RA Is Like It’s Own Version of An X-Game Event
The Sports Channel ESPN created The X-Games to showcase athletes performing dangerous and radical stunts. The X is short for “extreme” which the games certainly are.
We had the opportunity to take a ski vacation to Colorado a few weeks ago while the X-Games were taking place. It made me think about the time, effort, training and daily discipline the athletes put into perfecting and mastering their stunts.
I tried to imagine even having the nerve to attempt what they do, which I don’t begin to have what it takes. Way out of my safety zone! That is where my thoughts went to my safety zone, what I can and cannot try to do. Living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) definitely would not be in my safety zone by choice. Nope. Too serious, too scary.
Hence, here is how I see RA is like it’s own version of an X-Game Event.
First, the thought of your body attacking itself is terrifying. That is what an autoimmune disease does in one way or another. In the case of RA, it is the joints that get attacked.
Then there is the period of time that you have the symptoms, but haven’t been diagnosed yet. This can take a bit of time as the symptoms often mimic so many other conditions and there is no one test that nails the diagnosis. Your body seems unrecognizable. The pain, fatigue, difficulty moving, strange sensations, swelling.
You may feel like you have the flu forever, but you don’t have the flu.
Then you get the diagnosis and are presented with treatment options. The medications often have potentially serious side effects. And what about giving yourself injections? And what about the cost of it all?
But, RA is progressive and serious itself. So you decide the disease is worse than the treatment. You begin treatment.
Great if your body responds in a positive way. But, you may need to try different medications before you find one, or more, that works for you.
Next, you will need to monitor how effective the therapy is by routine medical appointments and probably routine lab tests. That is tricky for those with needle phobias and difficulty scheduling these appointments. After all, jobs, family obligations, logistics can be a challenge to the process.
Furthermore, even when you have symptoms well controlled, the disease reminds you daily that it is still there. Sensations and little breakthrough symptoms keep you wondering if this is the beginning of a flare. You know, the full blown symptoms that rock the way you are managing the disease.
So, putting all this together, plus learning your unique triggers and making sometimes drastic lifestyle changes to improve your all over health and RA management, remind me of training for an X-Game event. Extreme it is!
That is why I’m trying to make my lifestyle changes more of a habit and routine. So my RA will have the smallest footprint on my day-to-day living.
And that, I believe, is using Arthritis Wisdom!
photo credit: Travis Colbert at Unsplash