The Evolving Nature Of R&R

R&R 1
R&R: The Childhood Years

When Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy was a little kid, R&R referred to one thing – the railroad properties in Monopoly. These were always one of my favorite properties to buy, with hopes of collecting all four railroads: Reading, Pennsylvania, B&O, and Short Line.

Some of my other favorite properties were the two cheapest ones right after Go – Mediterranean Avenue and Baltic Avenue. They were easy to build houses and hotels on as they were so inexpensive and required just two properties. I don’t remember how many times a player short on cash breathed a sign of relief after successfully passing Park Place and Boardwalk, only to end up on one of my hotels and go bankrupt.

I was always the dog token. I played by the rules where all taxes and fees went into the center of the board, to be one by the first person to land on Free Parking.
And isn’t amazing how frequently someone can roll three doubles in a row, only to end up in jail? I wonder what the actual statistical chance is of that happening…
Okay, now that I have shared my lifelong Monopoly strategies, I’ll be sure to never play with anyone who has read this post.

R&R 2
R&R: The Early Career Years

If you know anyone who has gone to architecture school – both undergraduate and graduate – like me, then you know the routine. All-nighter after all-nighter, countless days spend at the drawing board in the design studio, seeing way too many sunrises, and bad accidents involving sleepy students and sharp cutting tools.

After nine years of this routine, I finally embarked on my early professional career with one thought in my mind – take it a little bit easier that I had during the past decade. This doesn’t mean that my career suffered; in fact quite the opposite happened – I went into the office, did my work, and then left at the end of the day (luckily in my industry I could set my own hours, so I staggered my workday up a couple of hours – from 6am to 3pm).

So when my vacations days approached, R&R meant only one thing: rest and relaxation. I never could figure out why people distributed every possible method in which they could be contacted while they were out of the office…and then on top of that, dropped in via email on a regular basis. Nope, that was not for me. I sent out one message, turned on my out-of-office replay, and didn’t check in until the Monday morning that I was actually back in the office.

For me, the whole point of work and vacation was to work while I was at work, and to vacation while I was on vacation. (Some things aren’t meant to be mixed….I shudder at the sound of “working vacation”.)


R&R 3
R&R: The Rheumatoid Arthritis Years

Having lived with rheumatoid arthritis for a handful of years now R&R has taken on yet another meaning. This time, it refers to remission and relapse.

And to be honest, I have only recently begun to focus that there are two sides of this issue. When I am on the midst of a flare, the sweetest dream is one of remission, where all disease activity ceases. It often seems unattainable, but once it is reached it is quite easy to forget the trauma caused by the intense pain and by the reduction in mobility.

As I’ve been having very slight RA activity during the past month, I wouldn’t say that I was in complete remission – but I am quite close. The way I look at it, I and not my rheumatoid arthritis is currently in control of my body.

But with each new good day, as the distance between my and my recent pains and struggles continue to grow, I try to remind myself – without being pessimistic – that the probability of a relapse is quite high when living with an illness such as rheumatoid arthritis.

I remind myself that there cannot be remission without relapse, and that there cannot be relapse without remission. The sooner I begin to accept both sides of the equation, the better prepared I will be for the relapse that will more than likely appear sometime in my future.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

6 Comments
6 comments
  1. Lissa says:

    How true that we tend to so (relatively) quickly forget pain. And, in so many ways, how fortunate (otherwise no woman in her right mind would ever have more than one baby!).

    I do find, though, that when I am in a good place with my RA, that I tend to really minimize the bad place simply because, to a certain extent, I have forgotten just how bad that bad place can really be, and also because I don’t like the fearful, helpless feelings that even just the memories can bring back.

    Forgetting how bad the pain can be is beneficial on the one hand, because otherwise I would likely find myself living my days in constant terror of the return of the pain, to the point that it might paralyse me. On the other hand, the minimization that results from faded memories of the pain can be detrimental in a way, because without that constant reminder to treat ourselves gently and be mindful of our limitations and need for rest, we can provoke a flare that we might otherwise have been able to avoid had our memory of — and respect for! — the pain been better. So, I think your reminder, that there cannot be relapse without remission, or remission without relapse is a very important one to keep in mind. I guess it is really all about trying to keep things in perspective.

    I’m so glad to know you’re in a good place now. I hope it lasts a good long while :)

  2. Kat says:

    Very touching. My one period of remission last year was bittersweet: I took complete advantage of the lack of pain, but also realized how accustomed to pain I’ve become. As much as we need to learn to adjust to our bodies, we also have the right to hope for a cure and a pain-free existence.

    Here’s to a continued period of semi-remission!

  3. Pollyanna Penguin says:

    Oh I do hope it lasts a long, long time. I’m having a pretty good period right now too – and Lissa’s right, it’s amazing how quickly we forget … but thank goodness for that. I want to enjoy my remission, not spend it remembering how rotten I feel so much of the time! (Although having swine flu wasn’t the BEST way to enjoy it, I admit!)

    I’m obviously in silly mode tonight, becase as well as obsessing about your guy with the bird on his head, I was trying to work out what a ‘chronic dance deformity’ was and figureing I’d probably had one all my life – took me a while to realise it was just three tags in alphabetical order. DOH!

  4. laurie edwards says:

    How right you are–one cannot exist without the other, and as with any chronic disease, it’s tough to try to stay on the remission side of the line.

    I often write about “maintenance mode,” that grace period where we’re feeling well and need to adjust to the new normal while still trying to prevent a backslide. As such, this post really resonated with me.

    Just wanted to say hello, and that I really enjoy your blog!

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