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Patience While Coping with RA

I have never, by nature, been known for having patience. So, when rheumatoid arthritis entered my life, it was even more difficult to counter my desire to move quickly and decisively. 

I still struggle with this to some extent, but years of managing RA have taught me the true value of patience. I want to be clear that I am not trying to suggest being decisive is not desired. Rather, I am encouraging all of us to be thoughtful and contemplative in our choices and decisions when it comes to managing RA. 

Lack of patience with treatment decisions

Early on, I tended to rush to make some decisions. I think this was simply me responding to the pain, fatigue, and other symptoms of RA and the need to get some relief as soon as possible. Coupled with my already existing tendencies to be impatient, it was not a good combination. As a result, I did make choices that did not turn out well. 

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For instance, once I decided treatment was right for me, I plunged ahead without really completely analyzing its potential efficacy as it related to my case. That meant not making the best choice for me and thus not getting the relief I sought.

Evaluate RA treatment options slowly

My wonderful rheumatologist, thankfully, helped me to see that rushing to a decision without thoroughly determining what might be best for me was not a good choice. 

That said, I should have been more thoughtful in deciding what treatment might be best, as well as other choices along the way. RA is difficult enough to navigate without adding a lack of patience.

Patience in vetting care options

Patience can be a very good partner in our journeys in myriad ways even beyond treatment. I was certainly more vulnerable to suggested, yet entirely unproven, ways of coping with RA early in my disease.  Everything from copper bracelets to creams and supplements of every type was purchased and eventually thrown away.

When I think of the money I spent... 

Taking time to investigate more thoroughly

Had I had the benefit of patience, I might have investigated more thoroughly and learned that these were “snake oil” items for the most part. I am not suggesting that there are not very useful and proven ointments, supplements, etc. Of course, there are. 

I am suggesting that we not rush into purchasing or using anything without first vetting it. Nowadays, there are plenty of reliable sites we can access to help us in making decisions. 

Of course, our medical care team is crucial as well. For me, no one knows me better than my medical team and I rely on them to help me sort through choices.

Patience in our interactions with people

When it comes to how we interact with others, patience serves us well. By that I mean, the various folks we deal with from insurance to medical personnel to co-workers, family, and friends. 

I can remember so distinctly having zero patience when it came to insurance issues. I was so stressed I think the flare that came soon after was a direct result of my lack of patience with the people I dealt with. 

Staying calm through stressful moments

I decided that I needed to take a deep breath, remain calm, and practice patience as I maneuvered through the insurance morass. Over time, this strategy did end up serving me well. If I was patient with whomever I was working with, the reward was a less stressful experience at the very least and at best, perhaps I would get my situation resolved to my satisfaction.

I am sure you can think of plenty of times when patience practiced could be just the tool you need to navigate RA. Reflecting can lead to some concrete changes that will make your journey better and more successful.

-Nan

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