Sunday, April 10, 2011

What is Your R.A. Super Power?

This week at school, we had an assembly for the students.  Corbin's Exotic Pets came and showed us some incredibly beautiful creatures, some of which I have never heard of.  As an extension to this, I found a great National Geographic Explorers (for kids) magazine article about "weird and wonderful" animals.  It talked all about these "strange" creatures and their incredible adaptations they had, as well as what the adaptation was used for.  For example, we learned about the Waxy Monkey Tree Frog.  The Waxy Monkey Tree Frog has actual wax glands, to secrete wax.  This allows it to be out in the hot sunlight all day and not "croak!"  (I had to do that)  Anyway, when introducing adaptations, I made the analogy that they were like the animal's "super power." The wax monkey tree frog's super power?  Wax Glands-oh yeah!  What does the super power do for it?  Protects them from the environment (the sun).

If you think about it, Rheumatoid Arthritis has super powers, too.  The amazing thing is, the super powers are different for everyone.  Take this weekend for example.  Saturday was hot and sunny, and I had to endure sitting for almost 4 hours one-way to drive my son to his college visit.  Then, I sat for another hour listening to a general overview/introduction about the college.  Afterwards, my body was needed to walk all around campus for almost 2 hours.  Flat walking?  No!  We walked up and down stairs, ramps, and hills, of course!  My RA super power of the day?  It LET me.  For some reason it allowed me to do it.  I had some swelling in my ankles and feet, and my knees ached, but I was ok.  What a wonderful day!!

Today, was hot and sunny, with a slight wind.  We decided it was a lovely to day to go up to our seasonal campsite and uncover the camper and open it up.  Camping season is just 2 weeks away!!  I did some light lifting and light cleaning of the camper, to put things back in cabinets and drawers.  However, today's RA super powers were very different.  My RA's super powers?  Inflammation and pain!

How is that a super power?  I take it as a warning sign.  I take it as RA's way of saying, "Sue, I let yesterday go.  You overdid it, but with some rest, I figured you would recover and not do it again.  But, today showed me you were pushing me a little too far!"  (Do YOU ever imagine your RA talking to you, like I do?  I hope so!!  Or else, I am losing it!!)  Shortly after doing some light lifting in the garden at the campground, ok, heavy lifting-who am I kidding- my fingers got very inflammed and stiff and it forced me to stop.  It was my body's way of telling me I did too much.  I switched activities and emptied plastic tubs of dishes and silverware, etc. into the cabinets, and all of the bending at the knees (PROPER LIFTING FORM) caused my knees to swell and stiffen. 

Ok, RA, I hear ya, I hear ya.  Hit me with a frying pan already, would ya?  My husband decided it would be best to send me out for lunch.  Feeling quite useless and shot down, I sulked and headed out.  See, I LOVED working in the garden at our site.  I love cleaning, believe it or not.  I especially like making sure my kitchen is nice and organized.  I had so much on my To-Do List today, but RA had other plans for me.  Alas, I set out for lunch and a quick trip to the grocery store, and came back with swollen ankles, feet and sausage toes.  RA's super power this time?  A very big warning that I should have taken seriously all day.  All day, my rheumatoid arthritis was telling me that I had already gone too far.  All day, I ignored it and kept on doing what I wanted to do. 

Pride goeth before the fall.

During the one hour drive home, I slept.  For the next three hours, I slept on the couch, unable to budge.  Do I recall a Mac Truck and I having a collision?  Oh yeah...pride.  I was unable to take it easy, watching my husband work so hard, and my children run around playing.  Pride-and a lot of restlessness.  This illness has not harnessed my restlessness, which seems to be a downfall of mine.  Therefore, I lose my balance; the balance between what I am capable of doing at any given moment ('cause that is how RA rolls), what my body is willing to let me do and what I WANT and NEED to do!!  Anyone else have a hard time with this balance? 

I was cursing RA at the campground, feeling sorry for myself.  And after I woke up from my nap, it occurred to me, that I was the one being difficult, not my RA.  I was the one living OUT OF HARMONY with my illness and pushed myself to where I am this moment after a day like today.  And then I thought of the weird and wonderful creatures I introduced to the students and their adaptations/super powers.  What is the purpose of my RA super powers?  What does my RA protect me from?  MYSELF!

What's your RA Super Power?

Keeping it real...Keeping it SUNNY!  Many blessings!


  1. That is an awesome post honey!!! You did a lot this weekend and I am very proud and thankful for what you accomplished! I LOVE YOU TIG

  2. your words continue to be on the mark

  3. Wonderful posting. It reminded me that I need to do a better job of listening to my body instead of crashing when I've gone too far. Too far wouldn't happen if I would have just listened earlier... Funny how that happens. Thanks for this page.

  4. Very much where I stand. I want to believe that I can still do it all and then regret it when my body is in all out revolt. Then I find myself wanting to throw a big pity party for myself. Pride definitely is something I need to keep in check before it does me in.

  5. My super-power is that I knit. I knit alot! Despite my arthritis in 15 joints of my hands. I just refuse to stop. Sometimes my wrists get awfully sore, but this is one thing I refuse to let go of. I can no longer work as a teacher due to my rheumatoid and i certainly will not give up something else that gives me joy!:-)
    How do you cope with teaching with rheumatoid?

  6. Not sure how I am coping, actually...Grace of God, I suppose!

  7. I know it's hard, girl. Huge hugs. We're so lucky to have spouse's and/or family enough to keep us from being our own worst enemy. I felt so bad last week because my 67 yo mother, who survived stage IV colon cancer, wouldn't let me get on a ladder to patch a wall. I actually argued with her until my husband overheard and asked me to do something else. I didn't catch on until a little later because he almost never asks me to help him find something. *sigh*

  8. This is wonderfully worded..... RA may be the boss of pain and etc. at times but through it all your heart leads the battle.. Positivity is my super-power. (((HUGS)))