My Secret Superpower
Superhero movies have become very popular recently. We now even have television shows about heroes with various secret superpowers! Jessica Jones is super strong. Luke Cage is indestructible. Others are incredible smart, agile, and more.
But none of the superheros can beat my secret superpower!
You can’t see it, but it’s constantly happening. You can’t hear it or feel it, yet it is there. It is constantly working and doing its thing… It is inflammation!
Yes, I am super good at inflammation. I have it in every joint. It lives in my sinuses for responding to allergies. It lurks in places even I cannot detect. If anyone ever needs some good, solid inflammation they should come to me. But the problem (or perhaps it is a good thing!) is that I cannot seem to channel it to others. I may be good at producing it, but I’m not good at transferring it.
Unfortunately, I am all too good at inflammation, as my rheumatoid arthritis rattles on despite treatment and work to calm it. I am working on trying to find a good use for my secret superpower, but I admit that I haven’t found one yet.
Coping with RA through humor?
I joke a lot about inflammation as a superpower, because I want it to have some good purpose instead of just as a cause of pain and chronic illness. In reality, a healthy amount of inflammation is beneficial to a body because it signals when something is wrong and needs healing. The autoimmune system gets activated and fights the intruder.
But my superpower is a bit too much—it’s natural inflammation out of whack. It doesn’t stop and only if I am lucky, does it sometimes slow.
In the superhero stories they sometimes explain how they got their superpower and how they learned to control it. I suppose that is also what I have been doing—learning how to control my inflammation or manage it as best as possible. If I could figure out how to “do good” with it, I would!
Managing my super power
But in the meantime, I am working every day to manage my superpower and minimize its effects. If it could be trained, I would learn to harness its energy. If it could be focused, I would use it only when needed. If it could be given, I would transfer it in small, limited doses to help others with healing and fighting disease.
I follow my treatment and take my medication in the hope that this practice will quiet my inflammation, that it will slow the progression of my rheumatoid arthritis. It honestly doesn’t work as well as I would like and I’m constantly looking over the horizon for something better.
I guess having a superpower is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Uncle Ben in Spider-Man says that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” And having lots of inflammation does bring a lot of responsibility! It means a lot of work to maintain health and not always feeling the effort is making a helpful difference.
While having the inflammation superpower is not a path I would have willingly chosen, it is mine and I must follow it. My work is not done as there is more to do for managing my inflammation and a lot more that needs to be explored as far as understanding it, why I have it in abundance, and if anything useful can be done with it. It’s not an easy road, but I am hoping that my inflammation journey eventually helps others better understand it and make this superpower easier to manage in others.
After the past 2+ years, how do you feel about telehealth appointments to manage your RA?