All I Want For Christmas is...

...a new, healthy body! Okay, fine, that's not very realistic. Well, other than a new, RA-free body, here's a little list of some other RA and health things I would like to have for this Christmas this year.

1. Better self-care habits.

Or maybe I should start with just practicing self-care itself on a regular basis, rather than as an occasional fluke--which is what I feel like I do most of the time. I know there are so many things that I could and should be doing better that would improve my RA and health all around: getting more and better sleep, exercising, giving myself permission to rest and relax, trying out new or other relaxation and pain relief techniques (meditation, yoga), and a lot of other things. So please, Santa, give me the gift of learning how to successfully practice self-care.

2. Patience.

Patience is often difficult for me, and I've written before about what an impatient patient I can be. Ironically, RA invariably forces me to be very patient most of the time: waiting for medications to work, waiting for flare-ups to calm down, waiting an excruciatingly long time to taper off prednisone, waiting for a nurse to call me back, waiting to get in for medical appointments, waiting on the phone with my insurance company, waiting to feel better, and the list goes on. The constant waiting and feeling like my life is perpetually on hold due to my health drives me nuts. I could definitely use more patience.

3. Ice packs!

Ice packs? Don't I have enough of those? I have way too many of them cluttering up my freezer, yes. But not the ones I actually want and need. I want my favorite packs! They're these long, blue mushy ice packs that I got both times I had ankle surgery years ago and now they're falling apart. I also can't figure out where the heck to buy new ones--and I've tried asking several people! So far no other ice packs can compare to the surgery ones. These old, beat-up packs stay colder longer and fit around my feet and ankles better than any others I've tried over the years. This may be a boring gift request, but I would be ecstatic if got some new ones. Electronics? Fancy jewelry? No thanks, just give me ice packs.

4. A massage (or two or three).

I think this is actually something that I keep asking for each year and I never get it. I think my family members just don't know where to go to get one--a reputable one that's good and safe for my RA. I'm not that sure either, I guess. But, if we ever figure it out, the gift of massage would be a wonderful and invaluable one to have. I constantly struggle with this vicious cycle: pain causing tension and tension causing pain. Massage helps relieve my pain and tension and stress so much. Yep, I want one. NOW.

5. Remission.

I realize that remission from my RA is a tall order, but of course, I would be beyond thrilled if I finally got it after 21 years of constant pain and swelling. If total RA remission isn't doable though, I would also be happy just having a break from it--even for just a little while. Or a substantial decrease in symptoms that lasts more than a day. Or "remission" from my long-term prednisone use. Remission from all of the additional illnesses I seem to get struck with regularly due to my compromised immune system would be another wonderful gift. I'd gladly accept any of these.

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