October 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Posted in arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately (although writing very little!) about what ‘acceptance’ of RA means, and also about redefining my idea of ‘normal’. I hadn’t managed, and still haven’t managed in fact, to get my thoughts into words, but I think this afternoon I came as close to ‘acceptance’ as perhaps I ever will.

As I was relaxing in the bath (sorry, probably ‘too much information, especially for those that know me!) and letting my thoughts drift along pretty randomly, I started to think about some of my friends and colleagues: one’s still coping with the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake; one’s recently widowed; one’s, to put it bluntly, losing her marbles; one’s spending this weekend picking up the pieces in her house, since large swathes of the downstairs flooring were dug up on Friday to find a leak.

Good grief, I thought – I’m bloody lucky! I have a loving (and all-round fab) husband, a terrific family (especially the nearest and dearest, including the recent addition of Mrs Mooseface), I have great friends, I enjoy my job, I have time (never enough time of course, but some time) to indulge my passions of messing around with textiles, drawing and pottering about in bits of nature, and although one could always be better off financially, the finances aren’t a complete disaster! The interesting point is that at no point during these thoughts floating over the bubbles did I consider, ‘Yes, but I do have this bloody disease to deal with, so perhaps not so lucky after all.’

It’s not as though things are going great with the RA at the moment either. I wake up every morning in pain, although it often clears for the most part within the hour. I go to sleep most nights in pain. I have pain and stiffness during every day. This is perhaps extra frustrating because for around four months between a flare in March and sometime around August, I felt as though I was pretty much fine, almost symptom free, nearly in remission. And yet, in a way, this on-and-off low-grade (for the most part) pain has just become the norm for me. It’s just another thing to put on one side and live with – and yes, I do appreciate I’m lucky that I can put it on one side at the moment, it’s not so bad that it stops me doing all those things I consider myself lucky for, but what interested me was the fact that it was so far into the normal, everyday that I didn’t even give it a thought when considering other people’s problems and drifting into comparing my life to theirs.

I think I might have once ranted that I will never ‘accept’ this disease, and don’t even mention the word ‘embrace’ in the same breath as rheumatoid arthritis, but perhaps this is acceptance, Penguin-style.



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  1. So true with acceptance and ra. For me as well, there will always be pain and it is just a question of a dull throb or all out full blown pain but it is always there and will always be there. I have come to accept it and move on. And move on I will. That is my greatest challenge…to keep moving and accept that although there are days I may have to fight to keep moving, I will. This is my acceptance of my ra and in so doing I have now been able to once again begin to focus on some lost dreams and to now try and accomplish them. Acceptance is good.

  2. That was a lovely perspective. I think it’s hard whilst in the throes of pain to find perspective you know you are ‘better’ in some ways when one finds one’s thoughts are for someone else other than your body. At least I found it so. I was totally in self absorbed survival mode for a few months of pain then my empathy gene kicked in again thank god. Thinking about others actually makes me feel better. Am new to this and the epiphanies that come with RA.

  3. I like this acceptance. Yay for you that so many great things are happening in your life despite RA.

  4. There’s a real modicum of peace that comes with acceptance, and it applies to just about any negative in our lives which we cannot control or make go away. RA can be a big one. I’ve found that acceptance when it comes to RA is always evolving. Just when I think my RA has become a regular, not-especially-noteworthy part of my life, it changes in one way or another and forces me to wrestle with it all over again. And yet if, like you, I look over the whole of my daily life, I can’t really complain. I’ve got it pretty darned good compared to lots of other people.

    Great post, Penguin. It easily trips the “thoughtful” wire in the mind. 😉

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