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Can You Have RA And Still Be Adaptable?

Can You Have RA And Still Be Adaptable?

This is something that I’ve been pondering for awhile.

Sometimes I feel like my life needs to be so rigid in order for me to stay as healthy as I possibly can.

When the weather, whether blizzard, torrential rain, or the slightest change in barometric pressure, stress, eating the wrong foods, not getting enough sleep, or any other little thing that tips the balance can cause a flare – which can result in total loss of function – it’s hard to imagine being adaptable.

By adaptable, I don’t necessarily mean going with the flow all the time.  I guess I mean more of a general ability to adapt yourself to situations as they arise.

One thing I will say is that RA has made me more spontaneous.  I do things, sometimes with little notice or planning.  But more than that, I try not to let little things bother me, like when a phone call gets postponed or a meeting gets canceled.

So prior to now, I wouldn’t really have considered myself to be adaptable, even though a refrain that I often hear in the back of my mind is to be adaptable. 

I guess in many ways, this being adaptable doesn’t have to do so much with me but with other people.  I have always been a people-pleaser.  I don’t want to cause extra work for people.

I am a vegetarian, and have been for over 10 years, and while I would never eat meat in order to be adaptable, I try not to make a big deal about it when I am having dinner at someone’s house or even when trying to pick a restaurant to go to with friends.

Now, of course, those who know me well enough know that I’m a vegetarian and it’s not an issue.  But for those who don’t, I am content with eating sides or whatever is around that’s vegetarian.

Living in New York City, you have to be adaptable, because there is no telling what can go wrong.  You can miss a bus, subway, or train, and your whole day can be screwed up.  It can also necessitate having to walk more than you anticipated, which can be difficult if you are really trying to budget the energy you expend before you get home, so you don’t bottom out before you make it to the comforts of your own couch or bed.

In Michigan, my life was fairly regimented.  I had about a 10-block radius that I frequented.  It was comfortable.  I was almost guaranteed that no matter where I was, I would be able to make it home, even on a really bad day, pain or disease activity-wise.

But life in New York is more complicated, and the reality is that for most of us, it’s a more realistic situation than my routinized life in Michigan was.

In some ways, I miss that life.  It was easy.  It was comfortable.  It made me less anxious than life in New York does, mainly because things can turn on a dime and I can go from feeling well to feeling, well, downright terrible.

My life in Michigan was also easier because I was living in my own space, and so it was totally designed to suit my needs.  I lived on my couch a lot of the time.  And that was fine.  But now I don’t have that.  So what do I do?  Well, I have to be adaptable.

And I guess that’s the important lesson here.  If life is too planned, too strict, it’s really hard to be adaptable.  Obviously, you shouldn’t do things that are not necessary that you know will cause you to flare.  But you shouldn’t shut life out, either, because it’s easier than trying to adapt to situations as they arise.

There’s a delicate balance between adaptation and restriction, and I’m not sure I’ve found the perfect balance yet, but I’m working on it every single day.

So how have you adapted your life to living with RA?

And how have you adapted RA into your life?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • judy york
    6 years ago

    I have been very blessed. From January 2013 until July 2013, I was in really bad shape. I was taking Methotrexate injections and Prednisone prescribed by my Rheumatologist. When I found Plexus Fast Relief Pain Products, and took them to my doctor for his opinion. He gave me a long lecture on how supplements were just vitamins, and they would never work for me. The natural ingredient in this supplement is ETArol, and it addresses inflammation. Well, I wanted a different direction with no side effects. So, I started taking the supplement anyway. I saw positive results in nine days, and at that time, I stopped all pharmaceutical medications, and I have never looked back. I started kayaking in April of 2014, and I have not missed but two weeks on the water in eight consecutive months now. My inflammation is totally under control, and my quality of life is in full swing once again. I have not had to adapt to doing less in my life, but have been able to enjoy so much more. I attribute this to my choice of all natural supplements versus pharmaceutical medications. I did not want to be a couch potato for the rest of my life, and I did not want to be robbed of my quality of life, any longer. God and Plexus has truly blessed me, to be where I am today!

  • Leslie Rott moderator author
    6 years ago

    Judy, it’s important to talk to your doctor regarding any medication you take, including supplements. It’s also important to realize that some treatments work for some people and not others.

  • Kelly Mack moderator
    6 years ago

    Good blog, Leslie. For me, living with RA means I have to be adaptable. By this I mean that coping with the disease is a process by which I adapt my life. I have different ways of doing things, but I get what I want done and still enjoy myself. Adapting is a process and it has taken a mix of knowing my limitations and thinking up creative solutions.

  • V Morrison
    6 years ago

    The New Me was diagnosed with RA 3yrs ago. I spent much of the 1st year in pain & denial. I felt alone & confused. Mostly because I didn’t understand this sudden change that had overcome me. Most days I wondered “What is really wrong with me?”, even with 2nd, & 3rd opinions . I am not the same person I used to be. The biggest challenge for me has been getting to know this New Me. I have always been the super woman. The wife, mother, that would paint a room, clean the house, shop & cook a great dinner in 1 day. Now just the thought of pushing a shopping cart, & bringing in the groceries makes me cringe. And I wince at the thought of shaking some ones hand. Adjusting to all the things I can longer do makes me sad, to say the least. After a few years of settling into this New Me, I’m slowly catching on that I can’t do everything, or be everything anymore. I’m a work in progress, learning to except the New Me. I can still shop but I now shop On-line, I ask for help when I need it. I have found great helpful tools to make life easier in the kitchen. I now practice yoga, & still have my hobbies. I have to pace myself, set new limitations. I discovered that the house doesn’t have to be perfectly clean, & who would have know my husband can cook. And, So what if I spend a day or 2 in the bed, it doesn’t make me lazy it’s just what my immune system needs to get me at a better place. No one ever knows what tomorrow will bring, but with RA it changes from day to day. It’s like a light switch one minute your fine & the next your in pain. I can handle the daily base-line pain that comes with this disease, but the flares are the worse. The full blown flares which I compare to the flu without the cold symptoms. Pains from my neck to my toes. The Unawareness about RA makes living with RA frustrating. Too many confuse RA with Osteoarthritis . So explaining yourself is maddening sometimes. But I try to share awareness, it’s so important. Some days are better than others. On the better days you embrace them. I learned that the New Me Is A Warrior. Living with chronic pain reminds me that I have more courage, & strength then I ever imagined. “I Have RA” “RA does NOT have ME”!

  • Janet Lemay
    6 years ago

    Wow- this is so near my own story! Last year is a blur, much of the past 3 yrs living in a fog of pain, pain meds & no sleep! I am in my 3rd month of a new me because the pain has decreased. I’ve prayed – fasted- begged God, yes- denial, tears & wanting to die. I am usually a he woman- strong & a rebel at heart, thanks for writing- thx Leslie for the blog! This is a lovely break from the grumpy me & it’s my hope you will wake up one morning & not “feel it” …. Blessings to Y’all!

  • Norreen Clark
    6 years ago

    Well I have had RA now for 34 years and I’m going to be 62 this year. I look like a person that has RA but never looked at it as haveing become adapted. I get up in the morning and never think about having it. I do what work I can and if I need a nap I take one. I eat no gluten and find that has made a big difference in pain. Gluten is not the same as when I was a kid growing up. Your grains are different now. You have GMO and a lot of stuff added to food
    now. I consider myself truly blessed. I have had rheumatoid vasculrius. So if I do what I can God does the rest.

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