Spring Makeover Update: Change Is A Process

Vanessa Collins Health Guide
  • I just finished celebrating my St Patty's Day birthday. I promised myself a Spring makeover this year with my birthday set as an evaluation date. My birthday has come and gone, and I have some good things to report, but I have much more to do.

    Isn't that the way it always is? We set goals and we make some progress, but somewhere along the line we realize that change is a process requiring a lot of time and emotional investment. The key to success is to never give up, to keep moving toward our goals.

    A short time after I decided to give myself a Spring Makeover, I ran full tilt into a flare. I was tapering off prednisone at the time, and then it happened. My left wrist, which is always swollen, decided to balloon up to a new level of puffiness. It was quite impressive.

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    A day or two later my ankles and elbows decided to join the party. RA was having its way with my body, and I was hurting. What do I do when I hurt? I eat! So, I have to report that I have only lost six pounds since I started my makeover. Not much, but a start, and I am not discouraged.

    I am determined to persevere through flares, MRIs and Vasculitis. Whatever RA throws at me, I am not going to throw up my hands in defeat. I am determined to lose this weight. I have a feeling this is going to be a continual work in progress. That is okay. Change is a process.

    My last flare made it necessary for me to go back on prednisone, but I am only taking 5 mgs a day at the moment. My RD wanted me off of prednisone completely by my next appointment, but my body doesn't seem to agree with my doc. We shall see what my RD has to say next Friday.

    I don't think she will be too upset about the prednisone because she seems to “freak” when she sees my ankles looking like small melons. She may actually increase the prednisone, and then I will have to fight the munchies demons again. No worries. I will stock up on baby carrots and no-sugar-added fudge bars to help me fight the weight gain prednisone loves to give us. See, I have a plan. It may not work perfectly, but it is so comforting to have a plan. It gives me some sense of control.

    One of my Spring Makeover goals was to get out of my normal work, church, grocery store routine. As part of fulfilling that promise to myself, my husband and I are going to see “Nine to Five” tonight at the local repertory theater, after dinner out at our favorite local restaurant. I know this doesn't sound like a big deal to most people, but it is a really big deal for me. Honestly, I haven't gotten out much the last two years.

    During the last few weeks I have come to the realization that I definitely need to purchase a scooter so that I can go to the park, the mall and the zoo again. I have not been to a mall in two years because I simply cannot walk that far. I have gone back and forth on this idea for a long, long time. I have finally made my decision.

    We see shows about makeovers on TV and many people get a “makeover” once or twice a year that usually entails a new hairstyle and a new wardrobe. Those of us with RA have a few more challenges than some. Personally, I think we are always in a state of making ourselves over anew.

  • RAers have symptoms that come and go, or not. There are times when we put on weight from our medications, and times that we are more limited in our mobility than others. We are constantly in a state of flux, and we have to make the appropriate adjustments to continue living our lives the way we want to live them.

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    Change is a process, and life with RA is full of surprises that require us to change our behaviors and our perspectives. I have come to believe that the most important attribute we can have is tenacity. We cannot get discouraged. We cannot give up.

    Now, about that scooter. Who votes for candy apple red, and who votes for vibrant blue?

Published On: March 18, 2012