Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two Roads...

Lately I have been taking notes in my head about the things that trigger my RA. Two of the biggest things are food and emotions. Now I know a lot of you already know that everything we eat and put into our bodies makes a huge impact on our pain. But not a lot of people realize that the way you think, also effects our pain levels and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I'm going to go back in time with this blog post. Into my life before the RA. 

When I was around the age of 14, I started to become a very depressed child. And I honestly do not remember what triggered it. I must have buried it in my subconscious. But once I hit high school I became a very negative thinking, angry, upset and bitter little girl. Now a lot of people will say "thats just you being a teenager". Yes, I was a teenager, but this carried on into my adulthood. By the age of 19 I had become so bitter and angry I had drowned myself in my own unhappiness. I hated life and most of all I really didnt like myself. [now remember this was all before RA] I had come to accepting the fact that I would forever be miserable and nothing will ever go right in my life. All I had focused on for years was the negative and I never saw the good in life. I had taken my physical abilities for granted, my family and my friends. When finally in 2010 all of the negativity, stress and bad thoughts blew up in my face in the form of RA. Then I became EXTREMELY angry. I could hardly look at myself in the mirror let alone be happy.

For 2 long years I had done nothing but focus on a major negative force in my life. All I could say to myself was "seriously, its one thing after another. its never going to get better". I had grown to hate my body, not because of how it looked, but because of what it was doing to me. It was attacking me and I couldnt understand what I had done wrong. But all of that terrible thinking had lead my body to a point to where it really had had enough with me. It was finally able to fully get my attention when my back starting going haywire. And for the first time in my life, I sat down with myself and decided that I had to change. All of the depression, anxiety, stress, and negative attitude had taken a major toll on my mental and physical health. How had I let myself become so bitter? Why was I doing this to my body? Because I had become comfortable in the pain, suffering and negativity. And I finally got the notion that I had to change, or it was going to keep getting worse.

The hardest thing about my new journey has by far been changing the way I think about myself and my life. I had become so comfortable in my negative nancy land that becoming more positive was down right scary to me. But once I started to make small changes something inside me had come to the surface that I had not felt for over a decade. Positive thoughts? Happiness? Joy? What on earth are these feelings? And i'm feeling them everyday? The storm had finally passed in my head. And then I finally told myself that I needed to take more steps into getting my life back. And you know what, it all worked.

Four major things that have changed my life:
1) Positive Thinking
3)Physical Therapy
4)Changing my Diet

All 4 are essential to me. If I eliminate one, they all fall apart.

Now do not get me wrong, I still suffer with those sneaky negative thoughts. And I have been noticing that when I do become angry my body becomes angry. If I start to focus on negative things my body sends out a wave of pain. Kind of like its saying "HEY, STOP IT! OR I'M JUST GOING TO KEEP HURTING!". It also yells at me when I eat something I shouldn't. So now I'm starting to learn what effects my RA and what doesn't. And so far the two biggest things that trigger a flare for me are the wrong foods/drinks and negative thinking.

So if you suffer from RA keep an eye on how your body reacts to certain foods you eat and how your joints feel when you get upset or stressed. Because they all effect my RA. I know I cannot be the only one with RA or any kind of chronic illness that notices these things. 

I would also like to add that although RA has caused a lot of trouble in my life and things have become rather difficult, if it wasn't for RA I honestly do not think I would have changed myself for the better. Something really bad had to happen to me in order for me to become the person I was meant to be. 

I have decided to take the road less traveled in my life. For years I was continuing on a road of misery. But I have finally discovered that there is another road. And that, has made all of the difference.

-Little Wurmie-

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Rheumatoid Awareness Day

So today marks a HUGE step in our awareness for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Febuary 2nd, also known as ground hog day, now shares a new meaning to me and millions of others who suffer from any form of RA. We are now becoming closer and closer to bringing this disease out of the shadows. A disease that not only effects adults, but also young adults and children.To me today means that I will work extra harder in spreading awareness. It gives me a extra push to share my story and spread the word about RA. I am an advocate for Rheumatoid Arthritis. I share my triumphs and challenges so that others like me know that they are not alone in this battle. I share my story so that more people know about this disease. The more people that know, the more RA gets attention for funding for research that we need to find OUR CURE!

"As many of you know, I have a chronic disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was diagnosed in Nov 2010 but it all began much earlier then that. My life was completely flipped upside down in June of that year. For the first 2 years I tried to hide my disease from people and from myself. Before RA I used to run every day for hours on end just because I loved the freedom in doing so. I also used to lift weights like a crazy person because I enjoyed the feeling it gave me. Until one day I had to stop because of the severity of this disease. I took my physical capabilities for granted. But RA has not taken away my spirit. It has not taken away my determination. And it has not nor will it even take away my freedom. I will stand face to face with this disease every day. I will challenge it until my very last breath. I will never stop running. I just have a very large mountain to climb over in order to run again. And now i'm almost at the top of that mountain. 

Today is Rheumatoid Awareness Day. Spread the word. Wear blue or purple. And raise awareness for people like me, who fight a never ending battle with a chronic disease."- Little Wurmie

-Little Wurmie-

Friday, February 1, 2013

Turning Pain into Power

 When people are first diagnosed with a chronic illness like Rheumatoid Arthritis they fear for the worst. I was one of those people. I had went from a normal young adult to having my world turned upside down in less then a week. I started fighting myself, becoming depressed and longing for my life before RA. After 2 1/2 years of being like this something inside me changed. I was fed up feeling sorry for myself and letting this disease control my life. So I took control of it. And not just by changing my diet and going to physical therapy but by changing the way I thought. I started turning my "used to's" into "doing again's".

I was fed up with letting the pain from RA control me. I was DONE letting it take away my enjoyment in life. Something inside me just clicked. I realized that if i kept thinking of the worst and kept thinking of bad things that will happen, well...they eventually happened. So I no longer thought that way. I told myself "today is going to be a good day wither or not I have pain" and it turned out to be a good day. If you expect to wake up in pain you're going to wake up in pain. You have to push through that pain. Its your body telling you something is wrong, are you going to listen to it or ignore it? I was done ignoring it.

I ignored my body for 2 1/2 long painful enduring years. And then I just listened. I listened to what it was telling me. Yeah, it was telling me "HEEEYY, I HURT REALLY BAD!! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!" Clearly something was missing. Because even all of the thousands of dollars worth of meds I was putting and pumping into it wasn't doing anything. My body was agitated and fighting against me, not with me. So I started moving and eating better. Most people with RA say that moving is the worst thing to do, well I bag to differ. I was in A LOT of pain. I mean so much pain even not moving hurt. Just laying on my bed hurt. It even hurt to breath. But what my spirit and body was missing the most, was moving. So I started moving with Physical Therapy. It took a long time for my joints to get used to it. Because they have not done that type of work in so long, they were weak, stiff, swollen and bitter [yes, joints can be bitter]. But I told myself no matter how bad I hurt, I was going to push through that pain because I wanted to show myself that I was not a lost cause in the book of RA patients. I was not going to be another case of "she will be in a wheel chair by the age of 30" ME? HELL NO!! Not happening!! I am fighting for my freedom. I am fighting for my life!! I will never again settle for a life over taken by RA!!

What does complaining do? Nothing. But what does doing something about it do? A lot. Do something about your pain. Dont just sit there and take it every day. You have to really do something about it! Do you really expect to get better by taking thousands of dollars of medications and just sitting on your butt all day? Your body becomes weaker when you don't do anything, therefore you are going to hurt more! Like I said before in my previous blogs, weak muscles mean weak joints and weak joints mean a lot of pain. I know that moving is going to hurt like a son of a beesting. You are going to be stiff, sore and full of tears. I was. But I kept moving. And you know what...the pain got better.

I had a rough day yesterday. Drastic weather changes here in Ohio are common and as we all know the weather affects our joints. But I'm not going to let that one day of major pain ruin my chances for me. I have turned my pain into power! Every step yesterday hurt like a bitch but I didn't get discouraged by it. I didn't let it take control of me again.

Take your pain and turn it into your power. I no longer look at my RA as my weakness, I look at it as my strength. I have taken what I first thought was the the end of the road for me and made my own path. I am pushing through the thorns and moving over the mountains to create my own journey. I have been given a chance to help and inspire people. And i'm never going to take that chance for granted. RA has shown me that I can be greater then I ever thought possible. I can be more stronger both physically and mentally then I ever was before. I am not stopping because of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have a right to my own freedom and the pain is not going to stop me. Yes, it will slow me down...but no way in hell is it going to stop me!!

-Little Wurmie-