It’s hard to pinpoint when I got used to being a diabetic. I’ve had this disease for 27 years now and I’ve accepted it as part of who I am. Does it bother me if my pump looks funny in my clothes? Sometimes. Do I enjoy high or low blood sugars? Nope, not one bit. But I’m used to it. I’m used to the fact that eating a box of raisins today may not change my blood sugar but tomorrow it will. I’m used to the unpredictability of Type 1 Diabetes and I’ve accepted it.
What I am not used to is my Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I think I’m getting there. When I was diagnosed three years ago, I was a mess. Fast forward 6-9 months later, thanks to Humira and methotrexate, I was basically in remission (or how I imagine it to be). I very quickly got used to less pain, more energy, and feeling more like myself.
Fast forward a few months from there..I got sick and taken off of my miracle meds. I’ve been fighting since. But this time, I know my sense of remission will be different. My doctor, and various imaging and tests, has confirmed that I have permanent damage to my elbow, knee, hands, and feet. This was confirmed prior to spending nine months on Orencia with things getting worse. Permanent. Permanent damage. Permanent stiffness. Permanent pain.
Up until this week, I viewed a lot of things as bandaids. I would often say “once my biologic works, I won’t need these compression gloves/knee braces/elbow supports”. “Once my biologic works, I won’t have trouble sleeping or need pain meds anymore.”
The goal of my RA medications is to stop or at least slow down the progression of my disease..to reduce inflammation. They simply won’t change what’s already happened to my bones and joints. I’ve known this for awhile now but it never really sank in until yesterday. I caught myself telling my doctor that “as soon as my Enbrel started working, I’d be able to run, sleep well, and wouldn’t need any more pain medications”. As much as I would love for this to be true, I have to start being honest with myself and look for ways to improve my quality of life amongst the pain and fatigue.
To start, I’m vowing to realize that exercising for a few minutes is better than nothing. Just because I can’t go for a long time like I used to, is no reason to stop trying. I am not going to put myself down and/or think about when the day will finally come that I feel great enough to exercise for hours. I’m going to do what I can, as often as I can, and leave it at that. I just have to get used to it.