In the past two weeks, I have gone from a quick episode of an upper respiratory infection (still dealing with congestion part of it), a couple days of vertigo, and a day of where I had little or no joint pain. Yesterday, I felt like I was on cloud nine because even though I was still dealing with some dizziness and headache pain, my feet, through stiff, did not hurt. In eighteen months, I have not been able to say that. Well, that honeymoon was over as of this morning when I awoke to swelling in my knees, feet, ankles, hands, fingers, and wrists. I am also feeling a bit of brain fog and a lot of fatigue.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (no specific order) – That is what is like living with RA and FMS, and despite knowing that, it never really gets easy. It does not really help that I overdid things the minute I had the opportunity. To think I am always telling other RA’ers to take it easy even if they have a bout of energy. Maybe, I should practice what I preach. I am often complimented on how well keep it all together despite RA and FMS. For whatever reason, I seem to make it look easy.
The truth is, it is not easy. RA and FMS do not belong in my already busy life. I do not stop unless the pain forces me to stop. Since my diagnoses I have, of course, learned how much my body can take. I have also learned to be more realistic. There are a lot of things that I can wait and unless I have company coming over, it doesn’t really matter whether my house looks like Fort Knox. At work, I am consumed by deadlines and I have trained myself to shut out the stressful nature of the job so I do not go insane.
I save my energy where it is needed the most and I try to maintain a positive attitude even when the going gets tough. I have become numb in some ways, and when I am not numb, I find myself teary-eyed. When I see myself starting to fall apart, I shut down, and push aside whatever is consuming me in order to keep myself from falling apart. That is what is like living chronic pain. You have two choices, you either give up or you keep moving, and I am not a person who easily gives up.
I don’t have any answers, but I am glad that I can give hope and have hope despite the reality of what my life is. Forty-seven million Americans suffer from some of arthritis. It reminds me that I am not alone and that I can be weak if I need to be. It also tells me that I am just as strong as each one of those 47 million.