Moving With RA

I recently moved from Michigan to New York.

It was somewhat of a complicated move because some stuff went to my parents’ in Michigan, some went in a moving box to Upstate New York, and some stuff was both shipped and taken with us on the plane to New York City.

It feels very strange to have my stuff all over the place, but that is what are circumstances require right now.

What didn’t come with me, though, were all of the prescriptions bottles that I had collected since I got sick.  Five and a half years worth of bottles that didn’t seem practical to transport and take up room in a move.

The exhaustion of moving

Moving is both physically and mentally exhausting.  It is a difficult thing to do even if you don’t have RA.

I was living on the third floor of a 90-plus year old building with no elevator, so moving stuff out was a chore, to say the least.  We ultimately ended selling my furniture – so all of the really big and heavy stuff was taken out of the equation – since we are living with family for now.

We moved over several days.  We had one big day when we loaded the box, and one big day where my parents came and we emptied out the rest of the apartment, cleaned it, and officially moved out.

Moving is a spoon killer.  It will take all of your current energy and lap at your energy reserves.

Thankfully, moving is not something that has to be done super often, although we will likely be moving into our own place sometime in the next several months.

It’s hard to accurately budget for what the physical and emotional strain of moving will do to flare your RA or at least make it more present than it may have been pre-move.

The impact of moving while living with RA

Moving is a major life event, whether you are moving down the street or across the country.  And like most life events, has the potential to impact your RA in a negative way.

For me, I had swelling in my hands and knees, my elbows lost mobility, and my right hip was in significant pain. But overall, I feel like I didn’t fare too badly.  I am worried, though, that this is the calm before the storm, and that once things start settling down, it will all hit me at once.

So how do you prepare for that?  Treat yourself kindly.  Allow yourself to rest when you need it, and for that matter, even when you don’t, but there’s nothing else you have to be doing.  Let other people do the heavy lifting, literally, when possible.  Try to keep your sleeping and eating on schedule and as consistent as possible, even though this may be hard given your specific circumstances.

So many of us with RA are Type A and we have difficulty giving up control and tasks to others.  But it definitely takes a village – that’s what I learned through this move.  You can’t do it all alone if you’re not totally going to bottom out and find yourself in a knock-down, drag-out fight with a flare.

After this move halfway across the country, I will definitely be hiring movers the next time we make a major move.

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