Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My New Normal

RA has changed my life, but it has not changed who I am inside. One of the negatives is the physical limitations that RA has bestowed upon me. While I occasionally look back on some of my "good times" that I have experienced, I am firmly grounded where I am today. I don't hold any anger at, or have any depression over living with RA. It took a while to get here, but I am enjoying life the best way I can now. Some days this means taking my bike out and hammering out a few miles of rough, nasty single track trail while other days it may just be settling back and catching up on some movies.  I no longer look at it as living an abnormal life, this is the new normal for me. 

My RA has been dog ugly after taking it for a 400 mile ride.  See if I try to take my RA on vacation again ... if it were my child I would give it a good spanking. I have been limping, groaning and eating Tylenol Arthritis daily to get through my shift at work.  I have also been spending some time in the hot tub.  It has finally started easing it's grip and is releasing me from this latest self induced flare episode.  

I am once again considering taking another step for my new normal lifestyle.  After our two day ride, I have been researching true dual sport bikes as a possible solution to alleviate some of the pain while riding. As normal, I am most likely over analyzing the project but, much like my RA, I would rather have too much information than not enough.

I believe that, for me, continuing to do what I love has allowed me to keep my sanity through the first eight years of my journey with RA. I have been on a motorcycle since I was ten years old. My parents thought that they would buy me a motorcycle, I would ride it for one summer, be done with it and sell it. That was 42 years and 28 motorcycles ago. Make no mistake, it still hurts every time I throw a leg over a bike, but the personal satisfaction that I get from both riding and knowing that I am kicking RA's butt one day at a time is worth every ounce of pain.

This is a clip from our adventure ride two weeks ago.  The audio didn't come through so don't try to turn your speaker up to get sound.


Anonymous said...

I have been having a rough fall so far with my hips, knees and feet swelling up quite a bit so I am glad to hear that you are still able to toss your leg over a bike and enjoy the Thumper experience. I got out in the woods yesterday to scope out a spot for this Saturday's Bow season opener. The fall colors are about peak here and the reds and oranges are awesome in the morning sunlight. I have my safety harness and tree stand all ready but tree climbing may be on the way out for me so I set up a few spots on the ground. Sitting still for hours 15 to 20 feet up a tree on a small platform is something I will still try to do if I can, but like you I may have to adjust. It is getting harder to walk through the woods and my weakness and lack of balance don't help much, but it still gives me that special experience of the fall woods here in upstate NY and if I am lucky I might even get to see some deer.
Well tomorrow I get to go to the Rheumy and see whats next after Orencia. Take care Terry.
Phil - Syr

mary said...

Sorry to hear you are suffering after your trip. The things we have to put up with to carve out a bit of fun are ridiculous. The trip to Austria put me down and almost out for about a month (had to change my biological when I got back) and I am just now starting to push back the flare from the recent bike ride. Both the trip and the bike ride made the flares worth it to me. Adjust we must. I have had RA longer than I lived without it so at this point it truly is my normal. That's not to say it still doesn't surprise and shock me sometimes.

tharr said...

Phil, my hips have been bothering me more than normal also. It hurts but I don't hesitate to throw a leg over a bike anytime I can. We are just barely starting to get some fall colors, our peak will be in another 2, maybe 3 weeks. We haven't even been down below 47 for an overnight low yet. I understand about the tree climbing and sitting still in one position kills me ... don't know how you do it buddy. I also understand about the lack of balance. Om our 400 mile ride we saw several deer. I was out in front and three jumped into the road at the same time. One shot on across the road, one stopped for a second then jumped on across the road. The third one was either deaf or had a learning disability ... he turned and started running toward me. When he realizes there is something coming toward him he flew off the road and was gone. I let Randall lead for a while after that one! lol

Hey Mary, I'm feeling better now. I know that I have to pay for having fun now but I'm okay with doing that. It would certainly be better to just get up the next day like nothing happened though. I hate that you have been down but what an adventure you have had. Talk about an inspiration! I agree completely on the still surprises and shocks me comment. Take care of yourself.

Lana said...

Sometimes I feel like RA has changed me, and maybe I am wrong about this. Maybe it is just that I have evolved to work my life around RA and I see it as one in the same. You have more experience than I do- for me, it has only been over three years since my diagnosis – so maybe I have really accepted RA has a part of my life. Maybe, the longer I live with this I, too, will realize that I haven’t really changed. For me, the problem was that I was not very active before RA, so when RA came into my life, it made it harder to be active when I needed to be. I remember a time that I was very active but once I started having symptoms, I slowed down. I think that we all go one despite our pain – we don’t have much of a choice. The only other choice is staying in bed all day and I definitely don’t want to do that. I am always so happy to hear that you are continuing riding despite RA. It is a reminder that RA doesn’t have to win. I know that most of us don’t allow it to win but it does not mean that it doesn’t make things hard for us. Thanks for sharing your clip. That was when you took the ferry part of that ride. Growing up, we always took the ferry to Ontario, Canada from Detroit. My late father loved visiting there so it’s wonderful memory for me.

tharr said...

Lana, it took time for me to come to terms with it but the bottom line is I didn't have a choice. If I wanted to continue to enjoy things, I had to accept it, make a few changes to my lifestyle and trudge onward. My problem is that I was very active so at first, after diagnosed, I was depressed and thought my life was over. After the meds starting helping me I slowly started working my way back into living again. I miss the old me but I will never have that me back so I'm ok with where I am. I loved the ferry ride, first time I have ever been on one.