So it has been well over a month since I have wrote a blog. So here is a rather long update on my progress.
Starting the beginning of March my physical therapist told me It was time to start running again. WHAT? I GET TO RUN AGAIN?!?! Something I NEVER thought a person in the medical field would tell me. I was ecstatic. My heart was screaming for joy! I was the most excited I had been in years!
That following week about 5 days before I was set to start running again, my knee swelled up. Major bummer and bump in the road. I had ate a gluten free cookie 2 days prior which had a good amount of sugar in it and it caused my knee to puff up. Sugar and gluten makes my joints do this. Which is why I continue to stay away from them at all costs.
Days turned into weeks and my knee was still puffy. Around March 18 I received a very generous birthday present from a dear friend of mine that changed my life forever and gave my body the extra kick that it needed. She sent me supplements. Yes, supplements. They had worked wonders for her and her RA and she just so happens to be a Triathlete and was up and competing again with the help of these little yet powerful pills. At first I was like, "yeah, they prob wont really do much but why not give them a shot". I'm always suspicious of new things I try, because I never want to get my hopes up. But hey, who knows its always worth a shot.
Within a week I was already seeing a decrease in pain and swelling in my body. How in the heck? Even medications that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars don't work that quickly and these are only $46 a bottle. There had to be a catch right? Nope!
By March 31st I was feeling the best I had felt...well, ever! So while I was visiting my parents I decided to do something I had not done in a very, very, long time. I decided to go for a run.
When I got to the track it was like a flashback to my high school days. I kept having visions of me flying around that last curb with the relay baton in my hand while my legs drove me towards the finish line. I had been there numerous times after I graduated but this time something was different. My body felt different and something was in the air. I could feel my muscles SCREAMING in excitement as I walked out onto the track, almost as if they remembered what we had accomplished there so many years ago. My legs were twitching as if they were telling me "Its time Joanne, its time".
As I started to run, well more like a nice slow jog, I listened to everything my body was telling me. Listening to what my muscles were doing and to what my joints were feeling. And I kept waiting to feel that sting, that burn and even the ache. And it never came. NEVER. I didn't feel a single thing besides my body doing what it was meant to do, run.
I ran a mile that day. The first mile I ran pain free in well over 3 years. A moment I will cherish forever. One of the biggest victories of my life. Running with out the grasp of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
my facial expressions during my training sessions. hahaha :)
Today is now April 27. I have been running and training for almost a month now. Still not feeling any pain when I run, even on pavement. I am running up hills, lifting weights [2 pounds, small but hey I gotta start somewhere] and I am training for my first 5k in 4 years set in mid June. Who would have though right?
I still have days where I feel rougher than others, but that is expected. I feel more muscle pain now than joint pain. I had a MRI done on my right knee, the one that causes all the problems, and it showed NO signs of RA damage. But it did show tendinitis, which is why it swells from time to time. I have been icing it constantly throughout the day, before I run and train and also after. This seems to help keep it under control.
The past week I had a very intense week of running and training. As of right now my knee is a little angry, but it does not hurt. I am taking today and tomorrow off from training to give my body the rest it needs to be able to train again this coming week. I will be taking this week at a lower intensity so I do not over do myself and cause a bump in the road.
Many people doubted me when I started my journey to run again in late November. And then many more people doubted that I would be where I am today when I changed my diet and stopped taking biologics. I myself even had some doubts. But It changed my life. I now feel better than I ever have in the 24 years I have been living. I think clearer, I sleep better, the brain fog is gone, my anxiety is lower than ever before and most importantly, I can run again. The one thing I know I was meant to do.
Training and running with Rheumatoid Arthritis is not easy. What normal people struggle with while being physically active we have to worry about that, and then some...a lot of some. But for me, being an athlete with RA gives me pride. Because not only am I running, I'm showing a disease that it cannot control me anymore. I will not stand down, I will not back off, and I will not let this nasty thing take my life from me. I was born free, and now I have to really fight for that freedom. It does get tiring, but when I back down, it knows it and it does take advantage.
Our bodies are POWERFUL machines, even in the midst of disease. They are made to work with you, not against you. You just have to give it the proper tools to run correctly. You wouldn't expect your vehicle to run very well on terrible low grade gasoline right? Why would you expect your body to run well on terrible, non nutrient dense food? Its common sense.
So with the help of an amazing diet, supplements, chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapy, a dear friend&mentor, and now a coach, I am RUNNING again and living my life the way I was born to...