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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hidden behind door number 1....

     I find myself often reflecting of late on why it is that so many of us with chronic diseases like RA tend to push away confronting challenges and emotions that we face as a direct result of our illness.  At a recent RA support group meeting I found myself coming face to face (or door to door) with this exact predicament. 
     I think it is can be traced once again to the unpredictability of RA and our constant desire to have a day that goes EXACTLY as we planned...meaning no pain, no unexpected symptoms.  I have been facing a full frontal three (maybe even four) pronged attack lately.
     My flaring that has been going strong since decreasing my corticosteroid to 2MG in August is still raging...shoulders and wrists and hands.  Not a day, not one single day has been without pain in several months....and added to that is back pain which I never had before and am completely unsure why it has joined the party. Is that wearing me down?  More than I realized.
     Number two on the hit list is my continuous and still to be determined stomach/digestive issues.  Test after test have revealed lots of things I DON'T have but no answers....eating is an ordeal and this has been going on with little relief for 6 months.
     Finally I recently found out I have surprise really given all the risk factors I have.  I am now on Fosamax, reluctantly.  Will be having a lengthy discussion with my Rheumatologist at our next visit on all of these issues to see what are options are. 
     Oh and I forgot to mention that although my foot surgeries went well I do have to have one of the screws removed from the left one next month as it is rubbing painfully against my shoes to the point I am limited to one type of shoe at the moment.

     So you are probably wondering what all of this has to do with pushing away emotions.  I have come to realize that  often times in order to not completely devolve into depression and self pity I kind of "keep the door closed" as a strategy to keep on going.  It is so much easier to ignore than acknowledge....but...that begins to wear on us and eventually we have to open the door a crack and see what might emerge....

     Last night at our RA Support Group I "opened that door" a crack and thanks to the wonderfully supportive folks who share RA I was able to let the some of those feelings/fears/anger emerge.  It was tremendously validating.  

     I had been "keeping that door locked" for months in the hopes it would magically get "cleaned out" but the truth is that is not going to happen.....I needed to share my frustration, my concerns, my anger...
     I began to throw open lots of doors and it felt very liberating to not hold it all in.  Many of us with RA are so conscious of not wanting to vent or burden friends and family with a constant refrain of the pain and problems we face that we bury them deep inside.  Not a good idea!  The hugs, both literally and figuratively, that I got from my fellow RA Support group members were more healing than any medications or other treatments have been for months!
     They let me know that now that those "doors" have been flung open I can take the time to rest...body and mind....what a gift..