To Adapt or Not to Adapt, Or Is It Even a Question?
Living organisms have an amazing ability to adapt to their environments.
Humans, even more so, can adapt quickly based on a variety of factors. It only takes us weeks - maybe days - to form a new habit or change based on a new circumstance. That’s pretty incredible!
People with chronic illness adapt quickly
People can change quickly but Spoonies (people with autoimmune conditions) can do it at the speed of light. And, half the time, we’re not even aware that we’re doing it.
Anyone with rheumatoid arthritis/disease, or any chronic illness, can attest to this.
Adaptation is a must
We adapt to our disease. We have to. Otherwise, we live with more pain and discomfort than physically possible.
Rheumatoid disease is an interesting beast. It affects every cell, every fiber of our being and we have to succumb to it. I can personally say that I tried to fight it and well, I lost. I had to change if I wanted to live with this disease.
So, I sat down to write this article and I thought about all the ways I adapted to my RA and I realized something. Many of my “adaptions” were subconscious changes my body made so I could live with my new autoimmune roommate.
Where I placed weight on my feet
For example, I’ve changed the way I place my weight on my feet. Before, I was a strict heel-to-toe walker.
Now, I still do it, but I tend to place my weight more towards the inner portions of my foot. I don’t know if that is because there is more padding near the big toe but that’s changed.
In that vein, when I walk, I wait a split second longer before taking the next step, just to make sure I am balanced before moving forward. I don’t remember saying, "Hey body, you need to chill for a second before walking." It just went ahead and did it.
Making very conscious decisions
Of course, I made some very conscious decisions. For example, I make sure to eat a certain amount of breakfast every morning so my meds don’t make me nauseous.
I do a gentle physical scrub on my thighs the evening before my methotrexate injection. It may be a placebo effect, but it helps me somewhat!
Being strategic about opening and closing doors
This next one bugs my father, but I do not close drawers or cabinets until I am fully done in the kitchen (or whatever room I am in).
Opening and closing doors, drawers, and cabinets can take a toll on my arms, especially in flares. I save precious energy and dexterity in opening and closing everything just once.
Running errands in a way that works best for me
I spread out my errands over a few days. Before, if I was in a general area, I just got all my stuff done just once.
Now, even if I have to drive to the same place a few times a week, it’s better for my RD well-being, overall.
Constantly changing with RA
Oh wow! I almost concluded this article without mentioning the constant state of flux we experience with rheumatoid arthritis. This isn’t just one change - wham, bam, done.
As chronic illness warriors, we are CONSTANTLY changing how we act, what we do, and how we take care of our bodies. The amount of flexibility that this disease need is astounding.
But, we do it. We adapt, we change, and we adjust because we have to! It’s not a question. It’s a necessity.
How do you adapt your life to your RA? LMK in the comments!
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?