On this day before World Arthritis Day 2011, I would first of all like to thank everyone who has helped raise awareness of Rheumatoid Arthritis during these past few days; the number of people who continue to share and read RA Guy’s 60-Second Guide to RA has been greater than I could have ever imagined. To me, this shows that together we all have the power to raise awareness of this disease with which we live!
Living with rheumatoid arthritis, or any other autoimmune disease, brings many challenges into a person’s life. Raising awareness, and educating others about the particulars of our chronic illness, goes a long way in making things just a tad bit easier. Beyond this, however, are all of the personal challenges that result from the chronic pain, debilitating inflammation, and disability.
All too often, rheumatoid arthritis seems to take away so much from our lives. It could be that performing our favorite physical exercise or sport just becomes too much to do, or a loss of dexterity in our hands causes us to stop enjoying some of our favorite hobbies. Other times, what illness takes away can be much more comprehensive; we start losing our ability to enjoy life, and find it much more difficult–in general–to experience happiness.
While at times it may seem that changing this flow of events is just too daunting, I–for one–believe that doing so is possible. So, starting tomorrow, I’m going to present myself a new challenge…and I’d like to invite my readers to participate as well. Yes, rheumatoid arthritis has taken away a lot from our lives…but I think it’s about time that we start taking back what’s ours…one thing at a time!
Here’s how it works:
1. Reclaim one thing, big or small. It could be that favorite sport or pastime that seems to have slowly faded away during the past few months or years, or it could be that dream that you’ve always had…even before rheumatoid arthritis entered your life. ‘Reclaiming’ can mean many things; it could mean doing something just as you’ve done in the past, or (and for me this is even more interesting) figuring out how to adapt or modify a certain activity to fit your current life. Even more, it could mean replacing something that has been taken away with something else that is completely new!
2. However long it might take you to do so, enjoy your ability to reclaim one thing! Keep it private, and use it as a daily reminder to let yourself know that you–and not your illness–is in charge of your life. Or, share it with the rest of us, and let others be encouraged by your success. I will post here on my blog (either with your name or anonymously, it’s your choice) any messages I receive from individuals describing how they have indeed been able to RECLAIM | One Thing.
Happy World Arthritis Day 2011!
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!