Posts Tagged Positivity

Living Without Limits

Me making the descent off the mountain.

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” – Albert Einstein

I had the type of weekend that can replenish your spirits and remind you that your disease is, to some extent, limiting only to the degree you allow it to be. I’m not saying that the pain you feel isn’t real or that the physical restrictions aren’t there, they are and I feel for you. I’m saying that the desire to shut down and decide things will be too hard to try is enticing.

It’s easy to think your disease wouldn’t allow you to go to that party or take part in that event – thoughts of fatigue, joint pain and worse circle your mind. This thinking is cyclical in that it makes you feel even more limited, thus making you want to try even less.

So this weekend I threw that thinking to the wind. I climbed a 13,574′ mountain, went camping, then followed it up with climbing a 14,067′ mountain for good measure. It was challenging, I think every muscle in my body is sore today, my wrists and ankles are extra tender, and it felt great.

Living a RAD life is not about being limited. It’s about moving beyond limitations.

It’s about setting BIG goals, and then setting the mini-goals to help get you there.

See that rock halfway to the halfway point? I’m climbing there. See that patch of grass halfway from here? That’s my new goal. Choose a landmark halfway to your big goal, get there, then choose a new halfway point. Then a new one. Then a new one until you are only a step away from that goal.

Living a RAD life is about knowing your body, but also challenging it. It’s about taking care of yourself mentally and physically, while pushing the boundaries further.

It’s about feeling alive. And if you are reading this, you are most definitely alive and have every reason in the world to celebrate.

Cheers to you. It’s your life, RA or not, live it without limits.

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The Quest for Knowledge

I have to admit, it’s been a rough couple weeks. Stress in my personal life and friends’ lives, as well as some important projects at work and working out a bit too hard, has taken its toll on my body.

Symptoms that I left behind months ago seem to be rearing their ugly heads. The bottom of my feet ache and swell to the point that no shoes make them happy. My feet hurt even doing small things, like pushing down the gas pedal. I feel very, very fortunate that this doesn’t prevent me from running and working out. For whatever reason, I lace on the tennis shoes and feel OK for that hour or so. It’s worth it physically and mentally, even if I might pay a little afterward.

My left wrist has visible nodules that seem to be getting worse, not better. Just the fact that I can see the effect on RA can send me into a mental tailspin. So I’ve been trying very hard to replace negative thoughts with positive, neutral or grateful ones.

Example:

Me: Oh my god, look at my wrist. Pretty soon RA will take over my body and I’ll be totally deformed.

My reply to myself (no, I’m not schizophrenic): Just because you have a couple Rheumatoid Nodules doesn’t mean your RA is worse. They’re not hurting you, they’re barely noticeable and they won’t be there forever.

Me: Shut up and let me wallow.

OK, so clearly I have a little work to do.

In my attempt to change my thought patterns and gain perspective, I’ve ordered two books off Amazon. I’ll post reviews here when I’m done.

  • A Resilient Life: Learning to thrive, not just survive with rheumatoid arthritis by Kat Elton
    Too often, people faced with a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis hear words like, “disabling,” “progressive,” or “tragic.” “Tragic” may be what people are saying but the real tragedy is that these often repeated words do nothing but harm to those who hear them. They completely ignore a very real truth: physical issues can absolutely lead to positive transformation, action, challenge, inner strength, deep courage, and compassion. This unique book is written by someone who knows her subject well. Kat Elton, an occupational therapist and woman who’s had rheumatoid arthritis since age two, knows that people with RA don’t need false hope or to be told what to do. What they do need is to be led toward believing in themselves and improving their reality no matter what it is. Part practical guide, part workbook, part memoir, this book demonstrates that although there is no magic bullet or cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there is a way to live well with this disease.

  • The First Year: Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed by M.E.A. McNeil
    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a disease characterized by inflammation of the joints, is one of the most disabling forms of arthritis and affects over two million people in the United States. Without proper treatment it can lead to long-term joint damage, chronic pain, loss of function, and disability. From the first moment of her diagnosis, author M.E.A. McNeil took charge and educated herself on every aspect of her condition. Now, as a “patient-expert,” she guides those newly diagnosed step-by-step through their first year with RA. McNeil provides crucial information about the nature of the disease, treatment options, diet, exercise, social concerns, emotional issues, networking with others, and much more. The First Year—Rheumatoid Arthritis is an essential resource for everyone who wants to be an informed, active participant in the management of their condition.

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Respecting The Journey

I was getting tips on how to prevent pain and stress in the wrists when doing yoga with RA, and my instructor said something so kind, so perfect, so wise, and so simple, I had to share.

“I respect your journey,” she said. “I know you may not see it that way now. You may see it as a pain in the ass and that is fine, but you are on a journey and I respect your path, strength and courage.”

Wow. Powerful words. In about ten seconds she had the reaction to the news of my RA that I realized I was seeking. Acknowledgment that it is a difficult card to have been dealt and it’s not my fault to have it. Permission to react any way I want. Support. Confidence that the circumstances I’m in now will ever evolve. And finally, encouragement of my power to deal with this.

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Dealing with RA

Dealing with RA

Just some fast tips to help with dealing with an RA diagnosis. Of course I’ve read all this before, but reading it again helped me.

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