Rheumatoid Arthritis is part of my life. It is why I am who I am. It is why I live how I live. It is the reason for my strength as well as the reason for my struggle. I used to think that you got to pick what you wanted in life. I now know that sometimes life picks what it wants for you.
What do I want out of life?
If you would have asked me six years ago what I wanted out of life, I would have told you that I wanted a successful career and a happy family and marriage.
If you would have asked me five years ago I would have said that I wanted an answer to my insanity and pain-- a diagnosis.
If you would have asked me three years ago what I wanted I would have told you that I wanted just a day without pain. I would have told you that I wanted a life without rheumatoid arthritis.
And now, you ask? I want to live well with RA!
The fact is no one ever wakes up and decides that what they want out of life is rheumatoid arthritis. We did not pick this life for ourselves. And I don’t think that there is one of us who would wish this disease on our worst enemy. So what do you do when the life you wanted is no longer a reality? What do you do when life decides that you are to be the one to carry the burden of rheumatoid arthritis? What do you do when you feel you have lost all control of your life? Here’s what you do…YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK!
Taking my life back
My journey with rheumatoid arthritis will continue for the rest of my life. But I have found that in the midst of the intolerable pain, depression, despair, and true insanity there is still a life for me to live. The way I see it is, even though you may feel helpless against the power RA has over your life, you have two choices. You can sit back and let RA control every aspect of your life (and it will if you let it) or you can take your life back. I have chosen to take my life back. It’s not easy though. Sometimes I think about how much easier it would be to just lie in bed and let RA take control. But I have chosen to have control over my RA. Now let me explain. I do not have my RA under control. I have control over my RA.
You might be wondering how it is possible to have control over RA. Two years ago I would have told you that was impossible. There are many ways to have control over RA, and each of our ways may be different.
How do I have control over my RA, you ask? I take my medications everyday. I get up and get moving even if that means that I have to take my walker out in public for a stroll. I have control over RA because I have chosen to live. I love deeply. I laugh out loud often, and I mean loud! I take life at a slower pace when I need to. I have a plan for my RA flares. I keep dates with my friends. I return phone calls to my family. I live my life. How can RA control me when I make my own decisions?
On some days I cry when I feel defeated. I am not talking about the silent cry; I am talking about lock yourself in the bathroom, turn the shower on high, and cry. That doesn’t mean RA has control over me. It means I have a release. When I cry all the power that RA has on my life leaves my body with the tears and I am strong again. No, this is not the life I would have ever chose for myself, but it is the life I have been given. I don’t know about you, but I like having the control. RA cannot have control over your life if you don’t let it. So go ahead, you owe it to yourself to take control! Go on and live your life! Yes it is so hard, but it is worth it! Take back control of your life and see that you can live well with RA!
Published On: May 26, 2008