After I was first diagnosed with the lovely RA, I sort of, kind of, but not really attempted to find a support group. I did a little research on the web about groups in the City, but every time I came across one and thought about going, a dreary image of morose people sitting around in a circle in a badly-lit room would float unappealingly through my mind. It just didn't seem like it was going to be my thing.
But after finding other young women via my blog and facebook page who also live in NYC, I had a brain storm. Why not form our own type of support group, but one that was a little more contemporary, hip, and, well, FUN! What I imagined was a group that could be focused on activism as much as support, and get us out and about in this great City. Luckily for me, fellow New Yorker's and RA RA's* Jodi and Katherine were up for it. In true New York style, it took us about two months to actually land on a date and make it happen (sigh), but this past Wednesday night, the three of us met up at the W Hotel for the first NYC Sick Chick Happy Hour!
Photo by Jodi McKee, Sick Chick Club, New York
Both Jodi and Katherine are on methotrexate, which means alcohol is mostly off limits. Katherine had timed it so that this could be her drink night, but Jodi settled for a coke. Lush that I am, I ordered a champagne cocktail- complements of my plaquenil. Really, it didn't matter what we were drinking, it just felt so great to meet each other in person.
At first, I think we were all a little nervous given that this was pretty much a three-way blind date, but once we sat down, the conversation turned on and didn't stop for over two hours! The relief and fervor we all felt at finally being able to talk to others in the same boat who know the lingo and shorthand was tangible. We covered everything from doctor visits, medicine dosages, side effects, dealing with RA on the job, dating with RA, having children with RA and more! At 8.30pm, we finally realized what time it was and that we each needed to be heading out to dinner plans and the rest of our evenings, but the three of us quickly agreed that this needed to become a monthly outing.
Since happy hour isn't necessarily the best option, we also talked about having a Sick Chick Club picnic or other activity that would be both accessible and fun, and to meet in different parts of the city. Future Sick Chick clubs might also focus on a specific topic and incorporate strategies for increasing RA awareness.*Thanks to fellow blogreader and RA RA Nicole for coining that term!