Category Archives: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lessons

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Day 17 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: What is a Major Lesson you’ve learned from your chronic life?
  

I can do a lot of things but I can’t do them all in one day. This doesn’t apply to big items- dreams, accomplishments. It applies to “normal” daily tasks- cleaning, cooking, shopping, showering, etc. 

I will need the same amount time to recover from cooking dinner from scratch as I would need from spending a day working or completing a race. 

The hard part about this lesson is getting others to understand. And the even harder part is coming to terms with your own limitations. I’m still working on both of these ?

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Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Positivity 

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Day 16 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: On a bad day what is a way to redirect yourself to a more positive place?
  
Today has been rough. I woke up with pretty strong pain. Resisted the urge to burst into tears on the drive to work. Resisted the urge to cry before I got to my car after work. Pain is relentless. I’m now lying in bed with ice on both of my legs, my thumb in a brace, and pain meds already on board. 

Days like today are hard to pick myself up out of. I can’t even go to sleep, I’m too uncomfortable. 

So how do I get things back on a positive path? I vent. I share online with others that know exactly how I feel. I share a laugh with my kids. I grab the cat and rock him like a baby (he hates it!). I put something mindless on tv and do a jigsaw puzzle on my iPad. I color. I do anything to give my mind a break from constantly assessing how I feel. 

Am I going to scream “I Love Rheumatoid Arthritis” out my window? Nope. But if I can get my mind to focus on something else, even for 2 minutes, I win. 

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Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Icy Relief

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Day 15 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: When dealing with your chronic condition, what is a product or service you’re Grateful for?
  

I love ice packs and I have quite a few. When the pain gets really bad, an ice pack can hold me over until pain meds kick in. You can find me most nights with 2 of my cervical Torex cold packs across my legs, a smaller pack under my left elbow, and another on my shoulder. 

In addition to standard packs, I have gel inserts for mittens and booties that are kept cold in the fridge. I also have a frozen eye mask for headaches, sinus or TMJ pain. 

Natracure has an awesome assortment of cold products (or heat if that works for you)- I encourage you to check them out! 

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Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Empathy

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Day 13 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: How has your chronic condition affected your Compassion and Empathy for others?
  

Having Rheumatoid Arthritis has made me have tremendous compassion and empathy for others with chronic illnesses. Before my diagnosis, I was always in a rush. I was rushing through life and didn’t have time for someone to slow me down. People that took forever to walk or check out in the grocery store, irritated me. 

When I was diagnosed with RA, I spent a lot of time questioning why. The only answer that brought me comfort was that God had been trying to get me to slow down and enjoy life and I needed a wake up call. Do I blame God? Of course not. But maybe my disease was part of His plan all along. 

I now find myself assuming that everyone around me has a “hidden” issue. Whether they are covering up emotional or physical pain, everyone has something. If someone is slowly walking across the street, I’ll wait forever for them to cross. I have no idea how much pain they may be trying to hide. If someone snaps at me in the grocery store, I try to realize that they may be having a crisis and I got caught in the middle. 

This disease hurts me in so many ways but in a strange way, it has brought me peace. 

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Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fear

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Day 12 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge! What is the Biggest Fear you’ve conquered despite your chronic condition?
  
At the time of my Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis, almost 4 years ago, I couldn’t walk down the stairs. I literally would have to scoot on my butt down the stairs every morning like a toddler. I would go to Target and be stuck in the middle of the store, wondering if I would be able to make it to my car. 

My left arm wouldn’t even come close to straightening. It was bent and locked. I couldn’t wash my face, because I couldn’t reach it. I couldn’t use a drive thru because my arm wouldn’t work. I couldn’t dress myself. 

The fatigue was so intense that I would be sound asleep during a hair cut. 

To say I was scared is an understatement. I was terrified. I thought I would never walk more than a few feet, never return to work, never be able to fully care for myself again. 

Luckily I had a doctor who told me that it would be awhile but that I would get back on my feet (literally). I still struggled even after things got better physically for me. For months, I had a panic attack every time I went to Target. Looking back, I know it’s from the legitimate fear I had of not being able to walk out of the store. 

I still have fears- how long will I be able to work? Will the pain ever go away, even a little bit? Will my kids get this horrible disease? But each day, I face that fear head on. I get up, put my best face on (make up, of course) and go to work. I’m grateful for each day and the little moments during it- making dinner, spending time with my children. 

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Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Humble

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Day 11 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: What is the most humbling experience you’ve had with your Chronic Illness?
  
This quote is perfect. I’m humbled daily by those that offer kind words and endless support to me. The online Chronic Life community is filled with patients who are struggling so much but never miss an opportunity to check in on each other. 

I’m humbled that someone, feeling so much worse than I, can still cheer me up, sometimes from across the globe. 

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ice, Ice, Molly

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If you’re like me, you often ignore your husband’s constant reminders to take pain meds before the pain gets bad. I don’t know why I ignore them and quite frankly, I’m stupid to do so. 

So here I lay, hurting. Hurting so much that finding something to watch on tv, in order to distract myself from the pain, is too tall of an order. 

  
The only solution I have when pain gets this bad is ice. Ice packs straight from the freezer. I have a ton in a bunch of different shapes and sizes, but this one that NatraCure sent to me is by far my favorite. Why? 

  • It gets very cold, in the fridge or freezer, but remains flexible, it does not solidify. 
  • It drapes over my knee and gets both sides of it, without me having to use multiple packs or lay in an uncomfortable position so it doesn’t fall off. 

I find that ice helps dramatically lessen my pain while I wait for pain meds to kick in. What do you do when you’re waiting? 

*Although NatraCure sent me this product for review, all opinions are 100% mine*

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Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

A Gift

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Day 10 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: What is something you’ve done despite Chronic Illness that you wouldn’t have done otherwise?
  

Blog! And connect with so many wonderful people via Twitter. I never would’ve considered myself (still don’t) interesting. The fact that so many people follow me on Twitter and read my blog is so flattering. 

I love sharing my stories but the responses I get from others are invaluable. So many young women send me messages on Twitter, telling me that they were just diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and feel helpless. I love that I am able to be a resource. Someone who knows exactly what they’re talking about. 

Being able to help others, especially when this disease leaves me feeling helpless more often than not, means the world to me. 

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Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Do your research 

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Day 7 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: What advice would you give someone​ who was newly diagnosed?

  

You will be tired. Exhausted. The last thing you’ll want to do is research. But it’s so important. Research your condition, your medications- their side effects, risks. Consume all information. Ask questions. 

Being an educated patient is vital. You can’t be your own advocate if you don’t know what you’re up against. 

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