2022 Highlights | Ep. 70

Take a look back at the most memorable moments from the year’s top podcasts on subjects such as mental health, fatigue and sleep, sex and intimacy and more. Scroll down for show notes and full transcript.

Show Notes

The end of the year is a time of reflection — a time to look back and reminisce about the past year. 2022 was an eventful year. One filled with many ups and downs, and one in which we featured new and important subjects important to our arthritis community.
In this year’s final episode of the podcast, we’re carrying on the tradition with a montage of the top three takeaways from this year’s episodes — which includes some of the most memorable moments on a variety of subjects: mental health, sext and intimacy, fatigue and sleep, grief, understanding and managing pain, and more.
Our host, Rebecca, also shares her thoughts on 2022, including its challenges, tribulations and triumphs.

About the Host

Rebecca Gillett, MS OTR/L (Denver, CO)
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Full Transcript:
Released on December 20, 2022 


PODCAST OPEN:                   

You’re listening to the Live Yes! With Arthritis podcast, created by the Arthritis Foundation to help people with arthritis — and the people who love them — live their best lives. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, this podcast is for you. You may have arthritis, but it doesn’t have you. Here, you’ll learn how you can take control. Our host is Rebecca Gillett, an arthritis patient and occupational therapist, who is joined by others to help you live your Yes.    


Rebecca Gillett: 

Happy Holidays! I’m your host, Rebecca Gillett. I want to take a moment to Thank You for listening to the Live Yes! With Arthritis podcast. This year has personally been a rough year for me health-wise but being able to do this podcast is a blessing to me. I hope this year’s topics have really helped you to make your mental health a priority, encouraged you to take control of those things on a daily basis that we can take control of and that you’ve been able to put some of those things to practice.  

We just hit our 3-year anniversary in November for the podcast and we wouldn’t still be here without you, our listeners. I’ve also enjoyed having the listener segment in each episode this year, hearing your questions and sharing your tips with others in our community. Thank you for being a part of this year’s podcast!  

I’d also like to thank our donors of the Arthritis Foundation. Without your support, this podcast would not be possible.  

Thank you to all of our guest co-hosts who helped with the podcast this year. They really offered some great perspectives and lend different voices to our community. We appreciate you sharing your personal stories and experiences. 

We want to thank our guest experts who donate their time to help all of us understand our arthritis and learn to manage it a little better each day.  

And last but not least, a huge thanks to our podcast staff team who make all the magic happen behind the scenes.   

As is tradition now for the pod, we’ll end this year with a montage of our top three takeaways from some of this year’s greatest episodes. We’ll cover Making Mental Health a Priority, reshare some of those tips on Fatigue and Sleep, how to Get Started on the Right Foot, one of my favorites was Grief and Chronic Illness with David Kessler and Understanding Types of Pain and Tools to Manage those Pain. So tune in for those top three takeaways. Happy holidays to you and yours. 


Episode 50 – Make Mental Health a Priority 

Dr. Rachel Aaron:  
My first takeaway, I think, is a freebie, because I wanna just say mental health is a priority. I think that's an important takeaway that bears kind of stating and repeating. Because a lot of us don't necessarily have that engrained in us as much as we should. I'll start there. Moving on, I think a takeaway is starting small. Not trying to take on the world all at once, but starting small and being very kind to yourself, as you think about ways to make mental health a priority in your life.  
I think finding strategies that are important to you and figuring out how to implement them. And that's gonna look different across different people, and it's gonna look different across different times.  
And finally: This is a lifelong journey. It's not something that… We don't take care of our mental health all in one go, and then we never have to think about it again. For every person, our mental health is something that that's going to ebb and flow and change over the course of time.  
Courtney Wells:  
I think the things I really noted for this talk was about self-awareness. We talked about that a couple times and how that has to be the first step for everybody. And sometimes you need help with that. And then setting boundaries are really, really important for all of us. And then just asking for help, which is not easy to do.  


Episode 51 – Sex & Intimacy With Arthritis 

Victoria Ruffing: 
Well, I think my number one would be: Understand what you can about your disease and your medications. And help your partner to understand that, too. I think before we talk about anything, I think we need to really understand. Number two would be to develop some style of communication that's going to work between you and your partner. And number three, I think, is relax. 
Iris Zink: 

Just do it. Ashley Graham has a great quote: She said every time she and her husband are bickering, she knows it's because they haven't had intimacy in a while, and they just smooth everything out. So, maintain intimacy, whatever that means to you. It doesn't mean penetration, you know. Communication, communication, communication, that is so important for intimacy in whatever form. I love Vicky's suggestion about journaling or writing it down and giving your husband or partner a card with information that could be helpful. There is a book. 
So, you could always get the “Sex Interrupted” book... just laying there, and say, “You know, I picked this up because I heard this crazy nurse practitioner talking about it. Let's have a conversation.” Because the whole book is about communication and the importance of maintaining intimacy no matter what. 
Pete Scalia: 
I think just having this conversation is key. Like you said, a lot of times, especially for men, a lot of times guys are reluctant to talk about their health in general, right? If you're dealing with arthritis and you're dealing with that pain, or you're dealing with the side effects of the medication, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about it, to your nurse about it, somebody to get that conversation going because you need to do that for your own well-being. But then especially that communication with your partner. And having that dialog is so important. But just know that there are those of us out there who are probably going through something similar, and that you're not alone in this journey. 


Episode 53 – Formula for Success 

Jacques Dallaire: 
Well, I think the top three things that I would raise from our discussion are: the fundamental truth of the A x B = Results equation. We can't control outcome because we can't control the things we can't control, but we have full control over what we do, the A in the equation. So, if I pour all of my energy into the things I can control, I won't end up being focused on all the things that I can't control. And that's the secret to success. 

I think the other thing that I would raise is the realization of how our conscious thought and our unconscious thought, our unconscious mind, work together. What we choose to believe in our conscious mind becomes the rudder that our unconscious mind acts on, and its job to salute and say, “Aye, aye, captain,” and take us in that direction. We need to do a better job policing our conscious mind thoughts in the face of the challenges that we have to deal with. Because how we think in our conscious mind, our unconscious mind acts on. And mindset is critically important. 

The last thing I'd offer is that pain is a perceptual process that occurs in the human mind. The signals that are received are generated at the level of a joint, but they go up the nerve to our brain, and that's where we perceive pain. So, if we can change the way our brain thinks about, perceives, the signals it's getting, we can change our pain response. Those would be the three things that I would say are really important tidbits to keep in mind for people who have arthritis of any kind. 


Do you have an idea for a topic you'd like to hear discussed on the podcast? Do you have a question about an episode or feedback you'd like to share. We'd love to hear from you. Just email us at [email protected] and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. That's [email protected]. Thanks for listening. 

Episode 54 – Fatigue & Sleep Solutions 

Dr. Susan Bartlett:   
First and foremost, take your fatigue seriously. It's telling you something really important. Be sure you talk with your doctor about it. Just because your doctor may not respond doesn't mean the conversation should end. Fatigue might also be a sign that your disease is not in as good control as it could or should be. I think that we do have to acknowledge that sleep problems go hand in hand with having a rheumatic disease.    
Poor sleep is gonna worsen your pain, make you feel more stressed and more vulnerable to depression, and getting adequate sleep has to be a priority. It has to be one of the things that we really guard very, very carefully. And I said before: Sleep hygiene is important for everyone, but it's especially important for people with rheumatic diseases because, the better you sleep, in many ways, the better you're going to feel.   

If you're struggling with this, and sleep remains a problem after you go through those strategies of looking at your own sleep hygiene, and using some apps, and making sure that you're balancing rest and activity, then speak with your rheumatologist. Because maybe a referral to a sleep center would be helpful to rule out a sleep disorder. Or to just be able to talk with a sleep specialist who can personalize some of these recommendations specifically for you.   

Episode 57 – Getting Started on the Right Foot 

Dr. Dan Cushman:  
I would always try to avoid surgery first. I think, in general, no matter what your problem is with the foot, with the exception of some acute injuries: Try to avoid surgery. There will be some issues where people will come in to me, and I will say, "No, you need to do surgery, because you will do better; and if you don't, you will be much worse." So, I would say, with the exception of a few things, generally surgery should be a second- or third-line option. That would be number one.  
Number two would be for osteoarthritis: Losing weight, if you're overweight, can be very helpful. Now, again, that is not every patient.  And I fully understand that. But for patients who have some extra weight, that alone will only benefit your body. So, I think that's gonna be a huge help for some patients.  
And then I think the third takeaway that I would say, just to encompass everything, and I hope I've hit on it a lot, is: One patient is different than the next. One patient's osteoarthritis of their ankle joint is different than another patient's osteoarthritis of their ankle joint. Just because a friend had an issue, it doesn't mean the treatment's gonna be the same for you.  
It really depends on who you are, what you do, what your goals are, what your foot is like, what it's shaped like, what demands are placed on it, what your knee is like, what your hip is like and what you have done before and what you would like to do. I think trying to look at it from an algorithm or a one-size-fits-all approach just does not work. It's better to find out who you are and what you need.  


Episode 58 – Grief & Chronic Illness With David Kessler 

David Kessler: 
Sure. Grief is organic. It's part of life. I think a second one would be: Become your own grief expert. And the third one would be: It's important that you fully understand your life, even if no one else gets it.  
Courtney Wells:  
Grief is in the heart and that comparison is in the mind. And as a person who tries to think a lot and overthinks a lot, I really do need that reminder to sometimes drop down and get into my body and out of my head. So, I really appreciate that. And then similarly, that meaning is not in the diagnosis, but that it is in how we respond after that and what we do with that diagnosis.  
And that's gonna be very helpful in working with the people that I do, because they do struggle with that idea of finding meaning in their diagnosis. And then also the idea that we may not come out of grief and have to learn to live with it. And I really appreciated the numerous times that David said “and” in this conversation — because that is what so many of us are thinking: it's black or white, it's that side or that side — and really life is all gray and we have to live with all of it.  


Whenever you need help, the Arthritis Foundation’s Helpline is here for you. Now offering support in Spanish and other languages. Whether it’s about insurance coverage, provider you need help from or something else. Get in touch with us by phone toll free at 800-283-7800 or send us a message at  

Episode 62 – Real Talk: Tips for Better Doctor-Patient Communication 

Dr. Hayes Wilson: 
I think the first thing is to be organized. Begin with the end in mind. The second thing is to be honest and to be transparent, to say, "You know, this is really what I want today." And then the third thing is to, at the end, make sure that you understand what the plan is and what we're gonna do until next time. And the most important thing is to don't save that last moment for what you really care about. Say it up front. Begin with the end in mind, be transparent, be honest, and make sure that, at the end, you understand.  
Rick Phillips:  
Rheumatology in particular is a marathon, it's not a sprint. We're not going to be healed when we leave the office. And we're probably not gonna be healed tomorrow or the next day. So, with our health care providers, it's like a good investment: Get in, work things out, get on course, stay on course and keep coming back. Because, like great wine, a good relationship ages even better.  


Episode 63 – Understanding Types of Pain 

Dr. Daniel Clauw: 
The first takeaway would be: The better you understand your pain and the different underlying causes of the pain, the better care you're going to get. Because you can then feed that information to the people that are taking care of you. And they'll be able to provide more precise care, 'cause these different types of pain have markedly, different types of treatments.   
The second thing I would say is: Make sure that you have sort of thoroughly thought through: Do you have some fibromyalgia-like pain, or some central sensitization? Because there's a lot of simple things we can do for that kind of pain, a lot of non-drug treatments that can be quite helpful for that type of pain.  
And then I guess the third thing would be, just in general, advice for chronic pain patients: Just keep moving forward. People get discouraged when they have chronic pain, and they get in ruts. And they are reluctant to try new things. But the best thing that you can do as a patient is just have an open mind to trying new therapies that you haven't tried, especially some non-drug therapies. The evidence base is increasing for things like acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, mindfulness. You might be surprised that one or more of those things can be really helpful for you.  

Sarah Cloud:  
I think we need to remind ourselves that we are our best advocate. And so, if you are having different types of pain, one, educating yourself on what they are, but also being able to speak clearly to your doctors about what the type of pain is and looking at those alternatives. 

Episode 64 – Tools to Manage Pain 

Dr. Drew Sturgeon:  
One, remember that, especially in chronic pain, if it's a familiar pain, what your brain's looking for is safety. And that's your first job: to try and find safety. And that might mean moments where you stop and take a deep breath. It might mean telling yourself, "This is OK, I've been here. I can handle this." It might be in a conversation with your doctor. Might mean prayer. But finding a point of safety is how you start to interrupt that process.  
Two, pain occurs because your brain is working too hard to protect you. Not vice versa. What we're trying to do is to calm it down. Things like breathing and meditation and gentle movement. And it looks different from person to person.  
And three, you get better incrementally, so baby steps. You will need to keep working at it. And it might mean taking smaller steps than you want, but that's how you get there.  



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PODCAST CLOSE:             

This podcast is independently produced by the Arthritis Foundation. Podcast Editor and Voiceover, Tony Williams. Podcast Production Manager, Bailey Bowman. Marketing Manager, Jay Little-Gala. Episode Producers, Jill Tyrer, Bryan Vargo and Robyn Abree. Executive Producer and Host, Rebecca Gillett. Thanks to our podcast studio and editor, Daniel Daughtridge with Atlanta Podcast Recording. Be well and live your best yes.  

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