Trying to listen when my body says ‘hey, hey you!’


  NC is covered in snow right now which means that we had like 1.5 inches and completely shut down after we bought all the booze and junk food…I mean bread and milk…in the city and hunkered down for the snowpacolypse.  

I know.  I’m from here and I even know that’s bad.

I haven’t left my condo since Thursday evening.

I woke up this morning to sore wrists and just a tight body all over.  I tense when I flare, I think in large part due to the anxiety I have around flaring.  I also flare everytime the weather changes, and Mother Nature’s presence in NC lately has been bipolar at best.

I woke up, assessed how I felt and did the following: took a hot shower, did some stretching (yoga, foam roller and tennis ball for target points), and had breakfast.  I saw my car was completely iced over and went out to scrape it off so that I could drive if I needed to and to mitigate the situation in case we had additional snow.

Unfortunately, due to my flaring wrists and due to the fact that I lent out all my gloves for the Panthers game last week, I had to do with no gloves.  Which means I made 3 seperate attempts at scraping.  I’d do it until I was either too sore or too cold and go in for awhile.

God, I miss having a garage.  I feel like we should create some sort of legislation that allots for all RA patients to have a garage. I mean, politics are so stupid right now, it may actually get passed. (Yes, I went there…and won’t again…and still think I haven’t revealed my political beliefs on my blog.  My beliefs aren’t relevant here, but these days they sway toward who scares me the least. I don’t have a firm answer on that yet.)

Then I went inside and took an extra dose of Aleve, put my heated gloves on my hands,and reminisced on what it was like to not have to think about these things.

Growing up, pre spooniehood, I danced extensively.  In that phase of my life,injuries were almost revered.’She worked so hard,hurt herself, and still kept going!’  Having that said about you felt like a Medal of Honor, you were seen as legit in that world.

I remember warming up for a performance.  I had been trying for months to (on the ground) sit in a center split and put my stomach on the ground. I was so close.  So close, that as we were warming up, my coach came and helped me push down further.  

Unfortunately, when she did, she got momentum to push by digging her elbows into my inner thighs, extending my legs further back than they could go.  

I wound up having a severely pulled right leg muscle (hamstring) and was in pain/tears before I went on.  I took 4 Advil and did the performance.  I did every bit of it but during the last few minutes, I creepy smiled and cried at the same time because I was in agony.

If I figure out how to convert the VHS of that performance to upload here,  I will share. You can see that I’m smiling with tears running down my face. Awful!

It took me 3 months to get back to normal.  But it didn’t stop me from dance camp or other performances. I took no time to rest and recover.

Y’all.  That’s stupid.  Beyond stupid.  Dangerous.  The injury was bad enough that I still feel it 20 years later when I do lunges.

My point- because I do have one- living with RA teaches you true body awareness.  You don’t understand when you’re healthy what the ramifications are of not being aware and caring for your body.  Long and short term.  I seriously thought at the time ‘I took Aleve, I’ll be fine, I can’t let my group down. I can make it.’

My current self says to that: the group will live and adjust.  You do not have to make it if the only way you can is by smile/crying and Advil that really doesn’t do much for you.

I hate that only when I got this disease could I see the immediate and long term effects of not being aware of what my body needed.  I also hate that sometimes I feel like my own doctor/physical therapist/pharmacist to maintain. I know today what I needed to feel better and stay safe. I listened to my body and I responded appropriately.

 I wish my pre Spoonie self had taken better care of the body I still inhabit.  Didn’t take chances, gave it time to rest and recover.  It probably wouldn’t have made a difference in developing RA or not but at least I would’ve learned those skills in advance.

The first 2 years after diagnosis, I still had that push through mentality.  In those cases, it was almost an eff that to RA.  I’m not saying that the attitude isn’t important; my big thing for myself is to continue activities post diagnosis that I enjoyed pre.  But with any type of modification necessary to make it safe.

I’m thankful to RA for teaching me true body awareness; that it’s not an ‘I can make it’ mentality but an ‘I need this’ mentality.

In keeping with my self imposed theme of self-love this year, I’m trying to really listen to when my body tells me it needs something.  Ok, you need a break from scraping the car.  And another.  And another.  And now Aleve and rest.

That’s ok. Listening to what my body tells me will keep me healthy. 

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