Category Archives: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Medicine? No, thank you.

Published by:

6f0183cffdb5215bce98da55f9c332ad35369ef5517a974bc2652cdc5d357058

I’ve had a wonderful, productive weekend. Went to the grocery store Saturday morning, got my hair highlighted and cut in the afternoon, and made a delicious, healthy meal, from scratch, for dinner. Got up early on Sunday, exercised, did laundry, and cleaned. After a short nap, I finished measuring and bagging my food for the week. Now here I am, blogging.

Isn’t this what “normal” people do on their weekends? (Well, they probably do more but you know what I mean) So why is this weekend any different? I didn’t inject methotrexate or Enbrel on Saturday morning as I have done for months. I’ve been fighting this nasty cold and instead of gambling, I decided to skip my injections and let my immune system have a fighting chance.

I’ll probably feel horrible in a few days but for right now, I’m thrilled. I haven’t been sipping ginger ale nonstop, only stopping to eat a few cheerios here and there. I haven’t slept for hours on end and accomplished absolutely nothing on Saturday or Sunday. I don’t feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and my stomach feels marvelous.

I know methotrexate and Enbrel are important. I know I need them. But times like this, I hate them. And I hate Rheumatoid Arthritis. I hate that the very medicine that helps keep my joints from being damaged, the medicine that hopefully helps protect my organs from this disease, also literally takes away days of my life.

Share
Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Time

Published by:

Day 23 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: Where are you Living right now? The past, present, or future?
  
I’m often somewhere between the present and the future. Living with Chronic Pain forces you into the present. Sometimes pain is the only thing you can see. It consumes you. 

The future is worrisome. I avoid thinking about it as much as possible. How long will I be able to work, walk, care for myself? Will the pain get worse? 

On the flip side, if you have a Chronic Illness like Rheumatoid Arthritis, you sometimes have to think of the future. You have to know that a day after your methotrexate injection, you’re going to be extremely nauseous and sleep most of the day. You also have to be aware that overdoing it today could be quite painful tomorrow. 

Time is a delicate line that we walk. We’re constantly paying for the past, distracting ourselves from the present, and trying not to fear the future. 

Share
Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Courage 

Published by:

Day 19 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: What is the most Courageous Act you’ve completed despite your chronic condition? 
  

I haven’t given up. 

There are days I want to. Times when the pain is so strong that I don’t know what the next hour will look like. There are times when I’m angry that I have this disease. Times that I’m frustrated that no one around me truly knows how I feel. But I don’t give up. And that is the most courageous thing I’ve done thus far. 

Share
Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Disease with Benefits

Published by:

Day 18 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: What is a way you’ve benefited from having a Chronic Condition?  

This may be my new favorite quote. I have no idea how I stumbled across it but it suits me and today’s prompt perfectly. 

Sometimes you have to feel your worst, to feel your best. It took being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis for me to really slow down and appreciate what’s around me. My chronic condition may make me walk slower than I’d like at Target but that affords me lots of laughs with my daughter as she tries on silly accessories or shows me every funny cat costume in the store. If I were rushing through my errand, I would miss these little moments. 

I spend more time on the couch than I’d like to admit but that means that my son has turned me into a big NBA fan and he loves to sit and talk about whatever game is on. I may never have watched a basketball game if I had been up and running around to do something far less important than spend time with him.

Share
Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lessons

Published by:

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 ?

Share
Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Positivity 

Published by:

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. 

Share
Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Icy Relief

Published by:

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! 

Share
Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Empathy

Published by:

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. 

Share
Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fear

Published by:

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. 

Share
Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Humble

Published by:

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. 

Share