Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hold Up

     It's no secret why we lose to arthritis most days. It's not some mystery that we've yet to figure out. Everything is right in front of us. It screams constantly, and yet we try to push it aside.
     At the end of the day, I am an average person trying to fight an extraordinary disease. That is why I fall. I'm not anything special, and that's nothing depressing. I'm just average, as most of us are. But arthritis? Arthritis is more than average. Arthritis has figured out how to use me against myself. It devotes all of its time and resources into bringing me down. I just cannot afford to spend all of my time and resources on arthritis. I have to try to keep some of my ordinary life as well. Arthritis is the one who needs to hold up.
     That is why it is hard for me when people say that I am stronger than arthritis. Arthritis has one single goal. Arthritis was given one job. It does that job well! I have a bazillion different jobs, so even if I'm as strong as arthritis, I am having a really tough time beating it. It's just not mathematically correct. So if you wonder how my arthritis gets ahead and takes the lead when I seem to be doing so well, that is how. I'm average and arthritis is extraordinary.
     I've been trying to prioritize breathing. It sounds stupid, but I just need to breathe some days. I have lots of other goals, but my top one is breathing. Sometimes when I'm in a lot of pain and everything feels like it is sitting on my shoulders I just decide to breathe. I'm learning to take care of myself, and not push myself too far.
      That's one of the hardest things: not pushing myself too far. I look at my peers playing fun games and doing physical activities and I decide to join in. It often is not unbearable painful at first, and I put the fun above the consequences. Then I regret it when my date with Henry (my heating pad) lasts longer than I planned. I love Henry, but I don't love him as much as I love being the person I was before arthritis.
       I'm also trying to schedule more dates with Henry. I've decided that I would probably feel a lot better if I would just rest BEFORE it gets to a breaking point. Tonight is the first night that I'm going back into setting my alarm an hour early to plug Henry in and then go back to sleep. I did it on and off last year and a couple times over winter break, and my first thought every time I got up to plug Henry in was "I hate arthritis." It was pretty miserable, but if I'm going to be in a flare I'm going to be in my best flare possible, and part of that includes not waking up with stiff joints.
       Here's to dates with Henry, more sleep, less pushing it, and more feeling better.


Love,
Rachel

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Feel free to comment or shoot me an email - thekidwitharthritis@gmail.com I'll try to get back to you either way!