Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Therapy

I have received my share of looks and questions over the last few years when people learn that I still ride a motorcycle living with RA.  The simple truth is, I hurt getting on and off of the bike, I have some minor discomfort on most rides and start experiencing problems with my hips and hands at the 100-130 mile mark.  But as far as safety is concerned, I have never felt uneasy about riding since being diagnosed.  After starting this blog, I have received numerous emails from RA patients asking this very question.  Many of them have noted that their doctor/rheumatologist have warned them against riding.  One lady told me that her rheumatologist told her that "no one with RA can safely ride a motorcycle".  This infuriated me, since being diagnosed I have owned 4 motorcycles and logged over 12,500 miles with 8,000 of those off road-much more challenging miles.  Does her doctor think that I am not  capable of handling a motorcycle?  It frustrates me that the very people who should be encouraging patients to continue to keep living, are advising patients to give up their hobbies.  My bikes ARE my therapy and when I'm not riding, I am researching new places to ride or working on them.  I'm not suggesting that all RA patients need to ride motorcycles, but we all need a distraction to keep our mind from focusing on the pain.
Every time I climb on a bike it's an adventure, even on asphalt.  Riding to work clears my mind and opens my senses, I notice things riding that I would take for granted in a car, I feel every bump and experience every turn when riding, the rush you get is just a bonus. No car can compare to the feeling or satisfaction I get from riding.  I feel that after starting to ride more asphalt, it has made me a better driver (car) also.
Copperhead (one of the largest I have seen) we bumped into Monday riding.
I just received my New Mexico Atlas today so over the next week Randall and I will be deciding where we want to ride while out there.  It looks like we will be heading out that way September 23rd unless something comes up.  Nothing like sticking your knobbies on new dirt!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

That looks like one big copperhead! Have fun in NM.

Kim said...

Yes - I know what you mean - you can see that look in people's eyes when they find out you ride a motorcycle and have RA. Must not be that bad if you can ride a motorcycle. Riding is my way of saying FU to RA. I'm totally jealous of your plans for riding in New Mexico.

Terry said...

Anan, the copperhead had to be one of the largest I have seen in the woods. I am looking forward to NM.

Kim, exactly! People do not understand us and most brush us off as not being bad. They should see me walking out of the plant after a 12 hour shift at work! Keep on riding and we will both be saying FU RA every mile. Should have some good photos of NM on my blog by the end of the month.

mary said...

I get the same reaction when I talk about biking. I might limp off the bike but on the bike I flow. Would really have a hard time ever giving it up. Ra has taken a lot but so far not my wheel. Going to miss my yearly FU RA bike ride this year but I'll be back next year.
Enjoy NM. I am jealous, looks like a great trip.

mary said...

You know I was thinking about your post. I think it is that people who have never experienced long term chronic pain just can't relate to having to just get on with life with the pain instead of waiting for it to go away. They can't grasp the reality of pain being just a constant part of life. Like white noise that ebbs and flows but is always there. They don't quite understand that you either move ahead and continue to do what you love to the best of your new ability or you have to give too much up. That make sense. just my ramblings.

Terry said...

Mary, wow, I think you have hit on something that I have been blinded by. I have forgotten what it feels like to be healthy and just wait for a pain to go away. Where I often talk about normal people not understanding us ... perhaps part of it is that I can no longer see from a normal/healthy viewpoint.

I am getting ready to head out to NM in a couple of weeks, very excited.

Kim said...

You inspired me - After not being able to ride for 2 weeks, when I woke up Sat am feeling better I decided to plan a day ride. Took vacation Monday and road a 240 mile loop along the mississippi. I only do pavement riding but it was still one of the longer rides I have done - 5-1/2 hours on the bike with only 1/2 hour worth of stops. That feeds my soul. I feel very fortunate that I still have days like that.

Terry said...

This is so great Kim! 240 miles is some great mileage for a one day ride. Hope you felt good the next couple of days after your ride. People that don't ride cannot comprehend how it makes us feel. Having RA on top of it just makes it that much more special on these days. Well done!!