The elephant made me think of the circus of course and those vintage posters I love to look at. It also makes me think of this successful strategy that got me through many years of gloom with more optimism and some very bright spots. That deliberate attempt to create more anticipation in my life helped me through some tough years.
I would also say that RA is the "elephant in the room' for many of us. It takes up so much space in our lives that we would rather use another way.
Getting a diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis is a bit like being shot from a cannon - it's scary and a huge shock coming out of the
cannon and you can't be sure how the landing will go for you. The diagnosis may be only the beginning of a different and more difficult phase of your life. Hopefully you will be one of the people who can achieve remission fairly fast. To do this you need to see a rheumatologist soon after your symptoms appear and respond well to medications. This now happens far more frequently than when I was diagnosed.
People talking about your illness may say "Look at that brave girl and her amazing exploits dealing with a serious illness" (at the best) but it's a lot like trying to tame a wild beast and you never know when it will turn on you. It's important to keep practicing the measures that keep it under control for you. You can't turn your back on an opponent like this.
Keep your eyes on the tigers.
One thing we all do with RA is juggle. Medical appointments, doctors, family, fatigue, pain, work and worry about the future. That's a serious amount of stress to deal with. I would like to cultivate a teflon personality so that none of the stress would stick to me. The flip side would be the velcro personality which sounds like bad idea.
In this article about the brain though there is a statement that the brain is velcro for negative experiences - they stick and good memories are easily forgotten, so we need to work harder to overcome the negative and make more good memories. Some ways to do this are through positive emotions and cultivating the "relaxation response", which includes humor as Kelly Young aka RAWarrior says,. Auntie Stress has a good post about kindness here. That's another way to lower stress. She has a lot of ideas and solutions to lower stress.
Since this is a circus it's no surprise to see the next act involve great skill and agility. RA is a balancing act and with the feet I have now that is literally true. I walk very carefully now.
Over the years so many people in the know, like physios and moderators in Arthritis Self Management courses have suggested that exercise in a warm pool would benefit me. I believe it but the energy expenditure equation keeps me from doing it. By energy equation I mean this. The time to put on my bathing suit, dress, drive to the pool, park, undress and shower and then to do all that over again in reverse just does not seem to be worth the effort for only 1/2 hour of exercise. Maybe if it were this much fun I would do it.
Madame Yucca looks like an amazing woman. I'll never be that strong but I do try to maintain strength by just doing simple isometric (muscle tightening exercise) and I have been doing Arthro-Pilates for years now with Lori Weisbrod. I love exercise that you can do lying down.
Once you have damaged joints, even if the other symptoms are controlled, the mechanical effects of the damage will continue.
When I was working my job was so interesting that I was not thinking much about pain for large periods of time. I used work to keep the RA from taking over even though I had to adapt. Now that I have retired I find blogging is an enjoyable occupation. Creative outlets are good for the soul, no matter what you produce, from books to baby clothes to beautiful pictures. I totally forgot the RA when I was looking for these circus posters.
This blog post is part of a carnival. Please visit all the posts in the carnival. Here's the topic and a link.
How Do You Keep the Disease from Taking Over?