My first journal entry on Daily Strength: Aug 8, 2007

To those of you who wake up every morning in pain, or sit for a few minutes and have trouble getting up……or feel weak, tired…. depressed…….. or have people who don’t really understand……… to those of you who keep trying everything you can to get rid of your flare, hoping to just get back to your normal self……….. and to those of you who are saddened that you can’t do the things you use to do……..like pick up a child, or open up that bottle of water, or take off your bra. Yes, there are days I can, but plenty of days that I can’t. And to those of you that read online things like, “arthritis is possibly caused by poor diets, lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyle…etc.” and get frustrated because you exercise everyday, eat healthfully and always have, etc…………………

I can relate………and, I want to hear from you!!!

I’m certainly not going to loose hope that I can’t get back a semi normal lifestyle. Plus, with medical advancements, you just never know.

But for now, I continue on my journey wanting to hear from all of you……..in our quest to improve the life we have and to share with each-other R.A. which I truly believe no one understands until you have it.

For instance, I love to exercise and I always have. When I exercise I do feel better. But during a time when I’m not having a flare……..I still can’t do….say… yoga. There are just simply things I can not do. I can’t bend my wrists like I use to……and I’ve lost a lot of strength. When I’m not in a full blown flare, I excersize as much as possible while I can. When I am going through a flare (which I am now) and just so you know, I’ve been on prednisone for 8 months………and now I’m on methotrexate for the first time as well as still on the pred. I’m having of course nausea and hair loss. It sucks and I’m not sure I really want to be on this medicine. At first I thought I did, but I just don’t know anymore…….even though I don’t have any better ideas. But anyway, exercise baffles me. Because now that I’m flaring again hard core, I’m still going to the gym. When I get there it takes all of my effort to get myself moving. But once I start moving, it gets a bit better……and continues to improve slightly (never like it use to) but enough that I’m feeling more confident and happy. The moment I stop…..like literally take a step off the elliptical, I feel as though I’m right back to normal again, meaning pain and stiffness, and it takes all of me to get myself out of the gym and back in the car. Sometimes I have to pull on my legs to get them up on the elliptical.

How many of you have tripped on your way into the shower because it’s too hard to lift your legs? Or how about…..how many of you have worried about your driving skills now that it’s difficult to turn your head and the steering wheel? Any of this sound familiar?

On my last day to drink for a long time which was Sat when I went to this amazing wedding. I drank too much of course, champagne, etc. I exercised that day already so I could feel better in the evening. I took prednisone and plenty of pain killers. I know, I know, terrible on my liver. I didn’t start Methotrexate until last night which was on Doctor’s advice………he knew I’d be bingeing on sat. Anyway, my point: So there I was at the wedding, tipsy, dancing, and having a great time…..the most limber and energetic I had been in a while. And a woman I know who is a friend of mine and knows of my R.A………we were walking partners and with my last flare I had to stop the early mornings… Anyway she said, mockingly, “Your rheumatoid isn’t bothering you now is it?” and it felt so……….you know, like you must be faking this sort of thing.

O.k. now you heard me vent. Ahhhh, this is what a journal is all about.

The Secret

This evening I watched the secret, the movie. I found it compelling. I had been wanting to read the book but never got around to buying it.

Tonight was one of those nights where things felt like they aligned. It was if the world was saying, “you’re on the right path.” For instance, my brother had forgotten the name of a restaurant and sort of found himself lost in his quest to locate it by just driving in the general area. Sure enough however, we found it. It was a beautiful place…roaring waves to listen to and look at as the city of Newport lit up the night.

I expected the secret to be what it was, which for me was an inspiration. I’ve always loved self help books and self help tapes. I once listened to a tape read by a woman who’s voice had that calming effect. What I got most from that tape was figuring out what success meant for you. On that audio tape for instance, there was a story about a woman who discovered that in order for her to feel successful, she needed to be able to take her dog into work. She ended up quitting her job and she found just that….a job that let her enjoy having her dog at her feet while she worked at her computer. This story meant something to me and that was success was different for different people.

The Secret on the other hand was a nice refresher on thinking positively, emotionally getting yourself there and asking the world for what you want (mentally). There are parts of the secret that I think could be described a little more fully or delved into a little more. For instance, their attitude on health. Although I do believe that the mind is capable of fully healing the body, even walking through walls for that matter if we were to use it’s complete capacity instead of the small percentage that we do use, I think some illnesses like RA, MS and Parkinson’s for example, are so involved….meaning that either our body is attacking itself at all times, or there are missing chemicals in our brain, that trying to heal our bodies would literally take every second of every day, for possibly an extremely long time before any change was noticed.

What I do believe however, is that by asking the Universe for what you want, you can for the most part get it. For instance, when I first got RA and started taking chemotherapy drugs and Prednisone, a steroid, I thought to myself, “There has to be a better option! There has to be an option that doesn’t have these side effects and doesn’t wreck my immune system, and doesn’t leave me prone to illnesses.” In fact, I didn’t focus on the negative but rather researched as much as I had time for on my quest for learning about my disease. It was probably half a year into it that I started taking more supplements. I read more and more about how different supplements worked in helping with inflammation. I was interested in experimentation, that was certain and I figured if I didn’t give it my full effort, I would never know.

And of course what I attracted in the process was other people who knew that I was looking for an alternative solution. I was also on the lookout in my support groups for ideas. So I think just as the Secret promises, my energy was out there and so were my positive thoughts that I would find the solution I was looking for. Now that I’ve figured out (for the most part) the solution for my RA……and I say this meaning that it’s MY solution and may not work for you, and I also realize that our bodies change over time, so I may need something in addition to it in the future. Or maybe I’ll get lucky and never need anything else. Regardless, I’m now on a quest to make my Dad’s symptoms with Parkinson’s less. And I hope of course throughout all of this, that the solutions I find help other people. And I also hope that people write in about the solutions they have found. If it weren’t for other people, I would not be on the alternative solutions that I take today and most likely would not be feeling as great as I do.

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