As an athlete having RA doesn't jive so well. I have experienced pain before but it's all been self induced. I've pushed pushed myself up 14,000 foot peaks with my bike strapped on my bike, and not stopped for 24 hours; I've ridden my bike with no more than an hour of sleep per night for 5 days, I've gotten lost and bushwacked 3 hours by myself to find my way out down some steep and overgrown ravine. I can endure not only pain but uncertainty. I'm still realizing that perhaps I did not come here to "heal" my RA but to heal me.
Although it's my second official day on solid food, the realizations keep flowing. Yesterday I had steamed zuchinni and today it's steamed squash. I know, the same thing right? Well technically it's winter squash and I'm grateful for the variation. They said when I start eating again I will have some flare ups, hopefully only minor, and then as I heal my gut, they will go away.....eventually! I am healing my reaction and emotional relationship with RA. Knowing what I knew then and knowing what I know now has helped me not only understand this disease process, but not be so scared of it. Instead of reacting, crying, getting angry, becoming irritated with a stranger, or praying for it to go away forever, I am sitting or learning to sit. Again this isn't me, this RA, it's just something I have.
Back to the bike and my point of all that, besides tooting my own horn. The point is I am so happy I ran myself into the ground on my bike because who knows if I'll do it again, who knows if I want to. It seems like a had a really short go of it, luckier though than some. My friend James Lindenblatt had an even shorter go here on earth and he did a lot. I am grateful for my life here and now. I have been ashamed of having RA because I relate it to being weak. Having a "crippling" illness is not me and giving in to this is surrendering to RA and I have not wanted to do that. I am learning that by surrendering I gain power. I can have this in my life without becoming it. As soon as I attach so much emotion and reaction and let negative opinions affect me, I have not surrendered, I have drowned.
Please understand that when I say negative opinions, I mean anything that is fear based. the "well you can't do that" or "you have to take meds else your joints will be destroyed". I need to be positive, that is my medicine and please respect that. I know you mean well, but when I'm hit with these "can't" and "shouldn't" statements I have to work extra hard to not let them turn my stomach to mush and that hurts me. Please know I am a smart well read woman and I know what I'm doing and I will do the best I can.
Although I surrender I am still strong and inspired and if I can describe my journey I feel the following verse from Dylan Thomas' poem "Do not go gentle....." describes my thoughts the best:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
I am not losing I am just following a path I had NO idea existed for me.