A Positive Outlook on Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hollybgroovin Health Guide
  • My life with Rheumatoid Arthritis and why I can still smile

    More and more I realize that life for me is anything but normal.  I find myself watching people rush around stores doing their christmas shopping with such ease, and I can't help but to get emotional.  I forget what it is like to be healthy and carefree about daily tasks, and I get angry watching people take life for granted.

    What it's like for me
    Before I even open my eyes in the morning I know what the day is going to be like.  I feel like I have lived with this disease forever.  I am able to recognize if it is just morning stiffness or if it is going to be a day filled with pain.  If it was a good night, then I probably got at least for hours of sleep during the night before the constant throbbing started.  If it was a bad night, then I probably had little to no sleep and spent the whole night taking hot baths every hour, on the hour. 

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    Once I open my eyes I have to ask myself the daily question, "how will I get out of bed?"  You see, this is definitely not a simple task for me.  It is one that I dread, but also one that I know must be done as I have two young boys to care for.  Sometimes I have to have my eight-year-old, Gavin, hold my legs and swing them off the bed for me, and other times I just need his shoulder to hold onto.  Once I am able to get out of bed, I am one step ahead.  I take my hot bath at night and get fully dressed for the next morning.  I know it sounds crazy, but my shoulders are so damaged and in so much pain in the morning that I am unable to pull a shirt over my head, much less button anything. 

    Making it to the front door to take my boys to school is almost the worse.  I have to literally take baby steps and place my foot just perfectly so that the pain in my feet doesn't bring me to my knees.  If I have to go grocery shopping or pick up anything from the grocery store, then I have to give myself a pep talk.  I will spend the whole time on the walk from the parking lot to the store convincing myself that I can do it.  Once inside the store I observe the shoppers and how mobile they are.  I see them, able to walk around and reach for things with such ease.  I wonder, if faced with the same disease, if they would ever take their mobility for granted again. 

    The nights kill me too.  I fear making dinner, not because I don't like to cook, but because by that time my pain is increasing more and more and I sometimes feel too weak to stand at the stove.  If I sit and rest for awhile after dinner, then I am so stiff that walking to my kids rooms to tuck them in is painful. 

    I am successful in my life
    But once I finally get my bath and get settled in bed, I reflect back on the day I had.  And instead of being depressed or focusing on what I was unable to accomplish, I feel blessed.  You see,  I am not dead and my life is not over because I am sick.  I feel proud of the things I am  able to accomplish.  Each night as I lay there and reflect back on my day I feel a bit stronger.  I learn a little more each day on managing my pain and my disease.  I am happy to be alive, despite the pain and suffering I experience on a daily basis.  I have to be strong.  Besides, I will do it again tomorrow.  My motivation, you ask?  The feeling of being successful, not just as a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer and a mom, but as a fighter.  Because that is was each day for me is...a fight.  Rheumatoid Arthritis may have brought pain and suffering to my daily life, but it hasn't taken my heart and soul.  I will continue my daily life, my fight, knowing I am not alone in this world...Knowing that I can handle it, even if it does take baby steps....literally!

Published On: November 30, 2008