“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings,” so goes a politically incorrect reference to opera singers.
As you can see by this image, the fat lady has slimmed down considerably—80 pounds, to be exact—and although this blog is soon coming to a close, you can still read my posts over on Auntie Stress Café (ASC) – no singing, though. At least, not on either of my blogs! As for the weight, yo-yo would be a good word to use. Although, in recent years I’ve either maintained or watched the numbers on the scale decrease. But that’s a story for a whole other blog.
Incidentally, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis about a year before that picture was taken. It’s been a long journey, fraught with tears, pain, sadness, contentment, laughter, disappointments, satisfaction, worry, uncertainty, frustration, anger, depression, loneliness, calm, joy, peace, … in other words, life!
We all have a story to tell, secrets to keep, gifts to give and love to share. A Rheumful of Tips (ART) is my gift to you.
So, on my second-to-last post I’d like to share a few final thoughts that didn’t make it into full-blown posts.
Always check your prescription when you get home. Recently, I discovered that although the medication was correct, the dosage was 5 times greater than prescribed!
Admittedly, this one doesn’t have the potential for dire consequences, but it is annoying. The phone rang once, twice, and then stopped before I could get it. It turns out that it was supposed to be a door-to-door delivery; unfortunately, the driver was in too much of a hurry to wait. I promptly emailed the company and got a standard response that might as well have said, “Yeah, we care, but don’t expect us to make any improvements.” I also mentioned it when I picked up the parcel. “We hear the same thing from seniors and many people who have disabilities.” Well, if that is the case, why aren’t the drivers told to wait a little longer? Have you experienced anything similar?
Adjust your attitude
Recently, I came across two blog posts that resonated with me. Both these women have made a decision, one that demonstrates an incredible capacity to live well, in spite of the mercurial nature of rheumatoid arthritis. The sooner you can come to terms with your disease—and it does take time—the better off you will be. I hope you’ll enjoy the posts on Beating Rheumatoid Arthritis and The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo as much as I did.
Keep track of when you have your flare-ups. Is there a pattern? What is going on in your life. Specifically, how are you responding to the events that are swirling around you? Perhaps you notice that you always flare at holidays? Several things could be at play. You may associate your holidays with past ones like ‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly…Or Is It?
The downtime may signal the crash that is preceded by months of high cortisol levels. Remember that cortisol is cumulative. You may have “held on”, until it was more “convenient” to get sick. How many of you have become ill while on vacation? It’s important to see if there is a pattern. If there is, you can be proactive and make some changes.
Although the stress techniques I teach are not meditative in nature, they do induce mindfulness, which as this one study shows, proves beneficial in the extinguishing of those inflammatory fires that are all to common in a rheumatoid disease flare-up. Call or email if you’d like to find out more about how I can help you help yourself. Programs are only five weeks long – the effects last a lifetime!
Do what you can
I was glad to have read an enlightening interview on Rheumablog because I learned more about the lovely Lene Andersen. She is one smart woman who has had more than a few about-turns in her life. Like her shifts into the field of policy development, then again into writing. I was fortunate to be graced by a visit from Lene during her book junket.
Not everyone is cut out for advocacy work. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference, though. You could write a letter when you see a wrong that can be righted, making it easier for all concerned. It could be as simple as letting the manager of the store know that the handicapped door isn’t functioning. Bring the business owner’s attention to your needs by providing a link to this post: Open for Business. You might find your skills better put to use in another arena, such as the one that Annette McKinnon has chosen. Work behind the scenes for an advocacy group, if the public eye is not for you. Each voice counts – regardless of how you use your voice, or your hands, feet or heart – you do what you can.
One thing I know is that I would never have had the courage to write this blog had it not been for the growth I’ve experienced from my stress transformation. I believe that when you feel better, you do better.