Three Weeks, Three Years

Today marks three weeks since my last major flare. There were a couple of times during this past week when I thought that this streak was going to come to an end, but it hasn’t. On both occasions, as soon as I accepted the pain that I was experiencing (it’s starting to grab onto my right arm) and told myself that I would be okay if my consecutive series of flare-free days came to an end, my pain ‘vanished’ almost as quickly as it appeared.

This is an interesting lesson that I continue to learn: the more that I turn towards to and embrace my pain, the more of a non-entity is continues to become. Sure, it is always present (I’ve been flare-free, not pain-free, after all) and my pain should be neither ignored nor denied…but I have learned that it is possible to give it too much attention. Like with a spoiled child, the more attention it gets, the more attention it wants. I’ve broken this cycle, and now try to give my pain only the attention that it really needs. Nothing more.

And as I celebrate going three weeks without a flare, I also have some other reasons to celebrate. Not only is today my mother-in-law’s birthday, but it’s also the third anniversary of the day when my partner and I exchanged wedding vows in San Francisco, California! (This was back during the brief period when same-sex marriage was legal in this state, before the passage of Proposition 8.) We were a couple for eight years before be got legally married, which brings the grand total to eleven years together!

So here’s hoping that everyone’s weeks are off to as great a start as mine is. What makes it even sweeter, down here in the southern hemisphere, is that is seems like winter has finally passed, and spring is here! Yet one more reason to celebrate. (And if you’re interested, here are some photos from a day trip that I took two years ago, today.)

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

9 Comments
9 comments
  1. Thrive with RA™ says:

    Hi RA Guy,

    You have a lot to celebrate, to confine it to just one day! I’d keep extending the celebration a week, then a week longer, and so on, so that the non-entity-ness of your non-existent flares will remain that way! :)

  2. Wren says:

    I’m glad that you’ve gone such a significant time now without a flare, RA Guy. I certainly understand why you’re so pleased, and your observations about the attention you give/don’t give to flares are wise. I wonder, though: For you, what defines “pain” as opposed to “flare?” I ask because for me, RA related pain and flares were one and the same for many years, though it’s possible I need to alter my personal definition.

    Please accept a hearty and warm Happy Anniversary to you and your beloved, too. I well remember that short window of happiness that opened in San Francisco–and I’m hoping that one day in the not-to-distant future it will be opened again–and forever.

  3. Cathy says:

    RA Guy, I feel like you took the words out of my mouth for how I have been dealing with RA the last year: “There were a couple of times during this past week when I thought that this streak was going to come to an end, but it hasn’t. On both occasions, as soon as I accepted the pain that I was experiencing (it’s starting to grab onto my right arm) and told myself that I would be okay if my consecutive series of flare-free days came to an end, my pain ‘vanished’ almost as quickly as it appeared.” I can’t tell you how many times I thought my streak was breaking and there have been a few flares here and there, but accepting the pain has made a huge difference. I know now that even though I will feel some disappointment if this streaks ends, I can handle it.

    Three years of marriage!!!! Awesome! At 43 years old I am finding more and more of my friends no longer even like being around their spouse any longer. This breaks my heart as I still feel giddy when my husband of 23 years walks through the door at the end of the day or I hear the sound of a new instant message from him during the day! It makes me happy to hear others still excited about their marriage and celebrating their time together. I am so happy for both of you.

    Happy birthday to your mother-in-law!

    I feel like this comment is full of exclamation points!!!! Yay for good news!!! Also, thanks for sharing the good news. I know when I was first diagnosed and even on my roughest days I needed to hear that things would get better and I would feel some relief. IMO sharing the good days is just as important as sharing the bad. Thanks for being you RA Guy!

  4. Deb aka murphthesurf says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! My lucky number too :-) I think you are on to something here with your new pain management technique. Hope it continues to work for you and that you have at least 1111 pain free days.

  5. John says:

    Hey RA Guy,

    So happy to hear about your milestone. And I’m also thrilled that the power of positive thinking is working for you. The mind truly is such an amazing and powerful tool for our bodies.

    John

  6. Lene says:

    A belated very happy anniversary! And a happy Once-A-Year Day to your MIL, as well!

    Checked out the photos. You live in a breathtakingly beautiful place.

  7. RA Guy says:

    Thanks for all of the well-wished everyone, I really appreciate them!

    A few people, including Wren above, have asked me how I differentiate between a “flare” and “pain”. That’s a good question. I think, for me at least, it’s a matter of severity/duration. Usually, if I can move around and do all of my activities without any problems — even if these is low to mild pain — I don’t consider myself to be in a flare. But if the pain is high, and I start to lose the use of certain limbs and have difficulty performing my daily activities, then I consider myself to be in a flare.

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