I had an appointment with my rheumatologist today. It was a little weird. I didn't have any of the anxiety I often have with appointments to this office. In fact, I was very calm. She went through her routine of questions and had me do my routine of movements. They were all so easy. Last year at this time I was struggling to get on the patient bed because my shoulders and wrists were in so much pain. I remember they lowered the bed and then it hurt my knees to bend down. Today everything was easy. In fact, I didn't have a second thought about jumping up on the bed. The only complaint I had was about my feet and toes which have been hurting quite a bit the last few weeks. She gave me a referral to see a podatrist. I will think on whether I want to go that route or not. My white blood cell count was down in previous blood work, but is within normal again. In fact, all of my blood work is "really good". She was happy I haven't been sick at all this winter or suffered any infections. My last chest x-ray did show some scarring. I am not really sure what that means, but she said we will do yearly x-rays to monitor it. She also took a look at the nodules on my elbow and shoulder.
Towards the end of our visit she asked me to explain how difficult it is to get out of bed. It was with this question that I realized that physically and mentally I am a different person than I was eight months ago. I am different because when she asked that question I realized that I don't think about getting out of bed anymore. (Tears of happiness streaming down my face right now as I say this.) It is just a normal routine for me again. I no longer wake up and wonder how I am going to roll out of bed without crying in pain. I no longer worry about my joints being so stiff and weak that they won't help me out of bed. Rheumatoid arthritis pain no longer consumes my every thought and action. I am different now. I know that at any time I can wake up and be that person again and it does scare me, but I am where I am now and it is a great place.
Feeling constant pain bogged down my mind more than I ever imagined and it took being free of that pain to realize the happiness I feel at this very moment. My rheumatologist kept asking me questions about pain and finally I just said, "Really, except for a few minor flares, life feels normal again." I have come a long ways and I can't stop feeling giddy with excitement at the little gifts that life has given back to me.