This Is My Life

“To become a spectator of one’s own life is to escape the suffering of life.” Oscar Wilde

this_is_mylifeA funny thing happened yesterday – Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy realized, once again, that the simplest of thoughts often lead to some of the most profound steps forward in life.

I was once again sitting in the back of a taxicab, making the almost fifteen minute journey from my house to my physical therapist.  I have made this trip so many times during the past few months (yesterday was my 41st session, actually) that I know every traffic light and stop sign along the way.

My entire body was is so much pain, that the discomfort of each individual joint sort of seemed to meld together into one big blob.  (I still remember going to see a showing of The Blob one Saturday morning when I was in elementary school…those were the days!) I knew that out of everything my ankles were hurting the most – but beyond that I couldn’t even tell if my wrists hurt more than my elbows, or if my elbows hurt more than my knees. All I knew was that everything hurt.

Normally, it would be at just around this moment when I would once again have that sensation that the world around me was falling apart (when in reality, the only thing that was really falling apart was my physical body). My eyes would tear up, feelings of losing hope would begin to start creeping into my mind, and on top of feeling physically lousy I would being to feel emotionally lousy.

But wait!!!

If you order now, we’ll throw in a free anxiety attack – complete with an increased heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and dizziness in the head.

But yesterday, none of this happened. All of a sudden, I realized that I had once again broken a mold in which I have fallen into for the past few years. And it was all the result of a few simple words.

“This is my life.”

Once again – experiencing pain that no words can accurately describe. This is my life.

Once again – sitting in the back of a taxicab, on the way to another afternoon of physical therapy. This is my life.

Once again – feeling completely winded from the most extreme of flares, which I experienced the day before. This is my life.

Once again – having a completely different combination of joints that work and don’t work to varying degrees. This is my life.

Once again – having no clue how I will feel the following day, much less the following hour. This is my life.

Once again – overcoming my internal alarms that go off every time I spend, spend, spend (just like the illness never ends, neither do the expenses) on another medical treatment or another month’s supply of medications. This is my life.

Once again – riding the emotional roller coaster that sometimes seems to compress the ups and down normally encountered in days down into a few seconds. This is my life.

With this, I completely preempted a routine that I have been through so many times before. I sat up a little more straight and looked out the window, as I continued to affirm to myself that this was indeed my life.

And just like that, my rheumatoid arthritis became a more integral part of my person. Just when I feel like I have achieved a total acceptance of my RA, I once again learn that I can get even more close to it, much more than I had ever imagined.

This has been my life for quite sometime now. I think it’s about time that I accept as much.

This is my life, and I love it!

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

4 Comments
4 comments
  1. IamRaynydaze says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I have myself thought this very thing. This is my life. Sometimes it is a positive affirmation that there is life with and beyond RA. Other times it has been a curse of self loating and fear. Today I take you and these words to work with me, today I am feeling physically able to accomplish my tasks. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold and try not to care too much, because for today,this is my life.

    So thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and I hope many others see the joy of the words.. This is MY life.

  2. ann marie says:

    i spent my first seven years with RA telling myself and everyone else that this was the best thing that ever happened to me. RA is my teacher, i would say, and i am so grateful for what i am learning. meanwhile, on a less conscious level i was fighting it with everything i had. i was in denial, to a degree.

    positive thinking is wonderful, as long as it’s not used to put a lid on a can of worms of negative feelings, as i had.

    you seem to have come so far so fast, RAGuy, in your acceptance of your situation. much respect to you for that. i know that our degree of acceptance goes up and down, and sometimes we fight it and sometimes we don’t, but after 12 years with RA i find that it’s only been in the last couple of months that i have really begun to face the reality of this illness and the very real possibility… -probability- that this is something i will be dealing with for the rest of my life.

    this is my life.

    RA is not something for which i can receive an early-release based on good behavior. tried that. it’s not a punishment for various personal failings of mine. although sometimes i still catch myself feeling that way. This disease is not an entity, a being that enjoys causing me pain, even though it can seem that way sometimes. RA is simply a fact of my life. i can accept it or suffer all kinds of unnecessary shit. this is my life.

    with this realization comes sorrow and then, eventually a sense of relief almost: ok, now i can stop fighting. i don’t have to spend my precious energy holding a perpetual stance of resistance. i don’t have to feel crushed with disappointment / anger / feeling i’ve failed every time things go on the down-swing. no. when i can remain aware, stay close to the RA, as you so wisely put it, it can’t take me by surprise so easily. I can say “oh. hello. i see you’ve come for another visit. well, come on in.” it is far less stressful and therefore more healing than to see a flare and put your dukes up: “YOU! AGAIN? LEAVE ME THE F**K ALONE! CAN YOU GIVE ME NO PEACE?” That was me, many, many, many times.

    thank you for your post. this site is a great help for those of us who are interested in keepin it real. may all of you, all of us, enjoy the good moments that come today. amen.
    (suddenly felt like i’d just given a sermon!)

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