Sunday, September 19, 2010

A new mindset

Right from the very beginning of be sick with RA my attitude has been that I needed to fight the disease. I needed to fight my way thru the pain, fatigue, and brain fogs. If I'm being very honest I never really accepted that I'd be sick for the rest of my life. I was hoping if I just did everything the Dr's wanted me to do I'd eventually go into remission and get back to who I was pre-RA. That approach, while it got me thru a lot of things in the past is not going to be the best for getting me thru the rest of my life. I'm trying a new mindset now, how do I just simply live with the disease and all that comes with it. I'm doing this because over the long term I just can't power thru the pain and fatigue and have a good quality of life. What this new mindset means for me is that I'm accepting that I'm in with this for life. I'm never going to completely pain free again. What I need to do is work with the ebbs and flow of the good days vs the bad. For example yesterday was a great day. I paced myself really well to get a lot of things done (nice long shower, walking to the market to do my food shopping, cooking enough of a meal to have plenty of left overs if don't want to or just can't cook at some point this week). By the end of the day I had enough energy and mental focus that I could knit and spin for a little while. Today I feel like crap but I'm not beating myself up about it. I need to be gentle with myself today so that I can get done the few thing that have to get done and have enough energy to get to some Dr's appointments tomorrow. So the short answer is that I have to be motivated to use the limited amount of good time wisely so that I don't feel emotionally bad when I can't just power thru the bad time.

A very important part of this new mindset is making sure I eat right. I feel that I really shouldn't eat as much processed food as I had been. One of the ways I've started to deal with this is to drag out my bread machine and bake a loaf or two of bread each week. No artificial crap and preservatives which could on some level be elevating my immune response, which is part of what RA is. With the machine its really easy. You just measure out the ingredients and press a button. No kneading. A great breakfast for me lately has been a nice piece of bread with honey drizzled on top. Very tasty and its just enough food in my tummy to help get my meds down and not give me a stomach ache. I'll be cooking a lot more simple foods in greater quantities so I can freeze the leftover for those time when I just can't stand up long enough to make something. I'm also going to the people who I know love to cook, my friends Wendy and Geoffrey for example, and asking them for ideas on simple healthy recipes that will fit my criteria. Why rack my brain when I have wonderful people in my life that are experts at cooking which really isn't my favorite thing in the world to do. This also gives me a chance to talk to my friends and that has been helping with feeling not so isolated. Basically I've been a hermit for the last 6 months and that has to stop too.

I'll be keeping y'all posted as to how well I'm doing with this new mindset.

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