Computer Programming, Medical Retirement and the power of Art: Lessons from Wendy Hawkins

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Episode at a Glance:

  • Wendy’s diagnosis story of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis as a baby
  • Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s with JRA: Wendy shares her ups and downs, from acceptance in grade school to isolation in high school and young adulthood (when she first met someone with her same condition at age 26)
  • Treatments: Reflections on how treatments have changed in the current era as compared to the 1980s
  • Career choices with JRA: Wendy’s shares how she managed a career as a computer programmer at Hewlett Packard after initially hoping to become an artist.
  • Disability and “medical retirement:” Wendy wants to keep working longer but her job is not conducive to her medical needs; she has a smooth process of going on social security disability but experiences a very tedious and dehumanizing experience while attempting to utilize her long term disability insurance benefits through her company.
  • Importance of Art and Mandalas in Wendy’s coping: “Art was the one place I could be free.” Wendy takes a healing art class with a focus on mandalas and shares how “it’s about getting quiet with yourself”
  • Support groups: Wendy gets involved with the Arthritis foundation support groups and then is asked Kim Burda to help admin Co-Admin of the 26,000 person “Rheumatoid Disease (RD) - Laughing, Living, Loving, and Learning” for people with various forms of Rheumatoid Disease. SHe shares the ups and downs of being an admin.
  • Wendy’s best advice newly diagnosed patients? Find a good rheum who will partner with you and share and answer questions. Don’t be afraid of the meds.

Medical disclaimer:

All content found on Arthritis Life public channels was created for generalized informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Episode Sponsor

Rheum to THRIVE, a community support & education program Cheryl created to help people with rheumatic disease go from overwhelmed, confused and alone to confident, supported and connected.

For full episode details including a transcript

Go to www.MyArthritisLife.Net

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