I was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Fibromyalgia (Fibro) on top of the issues I face from the cancer and my Multiple Sclerosis. I've always "attacked" my issues with a bit of an ignorant approach until I am forced to face them. It's a joke in the family, "If you ignore it, it goes away!" was always my motto. I'm sure you realize that this is NOT the way you beat things or get better but it's how I seem to handle things without breaking down. It also does NOT cure things. Your family, your strength, and your desire to keep going is what does that; along with God's help and the help of those you trust with working on your body.
Which leads me to the present. At once again going over my "big number" weight-wise I swore I'd never get near again (we won't discuss that... it goes away that way LOL) and feeling nothing but pain, but now in different ways my emotions are rampant. I'm sure being 48 doesn't help. I have a feeling that I'm pre-menopausal but I haven't (luckily) gone to the craziness part that so many speak of with mood swings and hot flashes. I'm always hot (and unfortunately not in the way I want to be LOL) with my MS so sometimes I may be having flashes and not realize it, who knows. The menopause doesn't bother me; it's part of life and aging and I don't mind aging. Contrary to those who swear I must because I don't "look my age" according to them I don't really care about a number. I care about how I feel and right now I feel about 98. That's what ticks me off most.
So part of what makes me so strong is that, well I'm pig headed. I refuse to take answers like "you won't make it" or "you probably won't be able to walk" or "you shouldn't even be walking"; all of which I've heard. Instead I'm pig headed and do it no matter what. That can be a good thing and at times it can be bad. You don't know how long it took me to finally use a cane I bought (get this, over 14 years ago) when I was first diagnosed with MS. I might use it once in a while but I simply did NOT want to allow the MS to take me into the category of showing I had it. Then these new auto immune diseases that have created more aches and pains and some days just a total inability to live life. I can't tell you how pissed off I am about them. They have NO right taking my body, especially since I've been through so much. So I try to pretend they're not there. I don't need "handicapped" anything thank you.
Well that's given me nothing but more pain, more hurt, less life. I finally came to the decision that it's okay to be "handicapped" and show your handicap. Before I had MS and suffered silently because the world didn't know. It didn't make ME feel any better but it gave me an outer appearance of being healthy, which is what I wanted. But what it also did was not allow others to understand why I did some of the things I did or how I was feeling that day. My sweetie finally made me realize that it's time to utilize the things in life created to make life easier for people like me. I finally listened and I'm finally getting back to being somewhat human and hope to take off this weight again (I Hope).
I hadn't been to the "Y" in weeks. I was always too sore, too worried about my horrible vertigo that has started up again, too much in pain or even afraid of falling as I had done once in the shower. Falling in the shower was enough for me. I wasn't going to be found lying naked in the women's shower because was too pig-headed to admit I needed "help" of some type to assure my sturdiness! So I just stopped going. Great idea right? Then I can add on the weight I've worked so hard to lose and feel sorry for myself but keep a smile on my face and miss out on life. Wow, that sounds like me....NOT! So, I decided to listen to my guy and use the special "Handicapped" locker room. I never felt so safe, so in charge, and so totally abled, not DISabled. See what actually giving in and accepting your faults can do for you? I realized I was more pitiful getting FAT again (not that I was skinny) then I am walking out, fully dressed and in control of myself from a room that happens to have a handicapped sign on it after working out in the water. I didn't come out on a stretcher after 20 people stared at my fat naked body that fell to the ground because of my illnesses and there's very little possibility that I'll ever do that if I continue to utilize this special locker room which holds only me, safely.
So what I learned was this.....
- Fight - just learn what to fight
- Accept - just don't give in
- Forgive - forgive those who may be ignorant enough to make you feel uncomfortable because you've allowed yourself to be 'labeled' as handicapped (if that's what you think about using handicap items or places to make your life easier - which I think WAS my biggest issue of using obvious handicapped labeled areas)
- Forgive Again - forgive yourself for being like those people stated above because you wouldn't fight being labeled if you weren't somewhat a person that looked differently at those who are handicapped (Don't get me wrong, I have great respect for those who deal with handicaps each day of their life but I never wanted to "BE" one of them and I will admit to being somewhat pitying of those labeled as handicapped)
(In my case I didn't view them as bad or ugly or horrible... I think perhaps I pitied them and I never wanted to be pitied and now I realize they probably don't want pity and hate their disease as much as we hate things about us - even those who are in great shape - that aren't perfect)
So whether you're battling a disease, a handicap, or just obesity don't allow others or your own self-pride to take over. YOU can win the battle and be the best person possible.