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Website Everyday Health named my Arthritis Ashley blog a Top 10 RA Blog for 2018. Also, Feedspot named it a Top 100 Chronic Illness Blog and Top 40 RA Blog for 2017. 

Thank you to these websites for these honors!  

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Most of you know that I am a big fan of integrative medicine: a mix of natural or alternative methodologies and traditional pharmaceutical treatments.

In fact, one of the first “real” published articles I wrote was in a local magazine (called South Fayette & Neighbors, now known as IN South Fayette,) in 2006, and it was called “Away from the Mainstream: A Look at Complementary Health Practices.” (photos below.)

In it, I discuss acupuncture and naturopathic medicine in general, but particularly as a way for patients to help treat arthritis and fibromyalgia.

I first began acupuncture myself in 2008. I went steadily for almost a year. I would go 1-2x per week to Dr. Lisa Wang of Chinese Acupuncture and Wellness, and then, my health insurance stopped covering it. So then, I started going more sporadically, perhaps once or twice per year. I would mostly do acupuncture but occasionally would see her for cupping or Chinese herbs as well.
It just got too tough to go all of the time. Financially, it became a burden to keep up regular appointments. And with an unpredictable work schedule and unpredictable health symptoms, keeping weekly or monthly appointments became tough.

However, after my awful knee replacement experience, I decided to try again. I moved, so I’d have to find a closer facility. And, it wouldn’t be covered by insurance, but in my mind, I thought it would be worth the cost, even if it had potential to drain our health savings account.

I was right!

While I still do wish my health insurance company would pay at least a part of it, I nonetheless enjoy going each week.

I found a lovely place with a very nice owner/practitioner named Michelle. The establishment is called Wind in the Willows and if you live in Pittsburgh, I urge you to check it out.

I find acupuncture, cupping, and gua sha to be awesome. They are really helpful, especially in conjunction with my monthly 90-minute deep tissue massages from Andrew at Evolve Wellness & Massage, and my 1-3x per week physical therapy sessions at Robinson Physical Therapy and Health Center. Occasionally, I’ll schedule a reiki session at Evolve, a cryotherapy session at Cloud Cryotherapy, chiropractic work at Green Tree Chiropractic and Rehab, or sensory-deprivation/floating therapy at Levity Spa in Squirrel Hill. I also love the FasciaBlaster by Ashley Black, my Thermotex system, and I’m a big fan of Shakeology and essential oils. Exercise is great too. I recently bought a pass to the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden so I can take nice long walks in nature when I’m feeling well enough to do so. I’ve even done “mashing” and biofeedback.

But — aside from days like today where my body and/or schedule prevent me from keeping my appointment — I look forward to seeing Michelle weekly for my sessions.

I’m there for about an hour. Depending on which areas we need to work on, I will either lay face up or face down on a heated table.

First, she’ll insert the acupuncture needles. Some of them are placed in direct correspondence with the area that is hurting. Other needles are placed in a more roundabout way which *seems* sporadic, but never is. They correspond with the body’s qi (or chi) and trigger points. The qi goes along meridians, which are basically like channels of energy in the body. (Qi basically means “life force.”) So, for instance, a needle in your ear may treat anxiety, and a needle in your foot may correspond with your heart or liver. While I can’t explain how it all works, I do know that placement is key — and your acupuncturist will know best as to which needles go where.

To me, acupuncture feels good. Occasionally, I get one spot that’ll give me a little “zinger,” but when that happens, it’s usually corresponding to a problematic area that needs to be addressed the most that day. Sometimes, it feels so good when a needle is placed — like a release of energy — I sometimes even get goosebumps!

Once the needles are in, she’ll put a blanket and heat lamp on, with soft and meditative music playing in the background, an essential oils diffuser dispensing, and lights dimmed.

She’ll remove the needles after a while. Then, we typically move on to cupping. On my Arthritis Ashley Facebook page, I’ve had a lot of questions about the cupping and gua sha components of my acupuncture therapy, and so I’ll address them here.

First — it is my impression that cupping is safe, if done the right way by an experienced therapist or practitioner. You’ll want to go to someone who is certified in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine.) Sometimes they will use fire — don’t be alarmed. Fire cupping is normal. Sometimes, cups will remain placed where they are for 5 or 10 minutes. Other times, they move them around like a cupping massage. You will likely have some marks, and bruising, even perfectly-round circle bruises, but don’t be alarmed. These are very “surface-level” bruising, and not deep or worrisome hematomas. However, if you are super-concerned because you are on blood thinners, prone to clotting, or for any other reason, please consult your medical doctor first and also address your concerns with your TCM doctor or therapist before beginning cupping.

Let me be clear: sometimes there is discomfort with cupping. But for me personally, it is a “hurts-so-good” kind of sensation, the same way that my deep-tissue massages or foam rolling can be. I do have rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, of course, but I also have a mild form of dystonia which basically equates to chronic muscle spasms. So, I often really NEED my tight, tense, and knotty muscles to be stretched, worked on, and relaxed. Cupping helps with this. Michelle, who does my cupping, always tells me to let her know if it becomes too much. So if you have a good practitioner, I’m sure that they will want you to be comfortable and let them know if the pain becomes too much to bear.

Cupping is honestly one of my favorite therapies!

Gua sha is awesome, too. I just discovered it this year. It is essentially “muscle scraping.” Kind of a form of massage. I even bought a rose quartz gua sha kit for home use. You or whomever is doing you gua sha will apply some kind of oil or lotion first, and then use whatever tool of choice (maybe jade, maybe rose quarts, maybe a horn, etc.) to “scrape” the muscles and bring toxins to the surface of the skin. I don’t find gua sha (pronounced gwa-shah) to be at all uncomfortable for the most part, but, some people do.

Keep in mind that RA patients (and anyone living with any type of chronic pain) often have different levels of pain tolerance. My level of pain tolerance is very high, and so deep tissue massages, gua sha, and cupping do not really bother me all that much. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy all of the above, and I REALLY love acupuncture.

If I could afford to, I’d go MORE than once per week!

I have tried everything to manage my pain, and I am a big fan of natural and holistic remedies for RA and of self-care in general.

If you want to learn more about the history of acupuncture, click here.

If you want to learn more about cupping, click here.

For more info on gua sha, check this out.

Also, here is an article I wrote for Healthline about massage for RA.

If you want to see 10 Ways I Manage Bad Days with RA, click here.

Check out Wind in the Willows website, Facebook, or get a Groupon, here.

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I wanted to share this video –— and this one — because they explain (at least a little more) about who I am outside of ‘Arthritis Ashley.’ 

You see, I’m in the running to be Justin Timberlake’s social media manager for a day, due to the #LinkedInTopCompaniesContest with Live Nation and LinkedIn. Granted, it’s a long shot, but I still remain hopeful and am keeping my fingers crossed.

The reason I share that on here is because of this: I’m more than Arthritis Ashley. Of course, my illnesses, my health problems, my surgeries, my health coaching work, and my advocacy are all a part of who I am. I am a patient, an advocate, a health coach, and a medical writer. I am passionate about health and wellness. I am chronically ill.

But still: there’s this other huge part of my life and my personality that I don’t always get to share with you guys quite as much because my illnesses have, at times, overshadowed it.

My dreams have been deterred due to illness — but they have not been forgotten.

As I discuss in the videos above, as well as often on this blog and in my books Sick Idiot and Chronically Positive, in addition to being a sick person, I also have (and have always had) a lot of other outside interests and hobbies: pop culture, going to concerts, celebrities, fashion, birdwatching, astronomy, volunteering, blogging, reading, writing, and more.

As far back as second grade (and maybe even earlier,) I had a fascination with the entertainment industry, and with music. And, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I went to my first concert in 3rd grade. It was Paula Abdul, Boyz II Men, and TLC. At that age, I loved Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, JTT from Home Improvement, and the Mickey Mouse Club — especially Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. In second grade, for my Holy Communion, I wrote a letter to Jesus, thanking him for many things: my family, my friends, my school, trees, stars, dancing, my pets, and, tellingly, music, dancing, Paula Abdul, & the Mickey Mouse Club. In third grade, I did a math project about my classmates’ favorite singers, including graphs, tables, and charts. In high school, I took an independent study in fashion design, was the entertainment editor for our school newspaper, and did my yearlong senior project on Music Marketing (using NSYNC as one of many examples.)  I also once cut class to go downtown and meet NSYNC, LOL, but that is neither here nor there.

After I got to college, the celebrity/pop culture/music/fashion bug remained with me. I started in marketing and then decided to go to Clarion University for Music Business. I was the Advertising Editor and an entertainment columnist for the Clarion Call newspaper. But sadly, after a medical withdrawal due to Bells’ Palsy, I came back to learn they’d done away with the Music Business minor. So I transferred back home to PITT (the University of Pittsburgh) where I majored in English & Communications, and did an on-air radio internship with DJ Bonics at 96.1 KISS fm. I also started an entertainment blog called Glitzburgh.

But I realized my dreams of working in the entertainment industry, doing music or fashion PR, or music artist/band management, were not all that realistic given my health problems. Nor was my “fallback” career of teaching. (I’d wanted to teach an elementary school gifted program, or high school English.)

So I did my own thing, dabbling in the corporate world with a few marketing jobs, and eventually becoming a freelance writer, social media consultant, advocate, and published author.

My passion for concerts, music, fashion, and pop culture didn’t die, though. Even as ‘Arthritis Ashley,’ I was inducted into the Fashion Hall of Fame and my entertainment blog Glitzburgh won a local award.

Social media has been the glue that’s held it all together. From my advocacy work and connecting with other patients for support, to promoting my books and my writing, to managing social media for my clients, and interacting with celebrities, social media has helped to keep me sane through life with illness. And illness has helped me find perspective in my professional career, too.

That is why opportunities like this contest to manage Justin Timberlake’s social media for a day are just as important to me as my work as a patient blogger and advocate.

Illness may have caused me to quit softball and cheerleading. It may have caused me to shift my career path and alter my professional goals. It may continue to take things away from me.

But, illness cannot take away my drive, my ambition, or my love for music and social media.

Please help my dream come true by watching my video on LinkedIn. Please also comment, like, and share if you can, too!

Thank you in advance — and thank you for your support always, whether you know me as Arthritis Ashley, or just, Ashley Boynes-Shuck!

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I’ve recently began blogging with The RA Connection, as well as doing some admin and community management work with this wonderful site.

I urge you all to join if you have RA, PsA, OA, Lupus, or AS. It is free, safe, secure, and easy to use — a great place for Community, Content, and Connection — and a nice way to commiserate with others who live with rheumatoid arthritis and similar illnesses.

The community forum is friendly, fully-moderated, and easy-to-use. You’ll meet other users with RA and more.

I’d recommend joining, but if you aren’t ready to join, you can view News & Features, check out the blog, or sign up for TheRAConnection Newsletter to receive the latest news, useful tips, and feature articles.

Still curious about what theRAConnection entails? Read on.

Founded in 2012 the rheumatoid & arthritis connection (theRAConnection) was created to provide award-winning, educational content and community directly to patients with rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and lupus directly or through leading Physician Clinics and advocates. By combining information and a social community theRAConnection provides patients and their caregivers a unique destination to seek information, support, and inspiration.

Simply Great Content

TheRAConnection content team blends expertise in journalism, health communication, and content creation to bring you current, credible, relevant health information.

Finding your way through the maze of RA information can be a challenging and sometimes lonely experience. The community at TheRAConnection is designed to foster conversation and connection. It’s a place where you can share information, experience, and support—and a place where you can remember that you are not alone.

TheRAConnection is a unique social network that provides a safe and secure environment for individuals affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to learn, support, and connect with others who have similar issues and concerns. Finding your way through the maze of RA information can be a challenging and sometimes lonely experience. TheRAConnection community is designed to foster conversation and connection. It’s a place where you can share information, experience, and support—and a place where you can remember that you are not alone. If you or a loved one are living with RA, TheRAConnection can serve as an oasis of comfort and support. As a member of TheRAConnection, you will:
  • Make new friends: Give and receive support by interacting with others who are living with RA.
  • Get informed: We sort through the most recent research to provide you with the most current, comprehensive information about the diagnosis, treatment, and management of RA.
  • Stay up-to-date: We bring the most relevant daily RA news to the community.
  • Get involved: Take part in national conversations and events, including RA-specific support groups with participants from all over the U.S.
  • Learn from experts: Physicians, nurses, advocates, financial experts, nutritionists, and others will be available to answer your questions.
  • Participate in live web chats: Our live web chats feature experts on a wide range of topics. The chats provide an opportunity for you to learn the most recent developments in RA and ask real-time questions.
Join moderated online communities: Our Vectra DA and MyRA communities are the online destination to connect with others about Vectra DA and MyRA.  Ask questions, get answers, & share your experiences with others.
Getting Started We invite you to register to get the most out of your experience on TheRAConnection. As a member of the community you have full access to all posts, chats, surveys and other community activities. We want to get to know you better, so we encourage you to complete your profile (you’ll be prompted to do this as you participate in the community). Then, we can introduce you to other members who share your issues and concerns. You can chat with them one-to-one or as a member of a community. The opportunities are infinite! So, welcome to your community. We hope you’ll visit often. Together, we can create a community of support and sharing that will make all our lives a little richer. Welcome to TheRAConnection Community. TheRAConnection is a unique social network that provides a safe and secure environment for individuals affected by RA to learn, support, and connect with others who have similar issues and concerns. Register or Login to join the conversation now!!
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It’s Arthritis Awareness Month (yay!) … so I want to bring awareness to a very rare disease that often mimics Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

This illness is called Farber Disease (a.k.a. Farber’s Disease, Farber’s lipogranulomatosis, ceramidase deficiency, Fibrocytic dysmucopolysaccharidosis, and Lipogranulomatosis.)

Currently there are only 80 diagnosed, confirmed cases of Farber Disease worldwide! However, there may be more patients out there who live with Farber’s Disease and don’t even know it. This is because it is often misdiagnosed as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis or Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

Now, most kids who are diagnosed with juvenile arthritis DO in fact have JIA/JA/JRA/SJIA and NOT Farber Disease, as I discuss here.

However, it is important to be aware of other illnesses out there that look and act like rheumatic or autoimmune diseases … but aren’t. This is important because misdiagnoses can lead to many years of improper treatment which can be costly, dangerous, and ineffective.

Hallmarks of Farber Disease include: swollen joints, joint pain, joint deformity, joint contracture, nodules, and a hoarse voice. Genetic and biomarker testing is needed to confirm or rule out Farber Disease. About 70% of patients who have Farber are misdiagnosed with pediatric rheumatologic conditions such as juvenile arthritis.

Farber disease has its onset in childhood and is a very rare metabolic disorder, but one worth knowing about if you or your child were diagnosed with juvenile arthritis but seeing no improvement. (It is worth noting that juvenile idiopathic arthritis is autoimmune in nature, not metabolic, like Farber’s.)

Learn more in my Farber Disease Live Chat and Instagram posts.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders website talks more about it, here.

Also, Clara Health has some great info, here.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Clara Health.

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Arthritis Ashley by Arthritis Ashley - 2w ago

Hi, friends!

I hope you’re all doing well.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve updated my Arthritis Ashley blog here, and I apologize.

Since September, I’ve dealt with a death in the family, selling and buying a house, renovating and redecorating the new house, lots of traveling, and a total knee replacement complete with complications. I haven’t felt ready just yet to blog about my TKR journey — it’s still not over yet, and I had my knee replacement surgery on 9/28 — but I will in my own time.

Still — all of this going on shouldn’t have prevented me from connecting with you all. I plan on updating this blog and my other website more frequently in coming weeks and months. Luckily, I’ve still been active on my Instagram, Facebook pages (here and here), and Twitter accounts (here and here) — so hopefully, you’ve been able to keep up with me on there.

So far, 2018 and the end of 2017 have been awful health-wise. I will be writing about all of that more in due time, too. But, I just wanted to say hello — it’s been too long.

Have a beautifully blessed day!

Love & Light,

Ashley

PS: I’m also blogging over at www.TheRAConnection.com, so please check that out, here, as well! Still writing for Healthline, too.

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Spryngs by Brevani’s tagline is “elegance that fits comfortably for a lifetime.” I love that, because it encapsulates what this brand is all about. This upscale high-end fine jewelry line has finally come out with rings that have the arthritis patient in mind. Actually — their beautiful jewelry is well-suited to anyone whose ring size may change, whether due to arthritis swelling and deformities, to weight gain, pregnancy, or any other reason.

You wouldn’t buy a belt with just one hole, so why buy an expensive ring that won’t stand the test of time through all of life’s ups and downs — including the ups and downs of a changing ring size?

Don’t get me wrong: these beauties are an investment. But they are worth it — and so are you! Don’t let illness or disability steal your pretty or dim your shine. These are diamonds that really ARE forever, unlike some rings that won’t fit once arthritis or swelling strike your hands.

Brevani let me try out Spryngs rings and I’m OBSESSED — I especially love the spiral design. See, this is a personal issue for me. Aside from the fact that I love fashion and have written about the need for adaptability, accessibility, and ergonomic design in shoes, clothing, jewelry, accessories, and beauty tools, I also have my own experience with rings getting stuck.

In fact, a chapter of my book Sick Idiot (which is on sale at a discounted rate now!) is actually called “That Time I Got Married And My Ring Got Stuck.” (Because, well, it did. It wasn’t a Spryngs by Brevani ring, obviously.)

Also, my late, beloved grandmother Nana (Eileen) had to go to the hospital once to get her engagement ring and wedding band sawed off her arthritic fingers because it was stuck and cutting off her circulation, all due to swelling. She had RA. If she’d also had a Spryngs ring, she wouldn’t have had that issue, most likely.

Listen, I know not everyone can just go out and splurge on a 14K gold ring embellished with real quality diamonds and fine, precious gemstones. Many of us have medical expenses and bills from medications or doctor visits. Some people with RA and other forms of arthritis also can’t work and may be on a limited income. I’m not out of touch — I realize all of that and am sensitive to it. I get it. I understand. I can relate.

BUT if you have some savings or a credit card and you can afford it, or you and your partner or family already have a budget set aside for wedding bands, an anniversary ring, or push present, OR if you just want to treat yo’ self and invest in a forever-ring, I can offer you a discount through my partnership with Brevani.

Get ready — I’ve got those Promo Codes coming …

Ready to shop now? Until 11:30pm EST on Thursday, May 10, 2018, you can use code ASHLEY15 at checkout for 15% off plus FREE 3-day shipping. (This could be an ~amazing~ Mother’s Day gift, too!)

Not ready to get your bling on just yet but plan on buying a ring soon? If you go to www.SpryngsByBrevani.com and sign up for the website (just enter your email — it’s easy, safe, secure, and free) you will get a 10% off code emailed to you, that you can use from now until July 30, 2018.

These really are great discounts. I can attest to the fact that these rings are super COMFY in addition to being stylish. They also come with a LIFETIME WARRANTY! Woo-hoo!

They don’t pinch the skin, and they expand up to 1.5x the original size due to a patent-pending design that allows the ring to enlarge and accommodate for any swelling. I ever even thought of a ring that would compensate for my joint problems. In fact, I bought a cheap wedding band that’s bigger than my original set, just because my original wedding band and engagement ring are now a little too snug. I wish I’d initially gotten a Spryngs by Brevani ring instead. (Although — they weren’t around just yet! )

Anyway, check out their website www.spryngsbybrevani.com. And hey — you don’t need to have arthritis or “fat fingers” to wear these — they’re gorgeous and comfortable for anyone and everyone! Really timeless, classic, and elegant, with a modern twist. Just too pretty.

Also go on my Instagram (@ambshuck) and check out hashtag  #spryngsxarthritisashley for more. I’ve been sharing on my Arthritis Ashley Facebook (you may have even seen some ads we have done together!) and Twitter, too, including a FB Live Chat last week and more to come.

So, enjoy!  Let me know if you have any questions.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Brevani.

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I want to first start off by apologizing to anyone I may have offended in my recent article for A Woman’s Health Magazine (online version) and Women magazine (print version) entitled: For Some With Rheumatoid Arthritis, Beauty Really is Pain.

I enjoyed writing this article and was very proud of it, until someone wrote me and brought to my attention that I used a phrase which has in recent years been deemed inappropriate within the disability community. In the article, the perhaps-ignorant phrase “wheelchair-bound” was used. Both myself and my editors overlooked this politically-incorrect and potentially-offensive choice of phrasing. As someone who lives with disability myself, I would never intend to offend, marginalize, or further stigmatize the community of people with disabilities.

That said, I am still learning. I replied to the person who emailed me with their concerns. I was grateful that she brought this issue to my attention so that I could properly address it and explain it here on my blog as well as on the Arthritis Ashley Facebook page.

I will try to share my perspective as truthfully, transparently, and delicately as I can without furthering any hard feelings.

Let me start by saying that, as I’d mentioned, for what it’s worth, I live with several medical conditions myself. I am considered a disabled person by the state of Pennsylvania and I have a handicapped parking pass. I don’t call myself disabled or refer to myself as living with a disability very often, but the truth is that I do. Thus, I typically try to be sensitive and use whatever is the current appropriate and inoffensive language and phrasing surrounding issues of health and disability. I have written about disability rights and have written blogs more than once about ableism.

But, I’m certainly not an expert.

I also should note that I personally am not easily-offended by language or words. In the past, I’ve discussed, for example, that I really don’t care if you want to call RA “rheumatoid arthritis” or “rheumatoid disease” or “rheumatoid arthritis disease” or “autoimmune arthritis” or whatever. That’s just one example.

But, in fact, there are a few words and phrases that kind of bug me, that I see being used frequently online, such as crip or crippled. The #CripTheVote hashtag and initiative was an idea and a trend that in and of itself, I could get behind — but the word crip makes me cringe every time I read it. I don’t even like to refer to myself as disabled or handicapped.  I certainly would never refer to myself as crippled. But, although I don’t personally like those words, I don’t mind at all if others use them, if that’s how they want to refer to themselves. After all, I have a book entitled Sick Idiot: a title that could be deemed highly-offensive and politically-incorrect. But — here’s the thing: I think that people are within their own rights to refer to themselves however they wish, and if they want to “take back the power” of a word or phrase, then, good for them. There have been plenty of examples of this in linguistics, popular culture, and history — there’s even been legislation over it. Often these terms involve race or gender or sexual orientation, but the idea can extend to other issues, too. It is called reappropriation. 

The mistake I made in my article by using the phrase wheelchair-bound is that I’m not.

While I’m a member of the “disabled community,” I don’t regularly use a wheelchair, and so I should have taken the time, care, and research to try to better find out what word or phrase is the general preference of people who use wheelchairs.

I didn’t do my homework.

I used an archaic, outdated term that many could feel diminishes the freedoms that wheelchairs actually provide for many who use them.

I will say this, though. With followers from all across the world, I have learned that in different countries and different regions, and even within differing demographics, certain phrases are sometimes deemed more offensive or more acceptable than others. To me — and this is just my PERSONAL opinion — the intent and semantics is more important than word choice and syntax. Maybe that’s just because I’m a writer and a lover of language and I am simply used to seeing things expressed in all different kinds of ways, knowing that intention is often of more importance than the actual word or phrase in and of itself.

That said, while I didn’t intend to hurt anyone, I certainly do realize that words can hurt very much — I’ve written entire blog posts on this very topic, and have probably discussed it in my books, too. I know that some words and phrases can be deeply harmful, stigmatizing, belittling, or inappropriate, especially if taken out of context, or if the reader does not know the heart or the true intention of the writer or the person delivering the message.

I would never want anyone to feel discriminated against, oppressed, or offended.

I am not making excuses. But it is hard. As you all know, language is so fluid, and what is acceptable to some is not acceptable to others. The cultural norms and appropriate terminology in the medical community are always changing, and even as a patient, health writer, and patient advocate, it is hard to keep up with, especially when these norms and preferences vary for each of my followers and readers, for different cultures and for different generations.

If you follow me regularly, you know that I would never want to offend or cause hard feelings in any way, shape, or form. So I truly do apologize if my use of the phrase wheelchair-bound hurt or offended any of my readers, or even just rubbed you the wrong way.

I know how important proper representation is when it comes to advocacy, awareness, and education. And trust me — I know that words matter. Sometimes, I’m lucky to have editors catch errors like this with help from style guides from the NDA, ADA, and AMA, among others. Sometimes, though, things fall through the cracks. I’m sure that there are other words and phrases that I’ve used in past articles, blog posts, or even my books that may offend some of you. I’ll offer a blanket apology for those, too.

But while you can’t please anyone, I’d like to try to at least be respectful of as many of my readers and followers as humanly possibly. When you know better, you do better.

I’m not perfect, but I will try my best to perfect my language when dealing with sensitive topics. I know for that marginalized groups of people, or folks who are often discriminated against, from the community of people living with disabilities, to people of color, to the LGBTQ communities, to women, to people of different religions and cultures, the words and phrases and language surrounding important issues matter even more.

It was not my intention to be disrespectful or insensitive in this instance or in any other. I may misstep along the way, but my heart is in the right place. I know the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But please trust that my intentions are, in fact, good. I do not mean to insult, and, in fact, I’ve been transparent and diligent in sharing my personal journey and my personal truth for over a decade now. I’ve dedicated my adult life to advocacy and awareness involving chronic illness and chronic pain, particularly autoimmune and rheumatic conditions. I have recently begun to speak out more broadly to embrace the entire community of people who are disabled, but I am still learning the ropes. (*Note: I try to always use “people-first” language but to be honest, I don’t even know if “people who are disabled” is acceptable anymore.)

I don’t believe that I or the language surrounding disability will ever be 100% correct or please everyone. Like I said: language is fluid and constantly in flux. What is acceptable will always keep on a-changin’. But, at least for now, what I wrote was not acceptable and for that, I am sorry.

I emailed the editor of the magazine/website to change “wheelchair-bound” to “people who use wheelchairs” in the online version. Unfortunately, the print issue already went out, but my apology still stands.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, and, hopefully, the original article, despite its missteps and shortcomings!

I would also like to apologize from an accessibility-standpoint that all of my photos and videos do not have captions, closed captioning, or written descriptions. I’m working on trying to get better with this, as well.

Have a blessed day!

PS: Here are some resources about using proper language when speaking or writing about disability: 

http://www.aucd.org/docs/add/sa_summits/Language%20Doc.pdf

http://sudcc.syr.edu/LanguageGuide/

http://ncdj.org/style-guide/

https://www.diversity.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/Disability%20Etiquette%20Guide.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/pdf/disabilityposter_photos.pdf

http://nda.ie/Publications/Attitudes/Appropriate-Terms-to-Use-about-Disability/


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