Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy has been asked more than once, “What can be done to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis?” I think that all of us have the ability to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis, whether we live with this disease or not. In my opinion, real awareness comes from real people!
So today I would like to launch Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy’s first awareness movement: The Power of Ten. It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s something that each one of us can easily do.
The Power of Ten
Take ten minutes over the next ten days and talk to at least ten people about rheumatoid arthritis. Real awareness comes from real people!
I know- that sounds crazy doesn’t it? This morning I woke up and the muscles from the elbow to the wrist on both of my arms are just aching. Both pinkies and shoulders are “talking to me” as well. It made it particularly difficult to do anything with my hair and to stir, stir, stir my steel cut oats for breakfast. After several weeks of feeling wonderful- how can I be grateful for the pain I am experiencing this morning?
Sometimes it feels as if flares are the most difficult tests of all. While I often go into a flare thinking that I know all of the answers, sometimes this just doesn’t seem to matter. In those moments when the pain is at its worst and when I am feeling completely overwhelmed, I sometimes draw a mental blank – and have next to no idea what I need to do in order to keep moving forward.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy found himself in the above situation just a few weeks ago. This time around my experience was very different than previous ones, though.
Just when I was reaching my lowest point, when I was grasping for something – anything – that I could grab onto in order to orient myself and when my anxiety felt like the weight of the world bearing down on me, I sat down and started writing.
I wasn’t writing in any coherent manner. I was not writing a journal entry, or a blog post that I could publish the following day. Instead, I told myself that I needed to sit down a create a cheat sheet that would get me through the rest of the day (and hopefully, through the rest of the flare).
I ended up referring back to my cheat sheet quite often during the week following my low point. It did indeed help me to focus, and it helped me to maintain my determination to get through my flare. My cheat sheet helped me pass this test with flying colors.
The following are just some of the notes that I jotted down onto my cheat sheet that day:
I am being proactive. I am not letting this get the best of me, even though it is trying to.
I have a strong support group around me. I am reaching out to that support group.
Even though my anxiety is rising, I am reacting sooner and preventing a full-blown anxiety attack. Focusing on my breathing helps.
I am much more than just my pain.
I have gotten through similar episodes in the past. I will get though this episode. I will get through similar episodes in the future.
Everything is going to be okay.
I just had lunch. I sat at the dining table. I used my special fork and knife. It is okay to use both of my hands to pick up my glass of water.
Even though I have been going through a good stretch during the past two weeks, I am already preparing myself for the next flare. My aim, as always, is not to be pessimistic. Instead my goal is to be realistic…and ideally, be just a little more prepared my next flare.
I revisited my cheat sheet yesterday, and thought that I should turn it into something nicer – something that I could print out and place in a convenient location, so that I could easily pull it out and refer to it, next time I need to.
Then, I thought, it would be nice if I published this cheat sheet here on my blog, so that others too could use it during their flares.
I will soon start updating my cheat sheet..but before I do so, I want to ask you, my readers, to please submit (via blog comment or email) any suggestions that you might have – statements, actions, prayers, or affirmations that work particularly well during your worst RA moments. They need not be just from the individual who are directly living with RA and similar autoimmune diseases. Family members, friends, and caregivers are right by our side as we cope with the ups and downs, and they too struggle with our flares. It would be great to include some suggestions from them as well.
This way, we can end up a cheat sheet that works for all of us – and through the process, maybe each one of us can discover some new secrets for coping with a flare.
I look forward to publishing this cheat sheet soon!
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!
Because there is no such thing as taking too many breaks!
Last Sunday (November 1st) was the Day of the Dead. Every year we celebrate, and this year was no different. Here is a photo of the table that we set up, in order to welcome and honor family, friends, and pets who have died.
“The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration occurs on November 1st, and 2nd in connection with the Catholic holiday of All Saints’ Day which occurs on November 1st and All Souls’ Day which occurs on November 2nd. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.”
I was up most of the night with a really upset stomach (hence, the really late post this morning). Fifteen minutes after I took my medicines before going to sleep, it felt like a match has been lit in my stomach. It’s has still not settled down completely. I have to work better at protecting my stomach from these strong medications that I am currently taking.
Spent the day yesterday watching college football. With the beauty of Slingbox, I can stream my parent’s DirecTV over the internet into my house here. If I connect my laptop to my television, it’s just like being in the U.S. I’m all for protecting players and preventing unnecessary roughness, but it does seem like the referees are being a little too cautious – did anyone else see the bad “high hit” call in the Iowa-Northwestern game yesterday?
I’m having my own version of Christmas Creep this year, and it has nothing to do with stores or shopping. This past week, I’ve started synching my holiday music to my iPod, and have been listening to it on a regular basis. I’m really looking to Christmas this year – my parents, my sister and my brother-in-law will all be joining us!
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!
The Beauty Of Imperfection
RA Guy on May 7th, 2009
Wabi-sabi is the term for a Japanese world-view which is centered on the acceptance of transience and based on a beauty described as imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. The aesthetic principles of wabi-sabi include asymmetry, a roughness and unevenness of surface, simplicity, modesty, and the suggestion of a natural process.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is always interested in exploring the world of design, and was more than happy to recently stumble upon this concept of the beauty of imperfection. He also finds it interesting, the ease with which one can get caught up in the pursuit of perfection – when in reality there is no such thing as perfection.
Is it not better to achieve the possible instead of continually trying to attain what is impossible?