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Monday, January 23, 2012

A Fresh Start

     So for much of the month of January I have been toying with how to make 2012 better and different from 2011 in terms of my RA management.  I think it is important to understand that in many cases different does not always mean better...and yet for me in this new year, it does.  

     I believe that when you have a chronic disease you simply have to adjust and adapt and, well, do things differently if you intend to move forward in a productive way.  By taking on the challenge of doing things differently it truly can lead to something exceptional in the way you manage RA.  I have no intention of continuing down the same old road without diverting my trip.  That just takes you to the same place over and over again.
     Not only does that bore me (I like different "scenery"), it actually is a prescription for problems to arise with our RA management.  We have to be not only willing to seek out "new paths" we have to make it happen.  If we just sit by and wait for a new road to open up we may be waiting a long, long time...time filled with frustration, pain and regret.
     I cannot emphasize enough how critical it is for us to embrace the effort we have to make to start down a new path of better management, whatever that may entail.  Is this easy?  Absolutely NOT!  If it were we would not need our Support Team and we all know that is not true.  Change can be difficult in the best of circumstances, let alone when you are handling the never ending uncertainty of RA.  There are times when we just want to complain and have that be enough!

But then reality sets in and we realize that we must be willing to change or the truth is that when you have RA, going down the same road means the disease will get progressively worse.  And that is the ultimate reason to start fresh!
What do I mean by that?  Well, as new treatments are developed and released and more research is done on RA it is  of paramount importance that we stay abreast of what is going on.  In addition, we need to be vigilant about our health beyond RA so that we can be clear headed and as "healthy" as possible outside of our RA.  And finally, we need to be willing to, no beyond that, we have to look forward to the new beginning that a fresh start affords us.  The possibilities for positive change are truly endless and if we do not avail ourselves of them we are mismanaging our disease, not an outcome we want!
So as we move into 2012 we need to learn to see things the way they are not the way WE are...those are often times totally different and not always compatible notions.  That said, when we learn to tell the difference we will be better managers of our RA!  
Finally, a wonderful poem about the New Year and fresh starts!  Enjoy!

New Year's

by Dana Gioia

Let other mornings honor the miraculous.
Eternity has festivals enough.
This is the feast of our mortality,
The most mundane and human holiday.

On other days we misinterpret time,
Pretending that we live the present moment.
But can this blur, this smudgy in-between,
This tiny fissure where the future drips

Into the past, this flyspeck we call now
Be our true habitat? The present is
The leaky palm of water that we skim
From the swift, silent river slipping by.

The new year always brings us what we want
Simply by bringing us along—to see
A calendar with every day uncrossed,
A field of snow without a single footprint.

"New Year's" by Dana Gioia, from Interrogations at Noon. © Graywolf Press, 2001.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Revisiting the past has benefits!

       In looking over some of my posts I noticed that at times I have revisited a previous concept.  I really like the notion of pulling out an issue, concern or thought from a past post and delving a little deeper into it.  It confirms for me the value of re-reading my own blog posts over time so that I can pull out those concepts that might warrant further discussion.  
       Plus, just seeing it with "fresh eyes" and the different perspective that the passage of time provides can make for a whole new take on a subject that I have touched on before.
     So what does this have to do with RA management?  Well, the very nature of our disease makes it "different" at every turn.  This "newness" means that something we may have believed was right or good months or years ago may simply not be the case any longer!  Like a food that has passed its expiration date, we may need to "shop" again for the latest and greatest tools for managing RA.
     Don't be afraid to re-think something - be it medication choices, exercise options and so on.  To not re-examine what you are doing to manage RA can mean that your toolbox will soon loose its effectiveness. Instead of being your indispensable friend it can actually prevent you from making good choices.  
     Just like you trade in your car for newer model, so too you need to "upgrade" your RA toolbox now and then.  That means staying up to date on the latest research by reading periodicals, online articles, other blogs you subscribe to, etc. to stay up on what is happening with RA and chronic disease in general.  
     Another source is your "support team".  They are often able to assist you by either providing you directly with valuable information for your toolbox or by suggesting how you can access the most current information, research and trends available concerning RA.
     And again I go back to the notion of not fearing to re-visit something that may have seemed really "out there" at one point.  Perhaps your circumstances have changed.  Whatever  the reason, it is important when managing a chronic disease to keep an open mind.
       In life, being open to new ideas is not only desirable but critical to having a satisfying, successful journey and so it is with RA.