RA is a life changer. When I was diagnosed, I thought I was too young and that RA was for older people like my grandmother. I’m certain many other RA patients had the same thoughts when diagnosed. Then the pain and reality set in and I’ll admit the first couple years were a struggle. Took me a little while to figure out how best to manage my life with RA and I’m going to highlight three tips that have helped me get to be a person who’s life is minimally affected by RA.
- Learn everything you can. For me, that was reading on the internet, reading books, and reading blogs. This is how I connected with others that had RA. I learned how they managed to live their lives – whether it was with little interruption or great changes. I put everything in the vault for future use. If I hadn’t read, I wouldn’t have realized there was an injectible form of Metho, which is the one medication change that has had the most impact on my RA still to this day. I also wouldn’t have met some wonderful online friends with RA.
- Attitude. I say attitude is everything. I say Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it. That’s the greatest lesson I learned from a decade of therapy. It’s all on me. I can face each day in misery or I can squeeze joy out of small things – like a beautiful sunset, or a phone call from the right person. I have really learned to not sweat the small stuff. I urge others with RA to understand that there is very little we can control, beyond our own reactions to what happens to us. You can’t control everyone and everything around you, you can only control your response.
- Balance. I use this term alot when I talk about my RA. I have to plan life events carefully. I cannot work my full time job and go out several evenings during the week. If I have functions after work, one, maybe two per week is about all I can manage. I need down time on the weekends, and I also need to be sure that I get my walks in 5 or 6 days a week. I have to keep moving – mobilize my joints and stay lubricated.
These may seem like little tips, but they’re part of my mantra on life with RA.