Seattle PhD & RA Patient Creates Successful Blog

Seattle PhD & RA Patient Creates Successful Blog

Andrew Lumpe, Ph.D., a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patient who has a doctorate degree in biology, has successfully managed life as a professor of education and an RA patient. Andrew’s biology expertise has enabled him to understand the intricate science behind RA, while his real-life struggles with the crippling disease have given him brilliant insight as a patient blogger, representing RA in a way that all patients can relate to.

In high school, Andrew discovered his natural aptitude for biology and eventually earned his bachelors and masters in the subject, and a Ph.D. in science education. However, as he pursued his passion for biology, he never thought he would be able to use his knowledge to make a difference in the RA community. In both his personal blog,, and his role as a site moderator on, Andrew addresses arthritis from multiple angles, leaving his readers with in-depth knowledge and the confidence to fight their own battles against rheumatoid arthritis.

Although the Seattle Pacific University professor began experiencing symptoms of RA in 2004 (uveitis, specifically) he was advised by his ophthalmologist to “wait and see” how the disease progressed before beginning treatment. Andrew waited for five years and experienced serious joint destruction as a result. By the time he was formally diagnosed with RA in 2009 by his rheumatologist, it was far too late to save many of his joints. He was required to have six surgeries and consequently, withstand six painful recoveries.

Increasing his struggle, Andrew failed to respond to nearly every biologic, DMARD, steroid and NSAID available. After a seemingly hopeless pursuit of the medication that would put an end to his suffering, he finally found a combination of a biologic agent and immunosuppressant that worked moderately well to control his pain.

“Living with RA is a daily battle that changes constantly,” said Andrew. “There are times when I am not able to engage in regular life activities, work or exercise. The emotional toll can be heavy but I’ve learned to adapt and refocus my energy on the numerous activities that I can do.”

Andrew’s ability to adapt and stay positive has made him a powerful blogger on both casual and professional platforms. Shortly after being diagnosed in 2009, he created, a personal blog that offered a look at his individual experiences, complemented by his biology background and scientific approach toward RA. His blog became so successful that it garnered Healthline’s award of “Top Rheumatoid Arthritis Blog” for three consecutive years (2012-2014).


“There are many excellent RA bloggers out there that share their stories about their disease-related battles, but few approach the disease from the intersection of science and personal experience,” explained Andrew. “My scientific background inspired me to delve into the science behind the disease.”

Andrew’s blog acquired numerous readers over the years, but he began making an impact on a much larger audience when he became a patient advocate and site moderator for His primary duties still include writing articles about RA and moderating discussion boards where patients can discuss questions, concerns, medications, and tips about living with arthritis.

“It is particularly rewarding to build an online community, to share advice with RA patients, and to foster a feeling of hope in those who are newly diagnosed and may be feeling scared,” revealed Andrew.

Beyond blogging, Andrew also participated in a patient research study with fellow colleagues from The Mayo Clinic and the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation to research the impact of physical activity in RA patients. The findings were presented at the 2013 American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting in San Diego.

Andrew expressed that he is a fervent supporter of the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF) because he knows all too well that the current treatments for RA are not adequate and believes ANRF is on its way toward making a breakthrough in research. Though Andrew was frustrated that his arthritis failed to respond to nearly every medication he tried, he remains hopeful that one day he will find a medication that will halt the progression of his disease.

“Going through so many treatments that have not slowed the disease progression is frustrating as I’m running out of options,” shared Andrew, “but scientists are working hard to understand the complex biological processes involved with RA. This understanding could eventually lead to better treatments and ultimately a cure.”

Click here to support the innovative research studies at the Arthritis National Research Foundation!

For Andrew, possessing a unique, two-fold perspective when battling RA has prevented him from becoming overwhelmed by the daily battles he wages against arthritis, and it has allowed him to make an impact in the RA community on a worldwide level through research and blogging. In honor of his avid fans, he shared a few tips that helped him on his own RA journey:

“Become involved with the RA community. Be your own best advocate. Get connected with resources. Lastly, don’t be afraid to tell your story.”

Do you have a unique perspective that helps you be a great RA patient advocate? Tell us what makes YOU unique in the comments below!

Arthritis-Research-Foundation-footer Do you have an arthritis awareness story to share? We share your arthritis stories in an effort to make a difference by giving arthritis patients a voice, raising arthritis awareness and raising awareness about the need for more funds for research. Awareness of arthritis and the need for research are key components to the quest to finding a cure for arthritis. Please consider making a donation today in support of this critical research. To share your arthritis story, contact us.
Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

  • Dawn Valentine
    Posted at 17:41h, 26 March Reply

    Congratulations Andrew. I follow Rheumatoid and will now check out your blog. Thank you for sharing

  • Karen Mueller
    Posted at 17:44h, 26 March Reply

    Why is it, that the news, commercials only talk about finding cures for cancer? They find cures for all types of cancer, have medicine to take to cure that type of cancer. But no one talks about arthritis, trying to find the cure for all types of arthritis, what the hell? My grandma had Rheumitoid arthritis, she passed away 15 yrs this April from complications of Lupus. I now have Rheumatoid Arthritis & fibromyalgia & Generative disc disease at the age of 33, I am now almost 45, & still no cure for any of these. I’m a single mom of two one is 21 & has to live with me, to help me with alot of things I use to be able to do. My other child is 14 & has to do a lot of the house work, when my oldest should be out on his own life, my 14 yr old she be able to just be a teenager, I should be the one taking care of them not the other way around. Being able to do all things for myself, go places walking working out. Which I can NOT do any more. Please tell me what it will take to make the public & researchers to help find a cure please. There are always fundraisers for all types of cancer, but nothing for arthritis, not even support groups I’m sorry, but this is not fair to me or to other’s suffering from this painful disease I will die from this so will so many other’s!!! I am in excruciating pain 24/7 for the last 12 yrs PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!

    • admin
      Posted at 09:17h, 27 March Reply

      Hi Karen – First, we’re very sorry to hear about your Grandma. Second, we are working to fund the very research you are asking about and currently funding a little over $1 million a year. We will continue to fight for research so we can find a cure and hope that you’ll join us! As we receive more support we can support more of these researchers who are moving us closer to a cure. There are new treatments coming so look for those in the next couple years. We place over 90 percent of our donations into research, so if we can get more funding we can support more projects, ask more questions, learn more and find hopefully find a cure for these different forms of arthritis. Hang in there and know that we are fighting for you!

  • Jeannie Shirk
    Posted at 17:45h, 26 March Reply

    Very excited to read and join Andrew’s blog. As those of us with this horrible disease, information is vital.

  • Pat Mize
    Posted at 18:57h, 26 March Reply

    Love this. I was misdiagnosed for years. Changes in diet help me. I’m in a flareup now, but I have a fairly high pain tolerance and make myself get up and go to my job. Work acts as a great diversion. Not great on bad days, but I refuse to give in.

  • joh
    Posted at 08:13h, 27 March Reply

    I have RA and I’ve been on three different injectable meds that havent worked. I played basketball on the national level for several years. I always wondered if that contributed to my arthritis. I’m so sick of pain.

  • Sue
    Posted at 18:19h, 27 March Reply

    I’ve had RA for 20 years. I’m on disability and Medicare I am not 65 so have not supplement insurance. I was on a biologic before I had Medicare and developed an abcess in my lung, nearly died and had a wedge excision in that area of my right lung, I went back on MTX and Arava, and had pretty good control. In 2012 I felt great was able to workout and felt stronger than I had since diagnosed in 1995. I developed another lung infection and since 2013 have had to have 2 more surgeries on the other lung. Last year I had a shoulder replacement in March, broke a foot in Oct and had the 2nd lung surgery in December. I have been out of control and in flare since December. I have tried to qualified for biologics, but can’t. The cost of these are prohibitive, the yearly cost even with my Part D is more than my disability. My husband and I live on a fixed income, he is a disabked Veteran, I’m on MTX and Plaquinel now, have changed doctors so hope he has ideas and is coordinating care with pulmonologist. Really discouraged and am always in pain. Like Pat I’ve always refused to let RA win, but in the last 6 months I have quit all of my outside activities because I don’t have the energy and don’t want to let people down.

  • Rachel Smith
    Posted at 06:38h, 28 March Reply

    I agree that it is time for focus to be brought towards RA, the different types and the need for funding. I am a 34 Family NP who lives with RA who have 2 boys that were diagnosed with a genetic form that will never go away at ages 4 & 5. Besides trying to hold down a full time job in pain, I have to help with the boys pain and keep their kid like spirits up for as long as possible. With a lot of work and determination on everyone parts they are active make gymnasts who compete regularly and are top on the state. I am going to advocate for more research so when my boys get older they don’t have to suffer like I have.

  • J
    Posted at 16:54h, 28 March Reply

    I’m a single mom, struggling with RA, chronic gastritis and severe myopia, I only work part time and lately even this is draining me. Living in a major city is so hard, I get pushed a lot on the subway because I can’t run. I can’t even tell you how hard it is, as I am typing this with one hand now.

    • admin
      Posted at 08:58h, 30 March Reply

      Hi J – We’re sorry to hear about your level of pain. Grateful you are reading these stories and hoping things will get better for you. If you’re interested in sharing your story further please let us know. Until then sending some love from our organization to you!

  • Kelly
    Posted at 20:53h, 25 May Reply

    I’m very happy to read about other peoples journey with RA. I am recently diagnosed, little over a year now..been on MTX which I couldnt tolerate, then to Arava which didn’t work, so now I’m on a biologic which I think is working somewhat…I live with chronic pain daily and have been for the last decade or more, I just wish I could have been diagnosed at an earlier age as I’m 49 now. Still young! Still have a life to live and want to enjoy it to the best of my ability! I’m working FT and its getting harder and harder every day. Its so awesome to find this site dedicated to finding a cure as there are so many who suffer greatly with this disease. I wish people would realize it not just an old persons disease, everyone and anyone at any age can have RA! I’m sporting my FREE cure arthritis bracelet and want to say THANK YOU! Rock on to cure RA!

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