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Sunday, May 1, 2011

There is no cure but....

     Not long after the onset and firm diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis I knew that there was no "cure" for RA.  And I did ask, and read, and try to find out why not.  But once I really understood the autoimmune nature of RA, I knew it was not going to happen.  So, when you finally digest that wonderful morsel you have to take stock and consider what else is there? Well, the fact is, you can live a very productive, satisfying, happy life despite having a progressive disease. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Is it worth the fight? Absolutely yes.  
     First step - accept that you are still fundamentally the same person, maybe even mentally stronger, than you were the day before you were told you have RA.  
     Secondly, although you cannot control the disease in its entirety, you can control the treatment you get, the exercise commitment you make, the diet you eat, the day to day things you do for enjoyment, the people you surround yourself with.
     Third, embrace the notion that RA can be treated.  Is it easy? Not at all and because of the nature of the disease, you will likely develop a tolerance to a medication after a time and have to start a new one but that is all part of managing the disease.  
     When you hear the word remission with regard to RA it usually does not mean that the disease is entirely gone or "cured" but rather that it is "clinically" quiet as I like to think of it.  It just is not shouting at you at the moment.  There is a clinical way that Rheumatologists declare that your RA is in remission at any given time that has to do with protocols that include how long you are stiff in the AM, how much pain, swelling, etc. exists, and so on but I am not going to get that technical here.  Suffice it to say that although I have been in mild remission many times it never seems to last and that is one of the biggest psychological challenges I face.       Each time I am doing really well, I almost believe that the RA is gone for good! Only to have a knee or a hip or a shoulder or all three become stiff and painful again.  I have learned to roll with that but without a doubt it still remains one of the biggest emotional hurdles I deal with.  
     Finally, I had to come to terms with taking medications, lots of medications and I really hated that.  Very tough.  Having never had anything more than an occasional flu, I was not a person that liked pills, let alone some of the other fun things I now have to take.  And there are a bevy of potential side effects, that frankly, are pretty scary to see in a list of potential side effects. But the alternative was a life of pain, disability, and a significantly shorter life span than what you already are going to have thanks to the RA so I sucked it up and said OK lets examine the options and go from there....and so I did. 
Hug someone you love today (or your pet) and laugh!!!

1 comment:

wlboucher said...

I hear you. I was dx'd at the young age of two and no nothing but living with pain 24/7 and try to be positive. I have had all my knuckels replaced back in high school and so far only one ankle replaced (that needs to be redone), I've had both hips replaced just a year ago. Ontop of that my husband and I have two beautiful children. One biological (Ethan 9 yrs old) and our daughter (Katya - Katherine 4 yrs old) we just adopted from Ukraine last spring. So yes, I did marry my high school sweetheart at 19 and had the dream of children. RA wouldn't stop me!! I wouldn't let it. I'm 37 now and we've been through alot together. Please go to and go to Discussions and Scroll till you find David and Wendy Boucher of Mont Vernon, NH needs your nominations, our story is heartfelt! Please read what others are writing to nominate our family for a makeover here in NH. Can you help us pass this on? I wish you a painfree day!!

Many hugs coming your way,

Wendy Boucher