I often am reminded that I should work within my physical limits and quite often, I don’t heed that advice. I go above and beyond on my good days and I pay for them later, and for me, that isn’t even the hard part – the anxiety and the fear of the unpredictability is.
I am always wondering when my RA will flare up and knowing that I may be fine today, I don’t know what havoc RA will bring tomorrow. I try not to think about it because the panic is more than I can handle. Quite often, that panic makes me cry or have a pity party and try as I may, I don’t always have control of the worrying about how this disease drags me down.
RA has taught me many things and even though, I have accepted RA as a part of my life, it does not mean that I do not feel like I am caught in a spider’s web. I have learned caution and I have learned fear. I fear making commitments or plans because RA might not allow me to follow through.
Then there are the good days where I think that my life is returning to some kind of normalcy, but I panic at every twinge or ache. Those are the things that paralyze you with RA and not the condition itself. Sometimes, I wonder whether my medications are working or whether rheumatologist understands me and my unique condition.
Yes, I live in fear because I never know what this disease will do next. Like today, I awoke barely about to move my left leg, pain starting from my back and driving into my foot. My foot is swelled and hurts just to be touched.
I want to live in a way that RA doesn’t control my fears but I know that it does. I focus on not letting RA win. It already has control of my body and I need to focus on not letting it control my mind. I work hard to be a person who does NOT live in fear and who doesn’t let RA or anything control me. It is not easy, but I do it. I have to accept and accommodate RA in my life whether I like it or not.
Living with this disease allows you a sense of blindness and with that the only thing that is predicable is the unpredictable nature of RA. It forces you to stop doing what you are doing at the most inconvenient of times and closing your eyes to ignore it and to pretend the pain is not there can be a small victory that you fight more often than you would like to.
For me, trying to come to grips with the reality of RA involves an urge to control the things that I can control. I am sure that I am not the only RA’er who has been called a control freak. I am constantly planning and organizing every aspect of my life and when I have bad days, I try to control other people’s lives. RA doesn’t allow me any control so I find control where I can. I am lucky that those I love understand the complexities of an unpredictable disease.
I have told myself that I do not suffer from RA; I live with it. If I am a sufferer, the disease wins and I know that I am better than that. Yes, sometimes I need solace and comfort but I don’t need pity and I know that I am stronger and better than that.
See, RA has shaped my life and has taught me even though I cannot control its unpredictable nature, I can decide how I respond. Most days, it is can be hard to live with the fears of unpredictability and I have my own pity parties, but I do have successful days, and those are the days where I do not allow RA to define me and I go out in the world and I live my life – despite RA and because of RA.
I am giving away a Squeeballs Party Game this week. Details to the side bar and the previous post.