Having RA has taught me a lot of things and I just want to make a list in appreciation of the journey that I have been on. And I want to share it with you! :)
RA has taught me:
To slow down: Sometimes the pain actually causes me to have to slow down. At one point I stopped being angry at how slow I moved and I started enjoying the slower pace. Now I am moving fast again, and I need to remember to slow down the pace! It's much better slow. To appreciate friends and family: My friends and family have been so kind, thoughtful, loving and supportive over the years. They understand how hard the pain can be on me and they take care of me. I am forever in debt to them. I owe them all lots of love and hugs and kisses! Thank you! To love my body: see below To appreciate all that my body has done for me: Thinking about how hard my immune system fights against the lyme bacteria, the candida, the staph and all the other chronic infection really gives me an appreciation for my body. Plus, my heart never skips a beat and I am alive! The least I can do in return is treat it well and give it good nutrition to keep up the good work! To take care of my body by feeding it well and relaxing when I need to: I've learned to treat my body like it is sick. Because it is. Ignoring that fact gets a lot of people with chronic illness into more trouble. If you had the flue, you would lay down and rest. Well, I have RA which is worse than the flue, so I need to lay down and rest + eat well + love myself + take medicinal herbs + spend time with loving friends and family + breath deeply + relax + laugh + relax + relax +relax. You get the point! About my body and how it works: I pay so much more attention to how the different parts of my body move. I also feel much more connected to my digestion and how I respond to different foods. To be a better friend: It's hard to stay in touch with friends when it's hard to keep scheduled dates! But learning to stay in touch by other means and show them your friendship is still there in other ways, like a kind email, a card in the mail, a voice message while they are at work, etc etc. The importance of good communication: telling my family how I am feeling and how they can help me if I am having a rough day. Asking for what I need and showing my appreciation verbally. Explaining my thoughts and symptoms to others who don't understand was difficult but has become easier with time and with my increased love for myself.
Plus, it's taught me:
How to be a better sister
How to be a better daughter
How to be more loving and forgiving
What compassion really means and how to be compassionate
How to connect with what is important to me
How to live in a way that makes me happy
How to listen to myself and fix emotional and physical issues before they become problems
How to cook healthy food
How to grow and forage for healthy foods
What healthy food really is
How to respect others
Okay, that's enough for now. What has RA taught you?