Thursday, October 21, 2010

Even Better Victories

No matter what, no matter how crappy I feel, I will not let RA get me down.  Well, for any length of time, anyway.  Though I don't want to be bogged down in negativity and anger, I do feel it is good sometimes to allow yourself to experience emotions, to own and live in sadness/anger/frustration/helplessness for a little while.

It is always a roller-coaster, this disease.  The ups and downs are extreme and varying.  Sometimes the ups last and last, and sometimes they are short.  The same for the downs.  Though it does seem like the good times fly by quicker than the bad :)

I've learned that my good times are very different than I would have categorized them in the past.  My up time still includes painful, damaged joints.  I still limp in my up times.  I still need help with countless tasks.  But comparing it to my down time less than a year ago, when I could barely walk around my house, when my husband had to literally carry me from our car to our house, and my up looks pretty damn bright.

The key is refusing to give up, and I believe, not knowing there is an option of giving up.  I still remember a visit with my rheumy nearly ten years ago.  At the time I was a full-time university student who also volunteered.  The clinic was a teaching one and he loved having me come in for an appointment when the students were in.  What better way to break the stereotype of only "older" people having RA than by having your 22 year old patient with severe RA in for an appointment.  As he sat there explaining to them the limits of my body, the damage already done, the various meds I was on and had already tried, he quoted, "I don't know how she does it.  She could be at home, in bed all day."  And my immediate thought was, "I could?"  I had no idea that was an option.  Really.  I thought I had to keep living life, pushing through.  And, I do.

The ups come, they really do.  You just have to look at them differently then you used to.  Change your perspective and you will see it.  You may not be the same as you used to be, but accepting that allows you to see your growth and the new "ups" when they come.


  1. Wonderful post, Pony! You have a very healthy outlook to life. Would you say you were always a positive 'glass half full' person, or is it something you've had to learn? I'm such a pessimist and always have been, and it does me no good. I can't seem to change though. :(

  2. Thanks! I'm actually kind of grumpy, you should ask my husband! However, when it comes to this dumb RA, I know I'm more positive than negative. I mean, I could be clinically depressed about this crap. But there's nothing I can do except fight it, and try to smile when I'm doing that :) I guess it's from having it a part of my life for ten years. I honestly don't remember life without pain.

    However, about lots of other things I can definitely be a "glass half empty" person.

    I was pretty gloomy about it for the first while after diagnosis, so it has been a process. You'll get there, Squirrel :)

  3. You are so right, Pony. It never occurred to me, either, that giving up because I had RA was an option.

    You're very wise to realize that "up" times can be very different than they were pre-rheuma, but no less full of joy as long as you can keep in mind how much worse it can be. It sounds odd, thinking that way, but it really is the best and healthiest way to "keep on keeping on."

    Thanks for the great and uplifting post.