I struggled with my health most of my life. As a child, it was asthma. After it seemingly disappeared in my teens, I struggled with my weight. That I managed in my early twenties to the point where I was fit, and healthier than I had ever been by 25.
When I was 27 I was in two car crashes, the first in September and the second in November. After the September crash I had a bit of PTSD. I couldn’t drive for more than a month – I would go into a panic attack.
The latter crash left me more emotionally unstable, but that’s a different topic altogether.
Over the next twelve months I struggled to regroup, but also found myself with physical limitations. At first it was a cramp in my foot. Then it extended into my leg. By October I could barely walk without the use of a cane.
Medical testing took a long time, but they finally diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis the following January. Then the medication came. It was a cocktail of drugs meant to keep my body from destroying itself. I took those medications, switching prescriptions six times in four years, until I took myself off of them.
Now I’m working through the periodic discomfort of joint inflammation with yoga, supplements, meditation, and relaxation exercises. My doctor says it’s okay, as long as I keep monitoring my symptoms. So, I do. And hope that I won’t need to take any medication for it again.
I sometimes hold the belief that the RA-diagnosis is incorrect. Or, rather, that it’s caused by something related to the collisions, or maybe even how I treated my body over the years – I wasn’t always the most attentive caretaker for my health needs.
And I hold out hope that some day the discomfort will leave me completely, or at least be unnoticeable. Most days now I feel pretty good. Some days it’s still tender in the foot, ankle, and leg – but I no longer need assistance while walking. And I still don’t take medication.