Two years ago this summer I slowly began to struggle with everyday tasks: lifting the baby, getting up off the floor, opening a bottle, buckling a car seat. Eventually my joints swelled to cartoon proportions, preventing me from closing my fists, or wearing tight shoes. I stopped going to the gym because moving my knees was excruciating, and I couldn’t place my wrists on the floor to do downward facing dog in Yoga.
I was eventually diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, given prescription medications which did not give me lasting relief, and told that I would feel like this off and on for the rest of my (shortened, statistically) life. I juice fasted, I eliminated allergenic foods from my diet, and I modified my wardrobe to exclude zippers, buttons, and any but the easiest slip on shoes.
It felt like one day I just woke up not in pain anymore. I’m not sure if that’s exactly how it happened, but I’m not in pain anymore. Twice I’ve climbed out of bed slowly to realize that I’m swollen and stiff, and I steel myself for another several months of immobility, and twice now I’ve been back to normal within days.
Now, two years later, I work out every single day in one form or another. Hiking, kayaking, yoga. I’m doing a program called couch to 5K, which cruelly asks me to run for 90 seconds at a time. Tonight I’m going rollerblading.
The allopathic literature contends, “no one knows what causes Rheumatoid Arthritis”. I don’t accept that. I don’t accept that I am doomed to a daily regimen of pain reliever and a shorter life expectancy just because no one wants to do the legwork to nail down the cause of this disease. I’m just not gonna live like that. I will fight this, and I will win.
and this, a few days later:
September 3, 2007
In a million years I wouldn’t have imagined myself measuring a good day by how far I can open and close my hands, and whether I can lift my baby, or walk through the grocery store.
Not only can I lift my baby, but I can bench press my 5 year old (shut up, I”m small and she’s heavy) and carry my kayak. I can hold plank position for over a minute and I can hike up a (small) mountain in the 95 degree heat of the desert, and I can come out of plow so slowly you can’t even see me move.
I’m calling that a win.