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.