As my birthday creeps closer (tomorrow!), I realized I totally missed another anniversary: the end of two years with my RAD diagnosis.
My first year RAD anniversary was a really big deal to me. Probably because I’d set an unrealistic expectation that one year was long enough to “beat” RA into remission, get off drugs, be pain free, and run a marathon.
One year later, I was only able to accomplish one of those goals: I successfully (though not pain free) ran my first marathon.
By the time my first year anniversary approached, I already realized that “curing” a chronic disease (read: no cure) in one year was pretty unrealistic. As was getting off drugs that were keeping my disease at bay and my pain under control (usually).
My one-year anniversary marked many things for me. I accomplished the huge, scary goal of running a marathon in the face of a huge, scary diagnosis. I also found a bit of respect and acceptance for my disease.
My second anniversary of my diagnosis came and went un-celebrated. I think this speaks to the enormous thing I’ve learned in the last year: you are not your disease, so allow yourself to forget about it as much as possible.
This year has been full of ups and downs, so obviously forgetting about my RA hasn’t always been in the cards. During a flare when you’re in pain, while dealing with methotrexate side effects, or visiting your doctor more than your best friend, or while giving yourself shots, or dragging yourself in for blood tests, it’s pretty impossible to forget your disease.
BUT, in the in between times, I’ve gotten a lot better about letting go. I’ve taken on old hobbies again. I’ve relaxed my diet a bit. I really feel I’ve gotten pieces of my old life back.
So, even though I’m a month late for my anniversary, I think that’s something worth celebrating.
There’s other things worth toasting to too – I’ve successfully moved from 10 methotrexate pills per week to 6, I’ve gotten WAY better at giving myself shots, my liver tests have been stellar despite a bit of wine indulgence, spring is coming and my circulation is already improving, and I’m feeling really good and mainly pain free.
I know it’s odd to acknowledge the anniversaries of a diagnosis you didn’t want or ask for, but I hope your anniversaries bring something to celebrate too.
#1 by Cammy on April 17, 2014 - 4:55 am
Hi RAD Girl! And a happy 2 year anniversary to you! I just reached my 1st RAD anniversary and I need to make sure you know YOU inspire me to stay strong but also allow me to be ok when feeling sad or overwhelmed. I just did my first run/walk ever! My first year has been a struggle with acceptance….And realizing what I have accomplished in getting fit, wrapping my head slowly around this yucky disease and completing the PINKEST marathon is HUGE! YOU are my inspiration and the girl that’s almost exactly one year ahead of me…..I am proud of how far you have come and super glad to know that in time I will be able to NOT think about RA everyday and get back to living each day mostly happy. So Cheers to you and OUR journey ahead!
CAMMY in California :0)
#2 by My RAD Life on April 18, 2014 - 6:42 pm
Thank you so much. I am so honored to be an inspiration to you. Congrats on your run/walk – that’s an amazing accomplishment! In my first year, if anyone had told me it would get easier in one year I would have felt lied to. But it really is true! Happy one year anniversary to you. Wishing you an easier journey from here on out.
#3 by rarainbow on April 17, 2014 - 7:12 pm
Happy RA anniversary and happy birthday! I love this part: “you are not your disease, so allow yourself to forget about it as much as possible.” I completely agree. With time, this definitely becomes easier as it becomes a routine part of life. Enjoy your day celebrating! 🙂
#4 by My RAD Life on April 18, 2014 - 6:38 pm
Thanks so much! I had a great birthday and my RA barely crossed my mind. 🙂
#5 by Marianna on May 4, 2014 - 12:14 am
This post reminds me of how times have changed. When I was diagnosed – 36 years ago – there was no celebrating, no anniversaries, and certainly no blogging. It was just do the best you can, from day to day, month to month.
Until I started writing A Rheumful of Tips, I didn’t even really keep track of when I was diagnosed.
If I were to keep track, though, I’d say I’m in a much better place emotionally, which has resulted in a better place – physically.
I hope the same for you on this anniversary, and all the rest to come.
#6 by My RAD Life on May 4, 2014 - 6:34 am
I’m so grateful to have the online community community we do and all the info available to us now. I imagine it was far more isolating a diagnosis 36 years ago.
I’m so happy to hear that you’re in a better place emotionally. I know that in the last year alone I’m in a much better place emotionally and physically. I hope that trend continues in the years to come.
So 36 happy anniversaries to you!! Cheers to the best year yet. 🙂