A Little Bit

Today is my sister’s anniversary. 51 years of married life. I can hardly comprehend that. That’s almost as long as I’ve lived on this earth.

We don’t keep in touch. She lives far away. All my sisters live far away. We don’t keep in touch, ever.

Sometimes that feels strange to me, and at other times, I don’t think about it at all. It just is.

But this wasn’t what I planned to write about. 

I planned to write about guilt. One type of guilt, for there is always a variety of it to go around.

As I go through my entries on this blog, and  compile those I might possibly use, all sorts of memories are being triggered. Some memories have nothing to do with RA, while others send me headlong into the world of constant pain that I lived in for what I assumed would be forever.

There’s no denying that RA changed me. It changed my outlook on life. It changed my ability to function, productively as well as effectively. It changed my career and career focus. It changed the trajectory of my future.

But looking back from ten-plus years, for I really do not know when this dis-ease arrived, I cannot say it is a bad thing. Not entirely.

I have benefited from the care of a wonderful doctor, who puts up with my self-treatment and self-diagnosis. Perhaps my intimate involvement with my treatment process has meant the difference. For though I no longer practice in the field, I cannot stop being a nurse. I cannot stop wanting to bring wellness to those whose lives I touch.

I have seen the depths and I have seen the light, to use one worn out cliché. And because of that, I feel guilt.

Guilt that while others suffer excruciatingly from this ailment on a daily basis, I am forced to agree with my doctor’s mantra. “You are doing very well,” he says to me after every visit.

And I am. I feel better and more mobile than before RA checked in.

I’m not really sure what I have done to make this happen. From the research of my writings, both posted here and those still tucked away in my journals,  I suppose I will find out, glean some sort of insight. Is it diet? Is it exercise? Is it love? Is it companionship? Is it finding like-minded friends to talk to? Is it knowing that people out there care about me? Is it caring for others? Is it all of the above?

I know that the treatment for RA is not a one-size-fits-all. But perhaps my story might help. Just a little bit.


6 thoughts on “A Little Bit

  1. Leigh

    What a fabulous post. I could have written it myself – all of it. For I am not that close with my three siblings. No reason. We just are all very different and that’s how it is.

    I’m doing pretty good as well. 15 years with this disease and about half of them had tough moments. And I don’t know if it’s diet, exercise, meds, love, friends, positive mental attitude or what, but I’m doing well and have much to be thankful for.

    There’s no guilt. Because I don’t know why I’m doing well, but I try to share my thoughts with as many people as I can. I try to encourage those struggling with RA that it sometimes does get better. I have been emailing a woman this week who is struggling badly and she’s a friend of a relative. We’ve analyzed alot of things and I don’t know if it’s what could help her, but she has a list for her next rheum visit.

    Thanks Irma for this lovely post. You said what I would like to say, but so much more eloquently. Keep up the goodness!!


    1. Irma Post author

      Thank you, Leigh. I’m so glad you are doing well and hope you continue to do so. How wonderful that you are able to help this woman prepare for her visit to her doctor. When we are in the grips of intractable pain, it’s hard to think straight. I myself sometimes neglect to bring something up during my visits. I now make notes on my phone so I don’t forget. She has a good friend in you. Sometimes just expressing yourself serves as an analgesic. I hope she finds relief for her pain soon.

  2. Wren

    I believe all those factors work together to make one feel better and stronger, Irma. The medications are helpful, too. And really, attitude is on the top of the list. The more we feel like we CAN, that we can smile, that we can appreciate the small gifts each day, the better off we are, even in the face of RA and frequent pain.

    You’ve written a lovely post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Please keep writing, and please keep caring.

    1. Irma Post author

      Thank you, Wren. I agree that attitude is the most important thing in dealing with adversity. And the scourge that RA can be. I know there are pitfalls around every corner, but today I’m good and that’s all that matters. That and working to stay that way, plus appreciating all that every new day brings.


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