So, today marks one week since I restarted college. For those of you who know me really well, you know it’s been a long time coming.
I have been dreaming of this day for a while now.
The “short” break Arthritis forced me into has taken…. drum roll please…. 3 years.
Can you believe it?
If I didn’t have Arthritis, I’d probably have my PhD by now! All my friends from dual enrollment graduated with Master’s two years ago.
That was a hard pill to swallow… Even among the giant pills I already take for RA.
The first week hasn’t gone as easy as I thought.
I’ve forgotten the rhythm and I feel a bit lost.
A bit different from my other classmates.
I have this fear that even as far as I’ve come, I still won’t be able to keep up.
I feel as old and tattered as the used books I bought over Amazon.
The one thing I do know for sure is that I’m not giving up.
Oddly enough, school is just like Arthritis.
The going might get tough, but “the tough” get going……
And I know, I’m definitely ‘the tough.’
Since today is Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease awareness day I think we should find out what RA actually is! Alongside me, there are 1.5 million Americans and 300,000 children who fight this life-long battle on a daily basis.
There are many misconceptions about Arthritis
so let’s educate the world and share this with everyone we can to support
Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Awareness Day!
Find more resources on living with arthritis by visiting arthritistoday.org
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which your body’s immune system – which protects your health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks your joints. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation that can damage joints and organs, such as the heart. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment
is the key to preventing joint destruction and organ damage.
About 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Nearly three times as many women have the disease as men. In women, RA most commonly begins between ages 30 and 60. In men, it often occurs later in life.
The severity of the disease can vary from person to person. Symptoms can change from day to day. Sudden increases in symptoms and illness are called flares. A flare can last for days or months. Key rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
are pain, fatigue and warm, swollen, reddish joints. Long periods of joint stiffness in the morning are common. Inflammation in the small joints of the wrist and hand is typical. If a joint on one side of the body is affected, the same one on the other side is usually affected, too.
There is no cure for RA, but there are a number of medications available to help ease symptoms
, reduce inflammation, and slow the progression of the disease. No one drug works for everyone but many people find treatments that are very effective. The goal of treatment is remission, a state when inflammation is gone or is very low. A doctor, likely a rheumatologist — a specialty doctor who treats people with arthritis — should monitor your levels of disease activity, or inflammation, on a regular basis through exams and blood tests that reveal how well treatment is working. The doctor may add or change your medications or adjust the dosage after a few months, if the disease is still active.
Self-management is an important part of rheumatoid arthritis care. Staying physically active is the key to keeping joints flexible. Too little movement can lead to joint stiffness. Strong muscles protect joints. Overall fitness improves health in many ways. Managing your weight, eating a nutritious diet and getting a good balance of rest and activity each day are important, too.
Today someone told me (multiples times…), “You have to think you’re going to get better to get better. Don’t be so negative. You have to stop talking about negative things. Positive things happen to positive people.”
Most anyone who knows me knows that I am a very positive person. I pride myself in being positive. It wasn’t easy to get here. It was an honest-to-God uphill battle. It took a lot of practice, hard work, and patience.
To me, being positive means accepting my pain and living life happy with who I am even though I have pain. I don’t try to be normal, because I’m not! I’m special and even though I’m not like everyone else I can be just as happy and fulfilled, if not more than those ‘normal people’! I choose to live my life knowing that God gave me this disease because he knew I could handle it and chose me specifically because He knew I would try my hardest to turn it into a positive. What’s so negative about that??
What I like to say is, “I’m not just LIVING with Arthritis, I’m THRIVING with it.”
If you live in the U.S. chances are you’ve been freezing your little tush off this week like me.
Last night we got our first cold front of the season and it hit the low 50s! I know, I know. Some of you may be like laughing, but for Miami that’s freezing!! 🙂
Having Arthritis can mean that the cold whether really aggravates your joint pain, stiffness, and swelling and trust me, I am feeling it!
Last winter, when I spent a week in Boston visiting my family I was in a wheelchair the entire trip because the cold made me so incredibly stiff! Boston is a beautiful city, but I don’t think I could ever live there just because the cold hurts my joints so much.
However, for those of you Arthritis Folks who live up north (or people who just don’t like the cold), keeping your joints warm could definitely help you, like its been helping me lately. It makes a real difference!
So.. here are a few products I’m using right now to keep my joints nice and toasty! 🙂
Sunbeam Heating Pad
– This I actually use all year round cause it really helps when I’m feeling particulary stiff and you don’t have to keep heating it up in the microwave like some other heating pads.
Warm Essentials Leggings
– This I wish I had taken to Boston, but unfortunately I didn’t think of it, so I froze. Luckily, I’ve been getting my use out of them this week. They’re great to wear under pants!
Sunbeam Heated Fleece
– This one I haven’t bought , but that’s only because my husband won’t let me! He thinks its a little too ridiculous for Miami. I disagree 😉