I have RA, but RA doesn’t have me


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I woke up this morning, thinking. I do that a lot. Both wake up  and think! I consider myself lucky; I have the ability to do both. My hands are the first things that enter my consciousness. Can I move them without pain, can I flex my fingers normally? I hold hands with myself. I exercise and manipulate my fingers, get them to loosen up. It takes a few minutes, sometimes more than a few minutes.

This is a daily ritual for me and I’m sure for many RA sufferers, but this morning my hands took second place. I had something more compelling on my mind. Writing. Words. Lots of words. 15, 000 glorious words.

Tapping on my keyboard is a good workout for my fingers, but more importantly it is a good workout for my brain. Writing is therapy for me. It is a creative outlet. Writing about my illness helps. I find that if I personify it, it is easier to deal with. I can face my enemy and laugh in its face. I am the Black Knight who, though armless, refuses to give up the fight, “It’s just a flesh wound!” (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975)

Yes, RA, you are just a flesh wound to me. You may stalk me while I sleep, but you cannot hold me captive for long. I slither from your insidious grasp with morning’s first light. And I hold you at bay all through the day. You cannot keep me from doing what I want to do.

And what I want to do is write those 15,000 words, complete my work in progress. I will concentrate on exercising my vocabulary as well as my fingers. I will throw myself into my work and let it suffuse my mind and spirit. I will go where you can’t reach me, RA, for my novella is not about you.

I may have you, but you don’t have me!

8 thoughts on “I have RA, but RA doesn’t have me

    1. Irma Post author

      There is a proverb that says fear and courage are brothers. In my case, sisters! It is fear of backsliding that gives me the courage to keep moving forward. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Irma

  1. Lee Allen Hill

    That’s the spirit, Irma. I see some irony here—I see irony everywhere. RA lunges and attacks your fingers, but parry and thrust with those same fingers
    to write about your defiance and your determination to beat it back. I understand your personification strategy. Give a RA a face, and a body with with vulnerabilities you can exploit. Take it all the way. ‘It’ is too nebulous. You need to attack, too. Let RA be a he or a she—all the better to exploit weaknesses.
    Write you novella. Give RA something unpleasant to wake up to.

    1. Irma Post author

      Thank you, Nan. I so appreciate your comment. I woke up with a fighting spirit yesterday and today! It will not best me! Irma


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