A Day In The Life With Rheumatoid Arthritis

A Day In The Life With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Chronic pain can make even the most rudimentary tasks impossible. It’s also a profoundly isolating experience, whether you live alone or with a family. One of our clients, Rowan*, was kind enough to share what her day-to-day experience was like. A 40-year-old teacher with rheumatoid arthritis (RH), she has a family to take care of; a husband, John, and two young girls. John works full time as well and takes care of the majority of the housework on his own. This is what a typical day in Rowan’s life looks like. 

5:30 a.m.

My pain always wakes me up. It’s agony. First thing in the morning, everything hurts. My feet are so painful I can’t stand. I can’t grip my toothbrush properly and need to give myself some time before I can hold my eyeliner. It’s frustrating, but I’ve started to develop a kind of schedule around the pain. 

My first class doesn’t start until 1:30 p.m., then, of course, I remember that I’m no longer teaching. I stopped working on my doctor’s recommendation so I could apply for long-term disability benefits. I was denied because I was still holding on to one online class which I thought I was able to take on. It took hiring a lawyer to win my case, so that’s what I did. I’m so thankful we got a lump-sum settlement. It means that I can take things one day at a time instead of worrying about how we’re going to pay our mortgage.

6:00 a.m.

John usually has to help me get dressed in the morning. Occasionally, when it’s really bad, he helps me with my makeup, too, which is why I’ll often just get up and get ready as early as he does. I genuinely don’t know what I’d do without him. It’s hard on both of us. He knows and understands what RH is, but sometimes it doesn’t matter. The fact that I look fine most of the time means he can get frustrated by our situation. He has the patience of a saint, but sometimes that’s not even enough. And I can’t blame him. 

1:00 p.m.

John usually takes the girls to school since I move too slowly in the mornings. So I take my time getting ready, may try to take a nap, and then slowly make my way to the grocery store. I try to stay busy and be helpful. I was having a really bad day today. I called my friend Sarah to come with me – she helps me a lot. Luckily she works from home most days and can take a long lunch.


I can’t help with prepping dinner anymore. John comes home from work and has to take care of everything himself right now. The girls pitch in, but they also have their homework. It crushes me because I used to love cooking. I was a wizard in the kitchen and I miss experimenting with new dishes as a family. But also, I feel useless in my own life. I’ll often sit at the dinner table and try to talk with John about his day while he cooks. Sometimes he has the energy for that, other days he doesn’t. He’ll get the girls ready for bed, then help me get ready for bed. Then we do it all over again the next day. 

At one time, Rowan’s rheumatoid arthritis was bearable, but it’s too much now. She tried applying for long-term disability benefits, but her claim was denied because she was still working part time. Thankfully, her whole family has been rallying together to lend a hand. She found Share Lawyers and came to us for help. 

“I really appreciated the support and empathy from the staff I worked with,” Rowan said. “It’s hard dealing with chronic pain and feeling like people don’t believe you just because they can’t see your pain. The staff and lawyers never made me feel like I didn’t matter or that I was exaggerating. That made the whole process so much easier to handle. I thank all of you for your support throughout the past year.” 

Together, we’ve been able to build a case to help Rowan get the benefits she needs to live within her current abilities.    

*Please note that all names and identifying details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of all involved. 

Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against Great-West Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.