Progress and Managing RA
When we talk about living with a chronic disease like RA day in and day out we often get so caught up in the details of what that means that it consumes us to the point of not being able to see the “bigger picture” of how we are actually doing in a larger sense. In other words are we making progress or not?
Progress by definition can be both a noun: forward or onward movement toward a destination and a verb: move forward or onward in space or time. When it comes to RA it can be thought of in both ways.
Making progress when it comes to managing chronic disease has different metrics for each and every person but the one consistent criteria is forward movement
How does that break down to real-world management of RA? Well progress in its simplest form means going forward, not at a particular pace or amount of change, just forward movement and not in every category but in at least one. For instance, if you have not done any form of exercise in some time, and you make a fitness plan THAT is progress. By the same token, if you start doing some form of exercise THAT is progress. Progress can be as simple or complex as we choose to make it and how we gauge it is entirely individual. What may mean progress to me may not be the same for the next person. And, in fact, it may change for me from time to time. All of that is just fine. The key is FORWARD MOVEMENT.
So why is progress important when we talk about managing RA?
Well if we hope to truly address the chronic nature of a disease like RA, then we must recognize that doing nothing is not an option. Not if you truly hope to live a full, joyous, successful life. There is progress that must be made across the board from medication choices to diet and nutrition, insurance options to overall treatment choices, staying informed to how to exercise. The list is long and comprehensive and demands our attention if we truly intend to make progress in our RA journey.
It is important to point out that there is no specific time frame or deadline for progress in the case of RA management. I know there are times when disease activity determines how much progress I am capable of making. That is fine. I just need to know and commit to moving forward when I can, not if, but when. Having that mind set means that eventually I will make progress. It may be as simple as looking into some new medication options as the current one is starting to fail. Then taking that knowledge to my physician and having a frank and open conversation about what my choices are and when can we make the necessary changes.
And let’s not forget how great it feels when we make progress!
Anytime I move forward in my own RA journey I feel a sense of accomplishment and completion that by extension also gives me confidence. That then feeds into more progress and before you know it, the pattern has been established and progress becomes perfectly natural and common and one of the most effective tools we have in managing RA.
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