Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Forty-Two Ways in Forty-Two Days- My Health

Yes, I have health issues. So let's start by listing them off. I have been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for 4 years (my "anniversary" was this month), I also have major symptoms of Fibromyalgia and I am overweight and have been having a horrible, horrible time trying to lose it and I am a long-time smoker who has not found a way to quit for good. Yes, these things cause me physical and emotional pain on a daily basis- and yet I am grateful for my health? How can that be? Let me share with you how I can (try to) keep this attitude.

First, very recently we did a full blood panel. They test me for everything under the sun to try and see if there was an explaination other than Fibro for my muscle pain. My tests came back perfect. In fact- if it were not for my known issues- I would be "disgustingly healthy" according to my rheumatologist's office. This makes me incredibly happy. When you consider that my darling mother had a massive heart attack when she was just three years older than I am now and a stroke a month after turning 60- for my tests to come back so well is a wonderful thing. When you throw in that I take both Methotrexate and a TNF-blocker and there is no kidney or liver damage- I can rejoice.

Second- pain is relative. It is there, it is somewhat managable but when I am feeling like whining, I have to consider that in the grand scheme of things- I am doing okay. There are so very many people in this world who are in so much more pain than I am on my very worst days. I have good days. I have days where I might only take my Tramadol in the morning and at night instead of three times as directed. I keep in mind on the bad days that the good days are coming, I just have to ride it out till they come back. Some people are not fortunate enough to have good days and when I think of that- I can get through the bad ones. Fairly often I have friends tell me that they couldn't handle what I deal with- but when you have something like this thrown at you the only thing you can do is step up and handle it or you can let it get the best of you- and I refuse to let it get the best of me.

Finally, dealing with this has shown me that I have strengths that I didn't know that I had. I never imagined having to give myself injections on a regular basis- but I do and after having done it so long it is second nature. I never imagined arranging my life around side effects but I do it. I never imagined limiting myself in any way- but I do it. All of these things I do to protect the health that I DO have- which tells me that it is something to treasure.

I have been fortunate to have found quality caregivers to help me maintain my health as much as possible. I am grateful that we found the cause of my pain before there was more deterioration to my joints and early enough to get me to a tolerable level of pain. I am so fortunate that my other half not only sees but understands what I go through and supports me without question when I need to scale back and take it easy. So yes, although I do have my challenges with my health- I can be grateful that it is not worse than it is and that other than those issues, I am just fine.

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