The RA Journey Continues - Hope Deferred

Hope. Such a small word. Sort of like the words “sand” or “foot”. Words that can be used in many contexts but usually without much significance. The foot is one of the smallest parts of the body and generally receives the least amount of attention in our daily lives.

Sand is simply small particles of pulverized rock that we walk on or gaze past when at the beach. And hope is one of those seemingly insignificant emotions that we often overlook, similar to the way we ignore default apps that are preloaded on our cellphones. They are there but not really thought about much. However…

When a foot is ignored, injured, or amputated, the rest of the body has to make some major adjustments in balance and mobility. Without sand concrete would be unstable or unusable. And without hope, the world around us can look very dark. And cold. And scary. Hope deferred can truly make us sick. True that, King Solomon.

Diagnosed with RA

My recent entrance into the rheumatoid arthritis world has been more than just a proverbial rollercoaster for me. It’s been a rollercoaster in the middle of a hurricane all while trying to maintain my sanity AND pretend that nothing is wrong. After all, I’m tough, I’m brave, I’m independent. I’m my father’s daughter. Oy.

I didn’t realize how deep the impact of the RA diagnosis could be, would be. I didn’t realize that the diagnosis had shaken my foundation, all they way down to that seemingly insignificant emotion…hope.

In my prior RA post I said, “RA is not curable but it’s NOT a death sentence.” Blah, blah, blah. Now, going back and rereading it I can see that I was trying to remain optimistic, I was trying to focus on the positive, I was trying to…

But under it all I didn’t realize that what I was really struggling with was hope. What did I have to look forward to? What aspects of life was RA going to affect?

Questions about life with RA

The unspoken questions that revolved in my mind were about details of daily life that could be, and probably would be, affected by this painful hidden disease. Simple activities such as gripping a jar to open it or holding a hairbrush or putting on socks now took much more effort than they used to. So what was going to be next? My hope in the future had been shaken.

Then God showed up. (Actually, He’s been there all along but my focus was distracted.)

Over the last few days God has shown me that there is hope. Hope that I’ll still be able to live an active, productive life, albeit with some modifications from time to time. Hope that I won’t become a burden to those I love and that love me. Hope. How did He do it?

Signs to keep positive

First, I stumbled across (divine intervention) a professional article (I only trust scientific journals that have verifiable documented research) that said remission is possible in RA patients when treated early and/or aggressively. This is an article I probably would have never found but Something woke me up in the middle of the night recently and whispered the word “remission” to me. So I turned on my computer and googled the words “rheumatoid arthritis remission”. And there it was. First deep breath.

The second God-wink came Friday. Through the love expressed to me via my son. At Frontier Justice. With a gun in my hand. Yep. A gun. Cause you see, the RA cast doubt on whether I would be able to continue to do seemingly simple things with my hands.

Having already lost the ability to normally grip a jar to open it, I questioned what other activities I had already been robbed of that I didn’t recognize yet like being able to successfully and accurately discharge a firearm.

(Since security is a top priority for women, myself included, having some “friends” nearby for my protection has been comforting to me. And no, I’m not going to engage in any 2nd amendment conversations based on this post).

Then last week, when my beloved son asked if I wanted to go to the range for some practice, I cautiously accepted.

It had been several months since I had been to the range and I was doubtful. Yet I needed to know if RA had taken my ability to defend myself if put in a situation that necessitated it.

So I chose to take my “friend” that has the most kick, thinking that if I could still accurately control him then concern about any others would be dispelled.

In short, it only took a few rounds and I was elated. I felt like dancing around and singing right there with the aroma of gunpowder lingering in the air and brass littering the floor.

I wasn’t able to stifle my laughter though and I did do a little seated dance behind my wonderful son. (One of the modifications I’ve discovered that helps me throughout the day is taking frequent “sit breaks”, even if just for a minute so my spine can relax and realign.)

A full life is possible with RA

But that simple gesture of inviting me to the shooting range resulted in so much joy and reassurance that, although I may have to make modifications to how I maneuver through some regular daily activities, RA is NOT going to rob me of my hope. It is not going to keep me down or hold me back.

And yes, I will have to put my pride aside (grrrr) and ask for help at times but there are far more painful ways that God could help me deal with my sinful pride, therefor I’m choosing the “glass is half full” view. RA, you will NOT win. Period. Booyah. Mic drop.

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