(How I) Keep On Moving

Sometimes, I don’t exactly know how I keep on moving…but I do. Maybe it’s because I know (from experience) that quite often, laying in bed and getting depressed about the pain is an even worse alternative. (Beyond those instances when bed rest is both necessary and helpful, of course.) What I’m talking about are those days–”average” days in fact, for many of us who live with autoimmune disorders–when the only way to cope is to keep on moving…but when every single movement is the most painful thing ever.

I’m once again in a period where the feelings (physical and emotional) mentioned above are becoming more frequent. I take comfort in many things, such of the outpouring of support that I receive on Facebook and Twitter whenever I post a quick update about how I’m feeling.

Earlier today, I had a major flare that started just a few minutes before a student was to arrive for an afternoon tutoring class. Even though looking back I now know that there were many more options available, at the time I felt like I only had a couple of choices. I could crawl into bed and cancel my class. Or, I continue doing what I could.

I chose the latter, for three main reasons.

1. When I start working with new students, I always briefly describe the condition with which I live, and the challenges that it can present at times. I tell them that sometimes they might see me struggling a little more than usual to move around…or that it could be the case that they never notice anything at all. Communicating ahead of time makes it a little bit easier on days like today, when my pain and symptoms are quite noticeable. Upon their arrival, I tell them that I’ve having one of those episodes. Without further explanation, they understand what’s going on. We then start, and continue with our lesson.

2. On the positive side, even though these flares are becoming more frequent, I’m still only experiencing them about every other day…and the absolute “worst” part lasts only about an hour. (Oh, but what an hour that is!) I figure that if I can distract myself as much as possible during the first half-hour, then I can actually cruise (in the metaphorical sense of course, because there’s absolutely nothing “smooth” about my joints during this time) through the remaining half-hour. This is a theory that I once again validated earlier today.

3. Last but not least, if I’m going to be in pain, I might as well be doing something that I enjoy.

And this, I guess (answering my question at the start of the post) is why I keep on moving, especially (and most importantly) during those moments when movement seems to be fading into the realm of the impossible.

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

11 Comments
11 comments
  1. Deb aka murphthesurf says:

    I wish more then anything that you could get a really long, good stretch of pain free days. It breaks my heart when I read about you having a bad flare. All I can hope is that this too will pass. Your coping skills are so well tuned that all I can suggest is perhaps one big huge piece of chocolate to add to your management skills of ra. Feel better!

  2. michelle says:

    Awesome. Thank you. =) It is hard for me to choose to be positive, although I know in my heart that if i do, i will ‘feel’ better. I’ll be sharing this xoxo

  3. Annamarie says:

    Ra Guy, you really are an inspiration to me! I have been sick for the last year, but only on medication since June..I have a lot of muscle weakness in my legs and right arm, which is more bothersome then even the pain..I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but want to cry like a little girl when I feel weak and fatigued..It’s at these times that I feel helpless/hopeless..I will just keep trying to push on through..today finds me feeling a tad better, except my eye is flared up now too with Episcleritis =/..Again, I thank you for your encouragement and your positive attitude..Your friend, Ann :)

  4. Jules says:

    Very recently I gave in and let the pain and exhaustion be too much for me. I have been experiencing something similar to what you describe- mid day very painful mini-flares that only last a few hours. In my case whether I work through it or not,it is exhausting. I can handle pain all day- the exhaustion just gets to me. I snapped at my other half; and then I cried. I try to stay positive all of the time and finally- it failed. The reason I am telling you all of this is simple- you give me hope. Thank you for sharing how you handle this. It gives me hope to know that it CAN be worked through. I hope this levels out for you soon.

  5. Brandy says:

    Agreed. When I was paralysed in bed last week all I could think about was getting up and moving around. I knew if I stayed in bed I was doomed. Plus, when you’re trying to hold a job down you don’t have any choice really. The world doesn’t stop when we get sick – the mortgage, debts, bills etc still have to be paid. I can’t afford not to work so I knew getting out of bed and enduring the agony that went with it was a no brainer.

  6. Violet says:

    i feel exactly the same way… i love reading things that u have written, it inspires me to keep going, and i look forward to it each day

  7. Cathy says:

    I have always found the same to be true. Continuing on seems easier than not. Plus, many times when I get involved with what I am doing, my mind is able to escape the pain and go to a happier place for a while. Today I am hoping that your minds spends lots of time in happier places.

  8. SKRDad says:

    I am with you. When I feel at my worst, I feel compelled to keep moving. One foot in front of the other. Keep moving… It’s almost like I fear that if I stop my momentum, then overcoming inertia to try to get going again will be too much… So I keep moving. Interestingly enough, I usually do housework. Lots of laundry gets done when I am hurting. Heh… I would gladly keep the pain if I could just get rid of the brain fog. That’s what gets to me and gets me depressed. My intellect and personality are who I am. I refuse to let the monster have that…
    Be well, my friend. Keep the Adventures coming…

  9. Thrive with RA™ says:

    Hi RA Guy,

    I’d like to think I could be unflappable — that RA could not get me down, but sometimes it is an admirable opponent. I’m still relatively new to the “RA Game,” but I’m expediting my strategies. I’m donning my “protective gear” to play the best Homecoming game this season — and every season — that I know how. Practice makes perfect! :)

    Wow! Lots of sports metaphors!

    I mentioned briefly on Twitter to you yesterday, but let me expand a bit here: I find that intensely focusing on something helps take my mind off the RA, especially when it’s diverting AND fun, like CREATIVITY or SERVICE. Doing creative things has been my lifeline my entire life — even long before RA. Creativity gives me hope; it brings me joy; it makes life a bountiful and beautiful harvest every day — truly and sincerely. Service — volunteerism, or doing a kindness for someone else without compensation — takes my mind off my own issues. Serving others creatively is idyllic. It is the most rewarding kind of engagement. It sounds like teaching and engaging with your students is a wonderful diversion for you, and a great service to your students.

    Oh, and one last sports metaphor: Go Team! I think we can all agree that being a cohesive unit in this life experience we are all participating in, adds strength to our coping skills. Inspiring others through words and sharing details of our daily lives is empowering for us all!

  10. Cooking with Arthur says:

    My mum has the perfect saying for this ‘Keep on keeping on’ – whenever I think a flare is going to floor me I mutter this under my breath and it keeps me going.

    Of course, the other great British classic from WW2 that everyone now has on their office cubicle, mug and tea towels is ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ – kinda fitting too!

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