I was 27 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. At that time, I didn’t realize the impact this disease would have on my life. The disease was relentless and attacked every joint in my body. I wake up with chronic pain on a daily basis. Many times, I wondered how I could survive another day of the same suffering and disability
Fortunately, I’ve learned it’s possible to live a full and productive life despite having rheumatoid arthritis. Attitude makes all the difference. It’s taken time, but I now believe it’s a gift that’s caused me to see life in a new way.
I’ve learned to embrace myself as I am—I am still the same person despite the disease. I am not “Scott who has rheumatoid arthritis” but rather “Scott”, a healthy person with some challenges I have to face daily. This disease has certainly changed my body, but I still see its beauty. My body can do a lot.
Regardless of the burden you bear, it is possible to rise above and live the life you dream for yourself.
For those experiencing arthritis, the most powerful treatment is movement. Chronic pain reduces movement; as a result, your body will gradually weaken, increasing the pain. Over a long period of time the important muscles in your body will atrophy. To combat this, maintain an appropriate and healthy exercise program. Hold reasonable expectations while consistently increasing the time you engage in movement each week. This may include walking or yoga, for instance. Over a period of months, the intractable pain will become manageable.
Remember, attitude plays an important role. You have control over certain things. You can practice healthy habits such as a balanced diet, weight reduction, and mindfulness. Never underestimate the power you have to control the outcome of this disease.
My life has been better because I choose to live through rheumatoid arthritis.Yours can be, too. You can master how you perceive pain. You choose whether the pain will take away the joy in your life. It doesn’t have to; you can push through the pain and choose a full life. With mindfulness, attitude, and exercise, you can largely control it. You can also harness incredible motivation and resilience.