What If It Gets Any Worse?

I had another major flare this morning. The story is much the same…I was sitting in the back of a taxi cab, on my way towards my morning physical therapy session. (Having a few sessions permanently scheduled throughout the week is working out even better than I could have ever anticipated!) I was listening to music on my iPod as I looked out the window, which means that I had plenty of time to think about everything that was going on at the moment. I could think about the pain (how could I not?) I could think of how seemingly unfazed I was with this start to my day. It used to be that when flares like this happened, invisible alarms would sound and I would declare myself to be in ‘crisis’ mode.

Now, however, all of this just seems so normal.

And right in the middle of this self-congratulatory thinking session, as I reminded myself that I could in fact once again get through this flare, that I could deal with what was going on at the moment, a thought entered my mind: “What if it gets any worse?”

Cue the fear and anxiety, the increased heartbeat as I start trying to imagine what it would be like to actually be in more pain. Cue the time travel; it could be an hour, week, month, year, or decade into the future. (For some strange reason, the last item on this list seems to be the most popular.) But even though I gave the prompts (as I’ve do so many times before, but am only just now recognizing), this unwelcome actor never appeared on stage. And suddenly is seemed so obvious, so simple. Why did I ever invite these fearful thoughts in the past. Why did I play this game? Yes, I know, while in the midst of extreme pain it can be quite difficult to not start trying to imagine how things can get even worse.

But today, I decided to make a change. From now on, I’m only going to think about the best-case scenario…and whatever ends up coming my way–good or bad–I know that at that moment when the unknown future arrives, I will have the strength to get through it.

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

8 Comments
8 comments
  1. Cammie says:

    You are one of my most favorite super heroes!!! You always have a great outlook and your positive vibe reaches out to many of us in the #Rheum community through your blog. Today I am thinking positive, flare get the heck out of Dodge and leave that RA Super Hero alone thoughts for you. Have blessed day.

  2. Frank says:

    RA guy,
    That’s a good attitude to have . I am in an enjoyable period where my meds are working well, no major flares for nearly 16 months, but in the back of my mind resides my doubt and fears that my pain will be back and maybe it’ll be worse. It can be a two edged sword, one side thinks I better take advantage of the lull and do all that I want while I can, the other side says better not start cause the pain and immobility will make its way back. I’ve decided to do all I can till I can’t. Peace and happiness

  3. Wren says:

    “Why did I ever invite these fearful thoughts in the past. Why did I play this game?”

    I think it’s perfectly natural for us to wonder about how we’ll cope if our RA pain and disability continues long into the future, Guy. While it’s not good to overblow it–turn that natural apprehension into disabling terror–I do think we NEED to think about the future as it might be regarding our RA. By doing this, we can perhaps think out the worst-case scenario, preparing and even mentally bracing for what might come. A little healthy fear never hurt anyone. It’s the all-consuming, overwhelming and awful anxiety-inducing fear we need to be wary of.

    I think it’s incredibly good that you can be thoughtful about the future without allowing that terror a foot in the door. It absolutely does take practice to face the long-term facts of this disease with optimism and courage. Thank you for this thought-provoking post.

  4. Jan says:

    Super-hero that you are–thanks! With my lesson through my failed second Humira shot, I am trying to remember “All will be well.” For you, too.

  5. fridawrites says:

    I do the “what if” game regularly myself–it’s probably a natural part of coming to terms with all the changes. There are positive answers to the “what ifs”–more resources, changes in meds, information from others who have been there. I have yet to find myself in a place where an internet friend hasn’t been through the same.

    And the important counter-question is “what if things get better?” Remissions can and do occur spontaneously. I’ve had them and can even now sometimes be on my feet or upstairs for hours at a time. Autoimmune conditions can improve too, and a big blessing to me is that I generally no longer have the fevers and downright illness from arthritis. I still have pain, but that’s controlled much better now, and again, I get some remissions from that too. I hope everything remits for you.

  6. Carla says:

    I’m sorry you’re having all these flares. I really admire the way you’ve been able to encapsulate your fears and move forward. Be strong, stay well.

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