rewriteAll day long, my mind remained calm while my body felt like it was on fire. It’s definitely being tested, though. Just when I felt like I had finally shed some of the unhelpful thoughts that I carried around for so many years, I find that they are once again beginning to reappear.

“This is going to last a lifetime?”

This thought is always good for a few seconds (or minutes) of intense anxiety. When I frame my situation in these terms, it seems so impossible to deal with. So today, I decided to rewrite this thought. I turned it into “Sure, this will last a lifetime – but I only need to get through this moment. I have done so before, and I will continue to do so.”

As I continued to walk, I noticed that I was on the flat surface of the street and not on the neighboring concrete sidewalk. The small steps on each driveway curb were just too much for my ankles and knees to handle. Chances are, my crutches are going to come back out from the corner of the entryway to my house. (In the past I used to put them in a closet when they were not in use, but bringing them back out was that much more difficult.

“I feel like a failure.”

Okay, first of all, let me say that that I know that I am not a failure. But somehow, every time my crutches come back out of the closet/corner, I feel like I have failed. The fact that sometimes I cannot carry my own weight on my feet and legs – even though I completely understand the reason why – still feels like a shortcoming on my part.

I guess I’ll strike out that previous thought and replace it with “I will do what I need to do in order to take care of myself.” I’m still not completely convinced, though. Darn. I thought that I had finally worked through these feelings of failure.

Looking back at this moment of the day when all the above thoughts (and others) crossed my mind, I do recognize that I was able to remain calm. I experienced absolutely no feelings of anxiety or shortness of breath.

So instead of feeling bad about the reappearance of these thoughts, I think I’ll celebrate the fact that I was able to work through them the best I could.

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

More RA Blogs

Learning To Live

Weak. Stiff. Hot. Pain. These are some of the words I’d use to describe my arthritis. If you had told me seven years ago that I would be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis within a year, I think I would have looked at you like you were off your rocker. I was a child in my last year of Junior High when I was diagnosed. I knew my hands hurt, but it certainly wasn’t something I was too worried about. I was more concerned about the way my index finger looked. The middle joint almost looked like it has been reversed, so it was sunken down into my skin. My finger clicked when I bent it. My friends thought it was “kinda gross.”

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Letters From The Breach

I’d expected a solid I-don’t-know because the only thing certain about my experience of autoimmune arthritis has been its uncertainty. We might be able to get you a remission. This drug is promising. We expect to slow your joint damage. We’re unsure exactly what kind of arthritis you have, we just know it’s autoimmune. If this doesn’t work, we’ll try something else. Might-promising-expect-unsure-if. A bouquet of guesses ribboned with equivocation. My daily experience of this disease has been just as muddling. Day to day, the symptoms vary. I can’t tell you on a Monday if I’ll be up for a Wednesday night outing.

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6:00 PM

6 oclockSix o’clock in the evening: the sun sets, and the temperature plunges. I am once again reminded that I am living high in the Andes Mountains. It’s only the beginning of May. Technically, we’re not even officially into winter – but it sure feels like it! I mentally start my countdown…only twelve more hours until the sun comes out again.

My wrists feel like they’ve been crushed under a huge boulder. The searing sensation in my ankles continues to grow. My left knee is pulsating in pain…five seconds on, five seconds off.

Only as recently as last week did I finally realize how much I really dreaded this time of day. As I look back on last winter, I now understand how much my pain – both emotional and physical – often spiked during this time of the day. When I signed up for an evening language course at a local university a few months ago, some of my worst moments often coincided with the beginning of class, which started at 6:15 pm.

So I’ve decided to make this time of day something to look forward to. Within the past few days, I have gone to a coffee shop, gone to happy hour, or specified an activity to start precisely at this time. The pain is still there, sure, but life goes on.

For all too long, 6:00 pm has been a bad hour for me. I’m convinced, however, that I can make it into a good hour for me.

So far, I’m having good results.

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

New Blog

Rheum For God

I ended up in a rheumatologist’s office in 2009.  He told me I had rheumatoid arthritis at my first visit.  To this day, my blood work is fabulous.  But I don’t need blood work and x-rays and MRIs to tell me I have something attacking my body with the vengeance of a fire.  I am here because I have always loved to write and God has my attention with this disease.  He has put it on my heart to put down in writing what He is doing in my life.  I have been so touched by what other bloggers have shared.  Thank you for putting words to so many emotions and hidden thoughts.  Talk about therapy.  At this point in my life, I feel as if my life has changed from that of a physical battle to a spiritual walk.  And I am a better person for it. I’m trusting Him one day at a time until He returns.

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