Spring & RA: Celebrating The Abundance Of Life

Vanessa Collins Health Guide
  • I am sitting in my living room looking out on the lawn at the life that is thriving just beyond my front door. The birds are in flight, filling the air with such beautiful song. They are looking for bits of straw and grass to build their nests. The branches of the maple trees are heavy with “helicopter” seeds. Inside my home, the cats are shedding, a sure harbinger of warmer weather and abundant sunshine. I am a happy person in the mood to celebrate life.


    It was only two years ago, in May, that RA knocked me down. I remember with great clarity how I felt the day I was diagnosed with Sero-negative RA. I was relieved, resigned, and ready for someone who help me.

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    So much has happened since the day of my diagnosis. Some good, some bad, some just ordinary chronic illness “stuff”. I am finally on a med combo that is allowing me to work full time, enjoy church activities, go to the grocery store, and adventure out into the world for “fun stuff” on occasion.


    As most of you know, I ordered a scooter so that I can get out more and enjoy the things I enjoyed before RA took away most of my mobility. I can still drive to work, and walk around the office during the work day, but I cannot walk very far. This is precisely why I ordered my “Travel Scooter”.


    I asked my rheumatologist if I was being a “wuss” by ordering the scooter. She said that I was not, and added in her oh-so-direct way, “Your medical condition is your medical condition. You still have to live your life.” I love my rheumy! No mincing words, and that is the way I like it.


    All of us have “losses” in our lives. We have regrets about decisions we have made and the direction our lives have taken. Then, on top of all that, we are diagnosed with a chronic, painful, incurable disease. It takes a while to come to terms with all of these changes and challenges to both our physical and mental health.


    At the end of the day, we need to realize that this is our life. This is not a “practice run”. When this realization came to me, I totally changed my attitude. I no longer waste time thinking about the choices I have made in my life. I don't spend time thinking about what my life would be like if I didn't have RA.


    This is is. This is our reality, and we need to let us much happiness into our lives as possible.


    I had a major flare this week, after I had already started this SharePost. The RA Troll attacked my ankles, feet and knees. I could barely walk, so I cooked dinner sitting on a stool in front of the stove. A burst of prednisone finally eased the pain. During this time I realized just how far I have come on my journey with this disease. I didn't “freak out” about what was going on. I've been through it enough now, that I know what to do, and I know that it will get better. That is the most scary part in the beginning. Not knowing if it will get better.


    None of us, RA ers or not, know what our lives will be like next year, next month, next week. I have chosen to live each day as it comes. I want to take as much joy as I can from each day and pass it on to others.


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    Some days are still full of pain, and on those days, I hunker down and do what I need to do to get my life back. When the darkness passes, and the sun comes out again, I jump on that new, red scooter of mine, and start exploring the new day. On those good, sunny, days, I realize just how good life is, and I grab it with arms open wide and hug it to my breast. Life is good.

Published On: April 16, 2012