About that picture


A few months ago, I posted a picture on my Facebook page that I meant as an interesting look of someone who doesn’t fit into the uneducated stereotype of looking sick. Young. Fit. Working on fitness to build lean muscle to support joints.


For the most part, the response was positive. I had many, many comments where other patients offered up how they were staying active: swimming, walking, and even a few CrossFitters and mud runners. Those last two things are activities that frighten me…which means I’m dying to try them.

It was shared pretty widely on some bigger groups, and for the most part, the response was the same. Encouragement. Sharing what works and how to stay active. I loved it!

However, I was taken aback by a few comments on my page and on others who shared it. Comments where people said what I was doing was dangerous. Comments where people cautioned others to not look at my picture and hurt themselves.

At first, I thought WHAT? This is me! How could a picture of me even be construed as me doing something dangerous? I’m so scared of getting hurt! I mean, anyone who knows me knows that I go to great lengths to make sure I DON’T get hurt. And look at my wrists- I have to use the rope pull because my wrists don’t enjoy the regular handle. And while you can’t see it in the picture, I know that I was only doing 25 lbs.

After I got all the defensive out of my system, I realized a couple of things.

1. Most of you DON’T know me in real life to know how cautious I actually am.
2. Most of you don’t know the modifications in the picture because you can’t see the weight I’m pulling nor have you seen me try to use the regular grips.
3. They have a valid point.

So yes, I am certainly trying my hardest to build as strong of a body as I can to support some limitations, but I also don’t want to make anyone think that you should just jump into pumping iron (LOL if you’ve ever seen me lift weights- I use a spotter, wrist straps and there is lots of whining sometimes) without doctor approval, research, supervision and good old common sense.

I’m not really sure what else to say. Take a picture as that doesn’t happen very often. 🙂 But I want to be clear that those few comments didn’t go unnoticed, and I want to make sure that I am responsible in writing my story with the clear understanding that we all have different capabilities and comfort zones. Yes, I’ve always been one to push it. No, I don’t see that changing.

But if I’m not telling you about modifications and what I do to make activities safe for me, please call me on it.

Cupcakes if you use profanity. 🙂

6 responses »

  1. I have the same issue with the handles. I am full of modifications when I work out and like you are super careful, especially on my hands and knees. But I still haven’t found something for bicep curls that works for me. Have you found a modification that works for you for them?

  2. I was diagnosed in my mid 20’s and for the last 30 years I have done some form of work out. I never understood the people who said you could hurt yourself. With modification there is something for everyone. I have always felt I had to have strong muscles to help out my compromised joints. Your blog has reinforced these things for me. Thanks

  3. For some with RA weight training might not work. It depends on the individual. I still do resistance training and other things like water aerobics. I think I good workout is helpful, but people have to do what works for them.

  4. People are dumb. I was out of the gym for several months with my first flare up at 30 (psoriatic arthritis though) so when I got back, not only do I fatigue out earlier but my wrists are shit for strength. People ask why I keep doing it. Um. I want to protect my body from future flare ups. I know I’ll never be rid of them but I want to be prepared for them. LOTS of modifications and KEEP MOVING. That’s how I do it. No I can’t do many proper push ups, nor do I want to. But with some modifying I’m happy to report that my strength is SLOWLY coming back.

  5. It always amazes how people who have no limitations know what everyone else should do or not do. They are the same ones who insist we try this or that pill or liquid they heard about – without out knowing what each of us does and what works with our body chemistry and course of disease. Swimming is the only activity I enjoy – it doesn’t feel like exercise and I feel graceful, like Margot Fontaine and Anna Pavlova rolled into one.

  6. Hello Amanda,

    I am new to the RA blogging world (although not at all new to RA) and loved this post and your blog! Don’t let those people get you down! People can be so insensitive! I have always tried a variety of fitness activities, (including one mud run) and although i’ve modified to my own abilities, it still always feels great when you can push yourself to really achieve something challenging. It doesn’t matter if your version of a challenge is lifting weights, exercising, walking, mud runs or a marathon! Just keep it up!

    Oh and check out my new blog at allgrownupwithJRA.blogpspot.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s