Living with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) all these years, I know that I need to be on top of both my conditions. That means monitoring both fibromyalgia and RA daily, eating healthy, and taking the medications my doctor has prescribed. Mostly, it’s important for me to keep moving, and “keep moving” has been my motto since both these diseases came into my life nearly 11 years ago.
“Fibromyalgia and RA Were Not Going to Take Anything From Me”
I have a stubborn side, and I decided early on that fibromyalgia and RA were not going to take anything from me. I was going to fight back, and a huge part of my fighting back means I keep moving no matter what. But when fibromyalgia and RA entered my life, exercise became a struggle.
Before these illnesses and chronic pain, I exercised almost daily, which consisted of different things, including walking on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike, lifting weights aerobics, walking, and playing with my older son.
So, when these diseases came along, I had the mindset to pull myself out of bed on the days every joint and muscle in my body hurt. In doing so, I realized how important it was to keep moving to keep up my strength, reduce pain and stiffness, and maintain my physical balance to the best of my ability.
“I Do What I can to Make Sure These Disease Don’t Win”
Now granted, I can’t do what I used to do, but I do what I can to make sure these diseases don’t win. I take walks, lift light weights, and take opportunities to move, such as parking further away and taking the steps. I try to be outdoors as much as I can because when I am, I am moving.
In all honesty, there are times where being active and moving comes to a standstill. Those are the times where I worry the chronic pain will win, but I remind myself I have come along way since my diagnosis. I was told I’d be disabled in four years’ time, but—due to my stubbornness, God’s grace, or both—here I am still fighting the good fight.
“I Know Life with Chronic Pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Fibromyalgia Are Not Easy”
Many people in my life don’t quite understand what being active means when you live with unrelenting fatigue and joint and muscle pain. They think if you keep moving somehow, you can magically change your life, stop the pain and stiffness, and lose significant weight, but RA, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain don’t make it easy.
For example, I can’t do vigorous or rigorous exercise due to the huge amount of inflammation, pain, and fatigue I experience almost daily, and I also have joint damage, which adds to my pain and struggles. It hurts to run on a treadmill, ride a bike, or do aerobic exercise. However, I keep moving in every way I can, and doing what I can is what keeps me from becoming disabled.
I am never going to be able to spend hours a week at the gym again, or run miles, or bike for long periods, or be as thin as I used to be, but I am doing the best I can, trying to keep my joints and muscles mobile and not stiff.
Exercising for me can be as simple as a short walk during my lunch hour. So, I will put my headphones on, listen to music, and venture out. I will enjoy the sunshine, focus on its healing power, and allow my mind to forget the pain and controlling nature of these diseases.
I know life with chronic pain, RA and fibromyalgia aren’t easy, and the last thing any of us want to do is exercise, but by doing so, we are not only helping our joints and muscles, but we allow our minds to focus on something besides pain.
Do what you can handle, and don’t overdo it; there is always tomorrow. Don’t let anyone tell you what you are doing isn’t good enough. Don’t be discouraged no matter what your health state is now. Just keep moving in on your terms.
While You’re Out There Moving, Consider Wearing a Medical ID Bracelet
Silver Mingle Medical ID on Vintage Crystal
While you are out there moving, consider wearing a medical ID bracelet. Medical IDs come in handy during times of crisis. And what is great about medical ID bracelets is they are both attractive and carry information about your health conditions. Wearing a medical ID can mean the difference between immediate care and long trial and error treatment.
According to a survey by American Medical ID, up to 95 percent of emergency responders will look for a medical ID accessory during an emergency, and up to 75 percent of doctors will look. While emergency IDs are available as necklaces, key chains, and bracelets, most medical professionals will check a person’s wrist first.
Information to include on your medical ID include:
- Health conditions
- Emergency contact numbers
- Any other persistent information, such as a pacemaker or insulin pump
When you have a serious health condition—and RA and fibromyalgia are both serious health conditions—medical responders need to know this information and any other information you consider pertinent. If you are not able to convey this data, a medical ID bracelet can do this for you.
Having lived with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia since 2008, Lana uses her experiences to share expert advice on various chronic illness and medical topics.