Thursday, October 27, 2011
So...I think I may finally be done with testing for awhile and I could not be happier! As much as I needed to figure out what was going with my stomach, etc. I was not looking forward to this latest round of testing which involved both a colonoscopy and endoscopy. Thankfully it all went well despite my worries. Best of all the tests showed no signs of an ulcer. Instead I have a hiatal hernia.
This is a pretty simple diagram of what it is. Suffice it to say that I don't need surgery and it fully explains my nausea, chest pains and reflux. Treatment is pretty much the same as what you do for GERD....or surgery, which is not recommended for me at this time as the doctor believes mine is treatable with life style changes and medications (which I already take). That was very happily received news!
I had begun feeling better while we were away and as I discussed in my last blog post, I am working to reduce stress to go along with my new attitude about exercise and my activity choices. Reducing stress and slowing down my pace is not easy for me. I tend to go at 100 miles and hour and in fact, have always thrived doing just that. I needed to learn to walk, not run through my life.
This may be the most difficult strategy yet for me to add to my RA tool box. But, I know that in the long run (pun intended) I will be better off mentally and by extension physically, if I can assimilate this into my daily life. I am often reminded by my family, friends and co-workers that I need to "slow down" so I know that it must be pretty evident that I tend to overdo.
So, the last few days I have really started to do just that. Now most people who have been around me may not have noticed but I truly have changed my pace and more importantly my attitude. I am no longer over committing myself each day to the point that when I get home I am exhausted and too tired to enjoy the remainder of the day. By just stepping back a bit and not overextending my time I am seeing a big difference! I am waking up more relaxed and ready to start my day. I am finding that by being more selective and measured about what I am doing each day, I am actually being more effective overall in what I am accomplishing! By simply stopping for a moment through out the day and "taking a breath" I am reducing stress, which is really what this is all about.
Funny how something so simple can lead to something so profound. I will admit that this week I was "tested" in more than just the physical sense. This was a particularly busy week at work and one that was not short on stressful and demanding situations. However, because of my new found commitment to "slow down and breathe" I was not only able to handle the pressure but I felt a lot more effective and actually enjoyed the challenge! I feel like a thousand pound weight has been lifted from my shoulders (and boy is that nice for someone with RA!).
I find myself smiling more, breathing deeper, sleeping better, handling the daily demands of RA better and that is what I continue to strive for each and every day. I know that I will likely slide back into the old habits now and again and with the holidays just around the corner it will be a big challenge. But I am up for it and with my RA under control at the moment I think now is the perfect time to really commit to my new found approach. Once again I am adding to my RA management toolbox...which is actually getting more and more complete with each lesson I learn. I can really have a full and rich life filled with joy and beauty, not pain, frustration and stress. Mission accomplished.