Overwhelmed? I get that way from time to time. Because I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) doesn’t mean life challenges have just, “poof”, gone away. I’m learning ways to cope and problem solve since my diagnosis because stress profoundly affects how well my disease is managed. It took years to get to where I am now in that regard, and I will do about anything to keep the pain, swelling and fatigue under control!
My dear mother is 87 and struggling. She lost two close friends in 6 months and it seems as though her world is caving in. My four brothers and I are also struggling to get a handle on how we can help her to keep living independently in the family home of over 50 years.
Last month I visited her and immediately knew things had changed. I was able to see what my brothers didn’t because they see her far more often. I was struck like a bolt of lightening that things needed to change, and quickly, to help her.
That is when I jumped into action. Networking with my friends facing the same issues of caring for our elderly parents. Doctor appointments, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and learning about anything and everything that had to do with helping my mother as she grieved her loses. Then doing it!
In the process, communication with my siblings could have been better. We were all working in our own ways to solve the problems in order to honor my mother’s wish to remain living independently in the home we all grew up in. I’ve learned to jump into action if it is a life-or-death situation at the moment, but if not, allow a bit of discomfort as data can be gathered in order to make decisions that take each others thoughts and feelings into consideration. It is better for everyone involved. Most importantly, my mother!
How does this affect the management of my RA? Emotions can cause a lot of stress. Initially, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’ve learned I need to take time to collaborate with my mother and brothers as we problem solve the obstacles that would keep mom from living where she really wants to. It is a process, and not a perfect one, but we are figuring out a chain of communications and who does what the best. We are still in the middle of it all, but we are moving in a positive direction. All of that to say by working together the stress level is decreased, therefore making it easier to prevent an arthritic flare.
This is a good time to be reminded of my FRESH lifestyle. Eating healthy, nutrient-rich foods, stress reduction, maintaining my exercise commitments, getting plenty of sleep and staying hydrated.
Overwhelmed? How do you best deal with that situation. Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts. We can learn so much from each other. And that is using Arthritis Wisdom.