Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy Where I am Right Now

I think one of the things that has helped me the most in healing this last year is that I have finally stopped worrying about everything.  When I was first diagnosed in 2004, my biggest fears were deformed joints and not being able to get out of bed by myself.  Although those two fears stayed with me for many years, I also added on the fear of the side effects of medications, fear the pain would never end, fear of eating because the food I put into my body might be causing more inflammation, and fear that if I take medications they may not work long term. (There were more, but these were the main ones.)

Last year at this time I was in deep turmoil trying to decide what path to take next with my rheumatoid arthritis which was also controlling the rest of my life.  I talked with close friends, I visited my naturopath, I meditated, and finally I came to the conclusion that  I was spending so much time trying to be healthy that I was adding a lot of stress to my life.  Stress is very harmful to our joints.  When I decided to give medications a chance again, I remember this huge burden being lifted from my body. 

When I picked up my first prescription of Enbrel, my sister Stacey was visiting.  I started crying when we left the pharmacy.  She thought it was because I was scared of the medication.  It wasn't that.  I knew that my life was about to change.  It was about to change because I had a strong sense that the medication was going to help.  This sense came from many places.  Mostly, it came from me finally accepting my situation.  It was accepting that the medications may have a place in my life to help me and it also came from my decision to stop worrying about everything.  I remember when the decision to take medications was complete in my mind I also had decided on following the paleo diet which allowed me a lot more freedom in my food choices than I was doing previously, it completely fit into my food politics,  and I decided at that moment that I would allow myself to "cheat" on foods when it felt right for me as long as it remained gluten free. (I find this funny now because since making the choice to give myself a break with food, I have actually eaten better than ever before.  Feeling like I can't eat certain foods makes them so much more desirable.)  I also stopped worrying about deformities and decided to look at them as trophies of the strength I have each day to deal with whatever life throws at me.  I don't worry so much about the side effects of medications because I know that I am treating my body the best I can with good food choices and a relaxed mindset.

I was right when I picked up my Enbrel prescription.  My life has changed this last year.  I am active.  I am strong.  I am happy.  I know Enbrel plays a large part in this change but I also think a lot of the change comes from not being so hard on myself to save myself.  This last year I have let a lot go in my life that wasn't serving me any longer.  I have allowed myself to share meals with friends and family without freaking out inside.  I have focused on the beauty of who I am rather than what may become of me.  I have really spent time this year focusing on the moment by taking the time to laugh, to hug, and to just be.  It has made a huge difference not only in my rheumatoid arthritis symptoms but in my overall life. 

This journey of mine with rheumatoid arthritis has definitely had some ups and downs and I have no delusion that path will continue, but in the meantime, I just want to enjoy each and every day I have of feeling good.  I appreciate my naturopath, all my blogger friends, personal friends,and family that helped guide me to the decisions I made last summer because I am really happy with where I am now.      


  1. Woohoo three tries i am in! OK, your story is touching and your sincere challenges and decisions are so true to my heart. Although I crossed that threshold years ago my ra is older also. I wish you the best ahead with all your decisions and I am rejoicing right beside you in your strength, courage and now positive results in your choices. Be it that we are all different, may have take make different choices, I truly hope we all get to live our dreams once again as you are now doing. Enjoy!

  2. This post really made me smile. I'm so glad you're happy, feeling better, enjoying life more. I am hoping to get to this spot myself - you are an inspiration, and give me hope!

  3. Remicade Dream, I hope you get to this spot soon too!!!! I am sending healing thoughts every day.

    Deb, as always, thanks for your support. I too am hoping that each one of us can make the choices that feel right for who we are and live the life we want to live.

  4. I can relate to this point. I remember those feelings of fear and frustration and I remember the ongoing fears. It has only been in recent months that I have really come to terms with RA and fibromyalgia in my life. I never thought that I would ever be pain free and I am still not true but I am at a point in my life where I know that I am going to be okay and I, too, am happy where I am at. Happiness is a good thing.

  5. Hi Cathy! I'm very happy for you for your state of wellbeing. Your words are very helpful to me, as Severe RA is still a very recent intrusion in my life. I am grateful I am learning early of the importance of prioritizing and eliminating what doesn't uplift, empower or bring happiness to my life with RA, as it really does affect my health, including mobility and pain, negatively. I found this out quite intensely just last week. This is my first setback since starting biologics for the first time three months ago, so it's been a reality check I had hoped I'd never see. Stress and worry rob wellness.

    Thanks for the reminder of the importance of keeping worry at-bay to promote wellness, happiness and well-being. Enjoy each day to the fullest! :)