Friday, August 28, 2009

Woman’s Day Reply to Rheumatoid Arthritis Comments

Many have been asking about me Woman’s Day magazine’s RA article.

Here’s what happened.

On July 15, I gave my sincere response to a one page article in Woman’s Day on Rheumatoid Arthritis. Many of you responded to the online version of that same article with comments that were intelligent and straightforward. Some of those comments were good enough to be whole blog posts! And there are over 30 of them!

As I mentioned in that post, I also began attempting to directly respond to the magazine’s editors.

Fast forward to August 21. I mentioned the Woman’s Day article in a blog post on the mythical RA. That day, someone left a url for the author of the article in a comment on the blog. After I checked it out, I did email her directly.

Here’s where we stand.

On August 25, I got a reply email from the author of the article, Judi Ketteler. Judi sent me the magazine’s reply. Here it is:

A Note from the Editors:Thank you all for your comments. We know that RA can cause severe pain, suffering and disability and certainly didn’t want to undermine that fact. This online story ran as a one-page article in the magazine under our “Checkup” column. The column (and story) is designed to provide a basic primer and is aimed primarily at people who are not familiar with the condition. It’s factually correct and the author interviewed a top rheumatologist. That being said, there are limitations to what we can cover in such a short amount of space. If we cover RA in the future, we hope to include real-life patient stories and provide more detailed information.

This was this past Tuesday. That was my first indication that someone at Woman’s Day was going to acknowledge us. I took some time to consider how to react.

What does this mean to us?

Someone close to me used to tell me: Some days chicken; some days feathers. If you’re from Texas, you’ll get it. The rest of us try.

I am predisposed to sports analogies and relate almost anything to football. So, I say: You win some, you lose some.

We lost this way.

The editor’s at WD actually think that what they wrote is “factually correct” and a “basic primer” on “the condition.” It is excruciatingly obvious that they think that they are right. Unfortunately, the actual facts about Rheumatoid Arthritis are evident to us every day.

We won this way.

At least we know the score. Where we stand is more apparent than ever. We have a 2-front war on our hands: 1) We fight Rheumatoid Arthritis in our own bodies and lives. 2) And we fight misperceptions about RA, too.

The WD article hit a hot button with RA’ers because it is an illustration of what we deal with every day: friends and neighbors who misjudge us because of RA; family members who refuse to adjust expectations or offer appropriate assistance; a general public which doubts the serious nature of our illness; employers who fail to recognize our limitations; and certain doctors who view us as weak-willed whiners. My son says, “People misjudge by appearances.”

But we are in the fight. We are on the field. The game is not over.

Recommended reading:
My original post: Woman's Day Article on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Taking RA seriously: Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Kill You?
On the lighter side: Weathering Rheumatoid Arthritis


Lexie said...

"We win some, we lose some"
I get that. You're right Kelly, we do fight two front war.

Not only do I deal with RA everyday, but when people "discover" that I am on disability I feel like I have to explain myself, because I don't LOOK sick. Only once in awhile people actually get it, others don't. I've had to let go of what the others may think about me, or I would go insane!!


Rebecca said...

I think the folks at WD are sounding a little defensive. Seems like you hit a nerve there. Good! Let's keep at it!

Julie Lydell said...

It is also amazing Kel that you are able to fit so much information into such a teeny weeny little space. Info that, in my humble opinion, goes above and beyond a "basic primer"! I knew nothing about RA before i started reading your blog and now i feel like i might be able to help another non-RAer understand more clearly the real RA! Thanks Pal for your insight and humor! BTW is the chicken/feather thing sort of like the bug/windshield analogy? LOL!

Terry said...

WOW! If they have misrepresented RA this badly, can you believe anything else that they publish?

jamie said...

It is with great sadness that I now realize that everyone at WD has rose colored glasses on. How truly pathetic that they will not research deeper into their own articles, blurbs, tidbits, etc. I know of several million people that may no longer buy, read, or trust this so called magazine. Makes all of us want to and need to work all the harder to get the truth out and take the rose colored glasses off the nation, nay, the world. OK, my rant is finished, for the moment!!!!