on a plane and go to an OnStage event somewhere in the world. But either way, you’re in good hands!

I want you to know I’m feeling encouraged and hopeful and am trying to patiently trust in God’s timing. I haven’t said much because I don’t like to complain, and this is probably more information than you wanted to know, but I’ve always been pretty open about personal things.  And even though I have felt certain my health would improve any day, this is my current reality.

In the meantime, I’ve been told I’m an eternal optimist, so I’m going to continue to expect improved health every single day! As always, thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

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Reader Comments (131)

I pray you get some relief and feel better.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Take Care. xoxoxo
January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Hale
Shelli, there are so many things wrong in the world today but to see you are willing to take the time to get healthy sounds like the best thing for you and your husband. I believe you put your company in good hands even though you are so very much missed.
January 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie lami
Thank you for being so honest and transparent. We worship a great and loving God. I know that His timing is perfect, even though it's not always in our timing. I will be praying for complete healing for you. I am going to trust in His promises to always give good gifts to His children. Know that you are loved! Sincerely,Heather
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Yergens
So sorry to hear you're having health challenges Shelley! I have my own chronic pain challenges from osteoarthitis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, car accident injuries that didn't heal, etc., and have struggled to find safe treatment alternatives in lieu of taking more pills, so I truly feel for you! I love your positive attitude and optimism, as remaining hopeful defintely helps get through rougher days. You provide a great example to others in showing what faith, hope, and determination can accomplish!

Please consider researching and trialing a Quell device when you look for other forms of treatment! It's a newer type of wearable technology, and is registered as a class 2 pain management device, invented and sold in the US (I'm in Canada and have no affiliation with the company whatsoever). It's only been on the market only for about 1.5 years, and is approved for those suffering with all forms of arthritis, back pain, neuropathic pain, etc. It's similar to a T.E.N.S. device, but provides up to 5 times more pain relief than T.E.N.S.. It's wireless, unlike a T.E.N.S., and is only worn on the upper calf, but it manages to calm the body's pain response centre from there, regardless of where in the body the pain is coming from. I mention it only because it's made a very noticeable difference in my pain level, mood, and ability to (finally!) get some restorative sleep, so I'm happy to pass on the name to any others who may benefit from it too. I still have fairly severe pain, but it's allowed me to become somewhat more functional, and definitely more comfortable. I ordered mine from the Quell website because they had a 60 day money back guarantee, and if it didn't help I could just send it back. I've had mine since early November, and now wear it almost 24 hours a day because it makes that much of a difference for me. Some pain management specialists and family doctors are now starting to prescribe it for their chronic pain patients as they become aware of it, so it might be something worth talking to your doctor about. Good luck and I pray that you're feeling better soon!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLana P.
Dear Shelli,

Sending warm healing thoughts for your health and wellbeing.

Everyone has an opinion, and I am no exception. (Old lady with several chronic conditions - that makes me an expert, doncha know :)

Although my tendency (like yours) is to "carry on" and not complain, If the pain gets a head start, it's been my experience that it takes more meds to ease it than if I had just treated it early and gotten ahead of it.

In my view, there is nothing character building nor theraputic about living with pain. Please don't let a "wait and see" attitude get in the way of seeking treatment and relief.

May this time pass quickly so you can get back to living the life you love - and so we can once again be blessed by your presence. Gentle hugs.
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Briel
Shelli. I care so much about your health and I feel so badly that you suffer from RA. Please please please check out and read Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman. Many people with RA are getting helped and living pain free by eating the way he describes without medications. It is a very healthy way of life too! I hope you will check it out and give it a try for just 6 weeks. I KNOW you will start to feel better. I have no doubt about it. Love you and Stampin Up so much!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRosemarie Cowit
Shally - praying for you and your health. May God give you peace during this time.
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa Cates
Shellii, I am so sorry to hear you have RA, my sister had it for years. She was 49 when diagnosed and she was so bad she could not get out of a chair. She saw all the best Drs. in the US and then she went on medication.They told her she would be able to live her life but the medication would shorten her life. She decided to go on the medication and have a good life as she could. Which she did, she lived 20 years to the month. She was 69. When she told us about the shorten of life we thought that meant she would not live to 100 maybe go at 90. When she died when she was 69 we were sad but she did as she thought best and the 20 years she did have were good years. It is a hard decision to make. You do what is best for you. We will support you. Will keep you in prayer. Love Betty
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBetty Welton
I hope you soon find a solution to your discomfort! Living life in pain is an awful thought! Best Wishes!!!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Madsen
Awwwww, Shelli! I feel your pain! I began falling apart at age 39 (now 61) with JRA and Fibro. No one understands the depth of the pain unless you also suffer.....so, I understand your pain! Stampin Up keeps me going and surrounds me with fun friends!! All the "chemicals" have put me in the ER so I focus on vitamins and supplements, massage and my attitude of "keep going"!! Prayers for you and if you can share some of your solutions for the pain, I'd greatly appreciate it!!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Rice
I am so sorry that you are suffering from these flares, as one that has Lupus I can relate. Please accept our prayers and warm wishes for a speedy recovery.
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina
May God lead you with love and gratitude through this experience. 20 years ago I had to learn to walk again because of a severe bout of Fibromyalgia . The blessing I received was valuing each day and all God's beautiful creations...pam:)...Loveland Colorado
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPam Rollison
Thanks for sharing your RA journey, Shelli! I'm a brand new demonstrator with an aunt & Mom with RA, so I know a lot about it. I also have relapsing-remitting MS and after joining as a demo sometimes wondered, "What have I gotten myself into?" with some days being better or worse than others.

I know I can do as much or as little as I want or can, and your blog has motivated me to continue to do what I love with passion! I suppose God only gives our diseases to people who can handle it and spares the others who can't, or at least that is how I look at it. Perhaps when you created Stampin' Up!, you were creating it for people with limitations before you even realized it. I thank you for bringing joy into my life!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Saddened to hear that pain is creeping in and keeping you from doing all you want. Have you ever tried MELT? It has recently been offered at my gym, it's a self care technique that is supposed to offer joint and muscle pain relief. Comes from CA, a woman named Sue Hitzmann. I don't have arthritis yet, but it has helped with my back and leg pain. My instructor has spoke of MELT helping some of her arthritis sufferers (not sure if the same kind you have.) I would recommend to add to your (or everyone's really!) wellness routine. Know that there are people all over the world praying for your well being. We are here for you!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTatiana
Holding you close and wishing your good health!...B!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBillie Moan
Hello shelli. It's a long, tough road with RA, any autoimmune disorder in fact. You have the best going for you right now, in many ways. 1. You have a positive attitude, 2. You have a tight family support group, 3. You have thousands, even millions of people sending prayers and loving thoughts your way. You are your own best advocate, you know when to put yourself first and take care of yourself. Not an easy thing to do, but do you must. Like you said, only you know how you are feeling at any given moment. Being in a prolonged flair is exhausting and you must be the one to know when to stop and rest. I went undiagnosed for 10 years, being told nothing was wrong. Finally a doctor treating me for my hand pain and being totally frustrated with his lack of pain relief success ordered a blood panel that included the RA factor test. For the next several years it was a series of trials with a very good and compassionate rheumatologist but finding the right combination of medications and biological IV infusion treatment has led to a lasting suitable, relatively painfree and active life. That was thirty five years ago. I am now 66, and am experiencing some things simply occurring because of aging that we are addressing. My lifestyle eating changes, losing 36 pounds and counting, has been a great help (I can't afford to lose much more though), as it has taken stress off my hips and knees. I can hardly wait for this nasty winter to be over so I can begin walking again. I saw a naturepath, had acupuncture, vitamins, minerals, as many natural remedies as became available in the earlier stages of my disease to no avail. Joint damage continued. I pray there are better natural remedies today for you to pursue. If not, traditional medicine still has many medications that have worked for me to keep me from being totally bedridden or in a wheelchair. Remicade is the biological medication along with methotrexate that has been working for me. Prayers and best wishes for your journey through this time in your life. Aloha, JoAnn
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnn K Delery
Hoping you're feeling better soon know that you are in your thoughts and prayers!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMaria
I'm sorry to hear that you're in a flare right now... not fun! Have you looked into the autoimmune paleo diet? It helps remove the inflammatory foods to help those with autoimmunity.
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLynsay Mahon
Hope that this fines you feeling better everyday and you can get back to doing all you want to do. RA is bad I have a sister with it, I have just Arthritis in most of my joints and that is bad enough.
God Bless you and keep the faith.
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLouise Dayton
Shelly, thank you for letting us know whats going on with your health. I know it's not always easy to share that information. Please take the time you need to improve your health. You are in my thought & prayers, hugs to you!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

I literally feel your pain as I was diagnosed with RA 2 years ago. I hope that your pain gets better! i elected to go on the medications my Rheumatologist recommended and it has helped, although i know it can flare up again. Praying that you will feel better soon!
February 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDawn Dickinson
Shelli, thank you for letting us know what is happening with your health. While it is not easy to write about I am sure, you know you gain the support and compassion from us all when you do that and we understand why we aren't seeing you as much these days. May you find a solution to the debilitating symptoms of this condition so that your quality of life returns to you. It is not easy to choose among the options for treatment. Take care of you.
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Hurley-Luke
Dear Shelli,

I am very sorry to hear you are sufforing a bad flare of RA.

I am still working as a Physical Therapist (besides my Hobbyjob as a demonstrator) and my story in Austria started 21 years ago in the Gasteiner Heilstollen, I worked there for almost 4 years with interferences (I will add the link to their site).
I have seen miracles happen there to people with all sorts of rheumatical diseases, even Neurological problems...
There is a natural Level of Radon and a very warm climate in the tunnel, you get in there with a small train and stay there for 1 hour, you do it 10-12 times in 3-4 weeks. It sounds akward, but it is phenomenal!
During my working time there, i used to travel in there 10 times every year and had such a sthrengtened immune system afterwords!
My mom has healed her carpal tunnel syndrome there with 2 weeks of cure!

I would really really recommend you to try and do a cure of 3-4 weeks there, it is incredible how it changes peoples lives!
Most of the patients that I have met there, and i have followed up some over 4 years of working at the place, could get rid of their medications!
One of them became a good friend, he had suffered RA since he was a child, he visits the Stollen yearly now, he has been doing it for over 20 years, he started doing some workout to build better muscles and was able to move out from his parents house at the age of 30 (he would not have had the strength to do it before, he needed support constantly).
I know it is far away from your home, but Austria is very beautiful, you could enjoy nature there and get your body fit again...

Have a look at their site, if you want more information, feel free to contact me!
I am not sponsered in any ways, I stopped working there in the year 2000, but I have seen wonderful things happen there and that is why I would really advice you to do it!


I carfully hug you from Austria, Fanny
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFanny Minne
Hope you will be feeling well again soon.
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDianne Keough
Feeling sad you are going through RA. I have RA myself and although on prescription medication, also take Turmeric every day. Turmeric does so much and I feel it really helps plus it is good for you. Check out the benefits on the Internet and with your doctor. Take care and listen to your body.
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPatsy Ingram

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