Learning to Coexist with Psoriatic Arthritis
The other day I thought about how far I have come since I was first diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia in 2003. To my surprise I have gone from fighting what felt like a losing battle to learning how to live in harmony with my enemies.
The weary soldier
When psoriatic arthritis first entered my life, I immediately went to war. There was no way that I was going to allow this disgusting disease the opportunity to change my life. I was in it to win it, and I gave it my all. The problem was that instead of fighting my disease, I was fighting my own body. I expected my body to be able to do what it used to do before psoriatic arthritis became a part of my life. I felt that the more I could hang on to my old way of living, the better my chances of winning would be. But I was wrong! Fighting to get my body to do what it used to do only put me at a disadvantage, the only real way to win would be to learn what my enemy had in store.
Studying the battle plan
Before I could come up with a new battle plan I had to learn what my disease was doing to my body. This entailed learning everything I could about my wretched diseases. I also had to learn what movements would cause more pain, what foods could make things worse, etc. For example, there was a time when I had to acknowledge and accept that walking was increasing the pain I experienced throughout my spine and sacrum. I had to learn how to avoid an increase of pain in those areas. At that point of my life, that meant using a wheelchair for most outings and by doing so, I reduced the amount of pain I experienced while still getting to go where I wanted to go. Not only did I have to learn the battle plan of my enemy, but I also had to redefine the reason I was fighting. Outside of curing my disease there would be no other way to get my enemy to surrender. Instead, my end goal had to be to find ways to live with my enemy without increasing my pain levels.
Today I coexist with my all of my chronic illnesses. I accept that I will never be cured, but that doesn't mean that I have given up on being healthy or living a good life. My life and health improved when I began to listen to my body, paying attention to its demands, and tuned into every inch of it. Today I am fully aware of how one wrong move, eating the wrong foods, or not getting the rest I need may disrupt my life. My life is not perfect, but it is a heck of a lot better than it used to be.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?