Woman swimming towards the prism inside of a magic 8-ball.

Crystal Ball

Do you remember those Magic 8-balls? You know, those massive black balls with the little window that, when you shook it, showed a variety of different answers.

Those things were the be-all, end-all of my middle school days. That 8-ball knew everything. It was the Wizard of Oz. It answered every one of my burning questions with the utmost accuracy. Will I get a good grade on my test? Will I get a puppy? Will my crush talk to me?? 'Yes', 'no', 'try again later' - the suspense of it all could kill me. Those Magic 8-balls were the crystal balls of my youth.

A Magic 8-ball for my RA?

I haven’t seen one of those in decades but I certainly wish I had one now. I often wish for a crystal ball when it comes to navigating my rheumatoid arthritis. Most days, it feel likes I am pushing forward in the complete dark. How I wish for even a 'try again later' answer to my many questions.

So, what are some of the things I would ask this crystal ball? Would I want to see so deep into my future and know exactly how my life turns out? Or, would I stick a little closer to home and find out if I can get out of bed the next day?

Getting hit with the unexpected

My RA has been pretty well managed over the past few months, except a few days ago, without notice, I was hit with a wall of fatigue. I woke up that morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I had energy, I was not in pain, and I was ready to study for a major exam. I ate my breakfast, took my meds, and sipped my coffee. I was PREPARED...

A heads-up would have been helpful

30 minutes into studying, I passed out. Not fainted, just fell asleep. I woke up an hour later, splayed out over my dog. You may remember from a previous article, I am the queen of falling asleep in random places and positions, so this is not abnormal.

Unfortunately, I woke up groggy and uncoordinated and it took another hour to get my bearings. Do you know how much studying I could have gotten done? Do you know how much studying I planned on? A crystal ball telling me that I was going to take an unscheduled cat nap would have been really helpful.

A little predictability with RA challenges

What else would have been helpful?

The answer to this question is actually kind of difficult...What do I want to know?

Maybe when coffee will make me nauseous? Whether I can make it through a full course of antibiotics without turning my innards into outtards (is that a word)?

What about my next flare? There is some research already showing it might be possible to predict a flare. Would I anticipate the flare and plan my days accordingly? Or, would I do my best (and then some) to avoid it altogether?

What if I could anticipate dropping things?

Learning from past situations

It’s funny because that’s the beauty of life unpredictability. The fact we don’t know what’s coming makes it interesting, like one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ books.

But, on the flip side, I feel like my life IS a crystal ball. When thinking about my day I wonder, "Okay, how do I avoid flaring? What care do I need to take to avoid X  Y or Z scenarios?" I may not know the outcome of a situation but I already know how to navigate them. So, I guess the question is: do I even need a Magic 8-ball or do I create my own every day?

What questions would you ask a crystal ball?

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