Moving On!

I was always fascinated by my children when they were toddlers and everything about  life was new to them.  On a walk, we would stop and observe ant hills or pretty leaves until they felt they had learned enough and then we moved on.   The ants and the pretty leaves were still there and the kids would occasionally find interest in them again, but there were so many other things in life to keep them busy that they didn’t keep returning to the same interests over and over. 

When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis ten years ago, I was like my children, completely fascinated with something new.  I spent years, rather than minutes, observing, researching, and experiencing everything under the sun about rheumatoid arthritis.  Sadly at times, it became my life rather than a simple fascination which is to be expected since it does make a huge impact on one’s life. 

For the last few years, rheumatoid arthritis has been kind to me.  I have had flares here and there, but overall, things have been good.  Perhaps that is why my interest in RA has been slowly fading away.  In early December, I was stressed and mentally tired.  My body gave me a strong message that I needed a break.  A huge flare arrived that is just now retreating.  While my mind needed time to rest and I was fortunate to have the time off, I realized something pretty awesome about where I am with my rheumatoid arthritis. I have moved on.  Like my children with an ant hill, I have found rheumatoid arthritis somewhat mundane.  I have grown out of the need to find more information, to find a way out of this crazy disease.  I have experienced so many flares in the last ten years that I know the cycle.  A flare comes and a flare GOES. I can share with my family and close friends that I am in pain, but the overwhelming need to talk, share, or learn more  just feels complete.  I can respect myself when a flare is active by taking time to be gentle with myself, but otherwise, I feel like my mind and heart have moved on to other interests. I have two teenage children and a fantastic husband who like spending time with me.  I have a job that I love.  Plus, at 46, I have seen enough family and friends go through ups and downs to know that rheumatoid arthritis has been one of the hardest things for me to deal with, but that life will continue to hand out difficult times just as it will deal out pleasant ones.  I feel content with this flare knowing that it was a flare that was acknowledged, but didn’t take my focus away from the pleasant time I have had over my holiday break.  It is time to move on.   Each person should experience every step of the journey, but there are too many things in life to keep me busy and that I want to experience to keep rheumatoid arthritis at the forefront.    

13 thoughts on “Moving On!

  1. As always, you've provided some great insights. Being diagnosed does tend to send you in a whirlwind of investigation that can continue for years until, to paraphrase you, you get to the point that RA isn't the focal point in your life. That tends to happen when you've had it long enough to learn the cycles (as you have) and/or the treatment regimen is keeping the disease at bay (which I hope also applies to you). Thanks for the post. May you and yours have a great New Year.

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  2. I'm glad you posted, Cathy. I've been wondering how you were and what you were up to these days. It's good that you've been able to accept the RA and move right along with your life, and I hope that your flares remain few and far between, and bearable. You're right, of course. They come, but they always go, too.

    Best wishes to you as you prepare to launch your baby birds into the world, and as you and your husband continue to enjoy your time together with love and companionship. Sending a warm hug your way. 🙂

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  3. Funny how these things work. I have found the same thing with a chronic illness that tends to fluctuate in my body. I remember the day I realized how I had moved away from the worry, the research, the daily, thought of it all. It has also been interesting to see my adult daughters struggle with my new found freedom from my disease. They have commented a few times that it seems like I have “given” up”….I explain to them that is quite the opposite. I am “doing” more than ever and despite the flares..I am more at peace with my body and have learned to praise it more for what it does do, instead of feeling defeated for what is cannot do at times. It is what it is. I think my daughters are finally seeing that. It is quite a process, huh?
    Go forth Me Lady….have great adventure days and mundane ones. Glad you posted,
    Ronda

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  4. Ronda, I am so happy that you have come to this conclusion too. It isn't that we have given up, but that the energy can't keep going there. This transformation does allow us to do more for ourselves, as you said. Thanks for sharing your experience. I needed to hear it.

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  5. What an uplifting post, despite your having a flare over Christmas. I hope that with the new calendar, your RA has settled down.

    You deserve big applause for a number of things. Making the connection that your stress was likely contributing to your flare-up. (We're on the same wave length – am in the process of writing my last posts for A Rheumful of Tips and I was saying something along those lines.) Also, for recognizing that you have RA, but it doesn't have to have you! There are other things in life – you are so much more than your disease. (I know this, because I've had the pleasure of meeting you!) 🙂

    Happy New Year, Cathy!

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  6. Hello Marianna! Once again, we seem to have so much in common. 🙂

    New posts will be missed from your blog, but luckily it will continue on the internet for people to continue getting wonderful tips from you.

    Happy New Year to you!

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  7. Karen

    Cathy, I've quite looked up to you as I learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and what it means for me. I'm still on my unending quest for information – but it has already gone beyond RA to living more mindfully and meaningfully. Last year was the year of adopting the paleo/primal diet, and this year I'm moving towards stress management, yoga and meditation. I also have the goal of doing the Auto Immune Protocol of the Paleo Diet this year, to fine tune my diet. The fantastic thing about all of this is that I have renewed the insatiable quest for knowledge and information that I had while in school – but that had been absent the last 10 years of my life. For me, it is still a struggle to understand – since getting RA under control in August 2012, I have had my first “flare” go on now for the past 10 weeks. I like hearing from you and others that they come and they go, because some days it feels like I will never get that wedding ring back on my finger. But yet, I am able to play with my kids; I can carry them up the stairs and throw them in the air – so it is not all bad, and I am reminded that I have survived worse. I am much more appreciative of the life and experiences that I have, I am so grateful for gaining an understanding of the link to diet (food is more than just calories!), and I am grateful for you and your blog. Karen

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  8. I think this is something you learn when you have lived with RA for a long time. You have to go through about 10 years of it to realize that it ebbs and flows. Before that, it all feels very desperate every time the pain starts.

    So happy you got there.

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  9. Great post and I'm happy for you being there. I think Lene hit it on the head also. I have slowed my posts down on my blog and am focusing more time on Donna and my riding right now. It just happens that this is, apparently, the wrong winter to try to focus on riding. We've had snow/ice and sub freezing temps every week this winter.

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