One year and one month ago, my life changed dramatically. I began giving myself Enbrel shots and tweaked my diet once again. The combination brought very good results for me. All the sudden I could see tiny little changes happening in my body. I was reaching up and putting dishes away without having to consider the pain that would come with this chore. I was hugging my family without wincing in pain. Soon I was walking up the stairs without any problem. Then I was riding my bike again and before I knew it, life as I had known it before rheumatoid arthritis was a part of me again.
There has not been a day in this last year and one month that I haven't rejoiced in the change of direction of my body has taken me. To feel physically well again also means that I feel mentally well again. Projects and responsibilities that I put off for several years because they took so much of my energy now seem to be a breeze to complete.
Over the last year and one month I have shared on my personal blog the positive switch my body has taken. I have shared riding my bike again, having my husband ask me to slow down on walks, walking in the rain without my feet being to chilled in pain, hiking with my kids and dog, experimenting with barefoot/minimalist footwear, and other amazing experiences. I feel like I have been transformed from an elderly woman to a vibrant young woman again.
When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2004, I did not see ANY signs that remission was possible when I searched the internet or checked out rheumatoid arthritis books from the library. It appeared from all that I was reading that my life was doomed. I chose to stop reading anything else on rheumatoid arthritis until the time I started my own blog in 2008 because I was determined I was going to be well again and reading horror stories only took me off task of getting well. I was determined that when and if the time came that my inflammation was reduced and life became easier again, I would share it so that other people knew that life with rheumatoid arthritis can be good.
What I have discovered over time is that people can and do find ways to relieve their symptoms and move on with life. However, once they feel good again, the need to share isn't as strong because they are once again out living life. For me, I still feel the need to share. Maybe it is a way for me to work out all that has happened to me in the last seven and a half years, but whatever the reason, I know I have to share my good days as well as my bad.
There is a little problem though. When I share my good days with fellow rheumatoid arthritis friends, I feel like I am bragging. I know my fellow blogger friends are often still experiencing rough days and I don't know if they want to hear my good news or not. I remember once reading a fellow bloggers post about the improvements she was experiencing. I was feeling a lot of pain that day. I felt very jealous and angry as I read the post. This person was following a very similar path as my own and was experiencing good results while I was not. I took a break from reading her blog and dealt with my own feelings. I knew I was not angry with this blogger, but with my own situation. I knew that what works for one person does necessarily work for another, yet I really wanted it too.
Eventually I returned to this blog for inspiration and still do. I am glad that she is not only feeling better but that she shared her success story because once I got over my jealousy, I once again felt motivated by her posts to keep going.
I hope that by sharing the good days I am experiencing right now that I can be a source of hope for people who are experiencing rough days rather than appear to be bragging that I am well right now and you aren't. However, the dilemma in my mind always goes on - should only the bad days be shared? Does sharing the bad days connect us more than sharing the good days? I do feel the connection is stronger when people are struggling rather than in two different worlds - yet, I still feel I have to share. I have to put out into the universe what I so dearly needed to hear when I was first diagnosed. I needed to know that it was possible to feel good again in a very desperate way. So please, as I share, please know that my heart feels for each person I know with rheumatoid arthritis and any other chronic disease. I know where you have been and I deeply hope that one day soon you too will be sharing your good days with me.
Cathy can also be found writing at her personal blog The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo.