It feels like that monster truck ran me over in my sleep last night. Every joint in my body aches and in particular my feet. It does not help that my doctor told me to discontinue Humira until my antibiotics are all taken. I am being patient and my patience is a reminder of how much I have evolved emotionally over the past few years since my diagnoses. In September, it will be four years since my RA diagnosis and in January, it will be four years since my fibromyalgia diagnosis. (Although, I have had symptoms from both conditions since my teen years.)
Despite my RA and fibro moderately controlled, I still wake up to pain on most mornings. Sometimes, I do not realize this right away but once my feet touch the ground, that monster truck that ran me over in my sleep shows what the damage it has done to my body. As far as I know, I don’t have joint damage – at least not anything that my doctor and I are aware of. After my auto accident last year, my x-rays showed arthritis in my neck and aside from that, another x-rays are over two years ago and those did not show any notable joint damage. Aside from the fact I am in pain, my joint and muscles haven’t really changed. My body has though. I have put on a lot of weight from medication and not being able to be as active as I used to be. I still get comments from people who insist that I have RA because of my weight and they are shocked when I explain, the weight gain happened after the RA diagnosis. Whatever! People are idiots.
I often struggle with my hands and sometimes, I struggle to type. This is really hard for me because I don’t want RA to take away my ability to be a productive employee. My hands also have a way of giving out on me. I drop things and I cannot manage tasks that require hand and finger coordination. My ankles have been swollen for so many months and I cannot imagine waking up without them being swollen. My RA is getting worse and there is not a thing I can do about it. I had some really good months there and last year was great as far as my RA pain was concerned but this year thus far has been particularly difficult. I did have a good run there though and then the monster truck came back every morning and I wish I would take a vacation or something. The only vacation it has taken is a staycation and that doesn’t work for me.
There was a time when I had dreams about being healthy. I used have these dreams where I would run and play with my kids or where I would look in the mirror and say to myself that because I didn’t have RA pain, I didn’t need meds that make me gain weight and was able to be active again so the weight gain was no longer an issue. The longer I live with reality, however, the more I understand that RA and fibromyalgia are here to stay. I am no longer disappointed that I did not go into remission. However, a small part of me still wishes for this but I won’t be disappointed if it never happened. That monster truck is a part of my reality every single day and while I wish that I can have it towed, I am not sure that it is going to happen any time soon.
Having lived with RA and fibro and knowing so many others struggling with these and other chronic pain conditions, we are a strong group of people. Living with chronic pain on a daily basis, I would not be able to do anything without strong effort and faith. I know that things could be a lot worse but for might now, I am that I am still working and I am still taking care of my family and I am very grateful for that.
People in my life including coworkers, friends and family, have this notion that if I am moving, I am not in pain. The reality is if I stayed in bed when I was in pain, I would never leave my bed. I cannot let that monster truck win and for me; a day that I can get out of bed despite the pain is a good day. After all, I am still a productive member of the human race.
My mornings are interesting to say the least. Upon awaking, after hitting the snooze button multiple times, my feet and ankles are stiff and swollen. My walk/limp is the bathroom rather graceful to say the least. I know from the moment my feet hit the ground that the monster truck visited me in my sleep. Some nights, that truck continually runs me over and doesn’t allow me to get any quality sleep. It takes me a lot of pacing to get ready because mornings are pretty bad for me. In addition to my own morning routine, I have to help a three year old get ready and nag a 12 year old to get moving.
Every morning that monster truck looks me in the face and reminds how little control I have over chronic pain. Despite knowing that, I don’t dwell because I know that it takes a lot of strength and courage to face a life with a chronic pain. I know that my kids look to me for answers and they want to see safety and protection in my eyes. They need to see that success is possible despite obstacles. For the people that know me, they see chronic pain because it is written all over my face and they don’t quite understand how I manage to do all the things I do despite chronic pain. I used to believe that before RA and fibro I was strong but now I know that I am stronger than I have ever been despite and because of RA and fibro.
I think that life does go on despite my tainted relationship with that monster truck. Every day, I learn to that as long as I can tolerate the pain, I am functioning and I am able to handle the challenges that come my way. Every day that I do not let that monster truck hold me hostage in my bed is another day that I am ahead. I have good days and I have bad days. As each day progresses, I am thankful for all I have accomplished despite the reality of that monster truck in my life.
My relationship with my monster truck is a walk in progress. In the past, I spent so much time trying to outrun the monster truck and in doing so, I allowed it to consume me physically and emotionally. I have learned that the only way I can win the fight is to accept my limitations and pain but that doesn’t mean that I don’t continue to be active and try to at least run side by side with the monster truck. It is likely is will outrun me but it is better than getting run over.