I consider myself lucky. My mobility is not greatly effected. I feel pain, yet I am still mobile. I can walk, I can care for my pets, I can brush my teeth, I can turn on a faucet. I can do everything pretty much the same. It is painful and the stiffness makes it difficult, but I am able.

I am not sure how I should feel or how this disease should progress. I have done my research but sometimes it feels like my RA takes a different course.


Is it supposed to be painful whenever I do anything? It is.

Should I see visible signs of the disease? I don’t.

When my doctor tests the range of my joints, should it be smaller or larger or the same? Some days its the same, some days its smaller.


I don’t measure the pain anymore. That pain will always be there, every second of every day. Being in pain is the new normal. I am only 23 years old and I am in chronic pain. Just typing that sounds ridiculous to me…I am an athlete. In order to perform my best, I can’t be in pain. Pain not only affects me physically but it affects me mentally as well. It stops me from pushing myself to be greater at the sport. Sure, being in pain means that I am pushing myself too much and I should take a step back. Where is line when I started exercising in pain? How much pain is too much?

I am a rock-climber. I am not good at any other sports. Never have been, and I am okay with that. I am good at rock-climbing. At least, I used to be. Even so, I love it. Rock-climbing is so freeing. Over the past year I started climbing again at a nearby gym. When I felt great, I climbed well. I was nearly at the same level of difficulty that I was at when I peaked. Recently, I no longer commit to the sport like I used to. Before, I tried to get better to raise my level of difficulty and to work on my technique. Now, I am climbing the same safe climbs that I know I can climb without falling. I’m not trying anymore. I am complacent. Is that normal?

Maybe it has something to do with my recent flare-up. The worst I have had since I was first diagnosed. My doctor medically grounded me for two weeks. No work, no climbing. I switched my medication for the umpteenth time and I am still waiting for it to fully work.

Maybe I am just scared to try and fail. If I place myself in a situation where I feel like I am succeeding, even with my condition, I feel like I am dealing with it well. But then again, what kind of life am I leading if I am no longer trying to motivate or better myself?


Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.