Last summer I met a gal that did some energy work on me. She said she doesn't like to label people with their diagnosis because once we create a relationship with the disease, we have a responsibility to the disease.
I have been thinking a lot lately about what that means to me. Last summer was the worst I have ever felt physically with RA. Many things in my life changed. I stopped working out, I didn't put dishes on high shelves away anymore, I stopped carrying the groceries into the house, I rested a lot, stopped swimming with the kids, etc. My relationship with RA was easy because every part of my body was swollen and hurt. However, I have noticed that as I am feeling better and my energy is returning, I continue my relationship with RA. I have made it a part of who I am. Instead of waking up each day and thinking, "Oh, today my knee is sore," or "Oh, today my knee is good." I think, "What does RA have in store for me today?." Sometimes I even think, "Oh, I probably can't do that because I have RA." I have always tried to continue life as normal as possible and go a step further than I think my body will allow, but I am also beginning to realize that there are times I use RA as an excuse to myself and others. I have created a relationship with RA and as we all know, it is difficult to get out of relationships - even bad ones.
Sometimes I look at my husband and I realize he has never labeled me with RA. There are days he will ask, "Are you up to doing something today?" but he never refers to my RA as a problem. He always talks about our future plans as if I am well. It isn't that he is insensitive, he will spend hours listening to me share my ups and downs with RA and he has many of his own fears for me. He knows this hard. It is hard on everyone connected to me. But, unless I ask him to do something specific like drop me off at the front door because I can't walk the distance from the car to the store and then in the store, he parks and we walk together. It is good for me. I need that time to work my body and to spend with him. When I am limping and feeling sorry for myself, he still sees me as the beautiful woman he married. Some days I have let my relationship with RA believe that I can't still be an attractive person. I am so glad he reminds me I am. There are days that I have wondered why he hasn't said, "Oh, let me do that for you since you have RA and it is difficult." He doesn't do it because I think in his mind he isn't labeling me - he isn't buying into this relationship with RA. He knows there are good days and bad days. Honestly, this is good for me. I could so easily have a 100% relationship with RA and do absolutely nothing. However, he continues to expect me to have a relationship with him and our children - not just with RA. Sometimes it is hard. Many times I want to go to bed, cover up and spend time with my RA relationship. Sometimes it seems easier.
So, as my body is healing and I feel better with each day, I have to decide to how to end this commitment to RA that I have. I can realize that some days are more difficult than others, but I have to leave the dependency to RA behind me so that I can move on to new relationships. I feel more confident each day that I can leave this relationship behind me, but not 100% sure yet. It is scary leaving a relationship you have had for a long period of time. But, although my mind is struggling with the end of the relationship, my body is feeling excited. It is improving daily and feeling energized to do things we haven't done in some time. It wants to feel alive again! It wants me to rid my dependency to RA.