RA Won't Get the Best of Me
|We all need to have an armory, well stocked|
with things that help us fight this disease --
including things that protect against RA taking
over our lives and getting the best of us.
Yes, silliness is in my arsenal.
As I type this, I am home sick, lying in bed. I've never dealt well with being sick (I'm the kid who would pout and cry whenever my mom made me stay home sick from school), and I finally realized why: admitting I'm sick and deciding to stay in bed makes me feel like I've lost a battle, I've been defeated, the sickness has won. I know that's silly, and it's important to rest when your body needs it, but it remains an internal struggle. Imagine the struggle I faced when I was diagnosed at age 19 with rheumatoid arthritis: every day it felt like I had lost a battle. Coming to terms with living with a chronic illness was a long process. At first, I was devastated. Over the years, I've learned to accept things for what they are, but when the days of despair creep up (as they always do from time to time), I've found a few things I can do to help keep my spirits up and keep the disease from taking over and getting the best of me. I've already discussed my thoughts on "managing my rheumatoid disease" -- there are obvious things we can do to be proactive about getting proper care and treatment and to take good care of ourselves -- but when the disease threatens to take over anyways, here are some things I've found to help.
Focus on Faith
I've said it before and I'll say it again: my faith in God is what keeps me going each and every day. Learning how to rely on God's strength instead of my own and focusing on His faithfulness helps me to get through the tough days. Knowing that God can work good things even out of the bad helps me to keep a a proper perspective. If I focus my attention on my disease and dwell on my symptoms, on pain, on the unknowns of my future -- it quickly leads to a downward spiral. But, when I focus my attention on God, and his love and promises, it fills me with hope and leaves no room for worry, fear or despair.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." -- Hebrews 12:1-3
Do What You Can and Accept Help
Another thing that helps me to keep RA from getting the best of me, is continuing to do what I can. This will look different for each person affected by the disease, and obviously you need to be careful not to overuse flaring joints -- but focusing on what I CAN do instead of what I CAN'T do can help me to feel better. I can't do push-ups anymore or anything that requires more than a 30-degree bend in my wrist, but I still CAN do most of my yoga DVD -- and I CAN modify things so that they work for me.
|I call this one of my "Conquering RA" pictures -- backpacking|
on Isle Royale was a life dream that I was able to realize
Delight in Life's Simple Joys
Finally, one of the best things I can do is to take delight in the simple things in life that bring me joy and happiness. A chronic disease can steal a lot of things from you, but you don't have to let it get the best of you. Spending time with loved ones and taking the time to enjoy the things you love can make a world of difference.
"I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad"
These are a few of my favorite things...
Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Happy Gilmore. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!