Learning and Living with Chronic Illness

In the last few days I have had many questions about arthritis. Not exactly a topic I would chose to claim as an expert, but alas I am. It’s not a fun disease to deal with nor is there a cure. It’s also annoying because it’s your own body attacking your necessary body parts. As with many autoimmune diseases nobody really knows why this happens. There are theories that it’s heredity or that it is triggered by an infection, but there is no way to cure the nasty attacker.

One of the biggest misnomers about RA is that it only happens to old people. This disease strikes any age – usually females. The idea that it is an ol’foggey disease is because it gets confused with OA – osteoarthritis. OA is wear and tear on joints – which typically takes years to develop yielding a higher age group to posses the uncomfortable striker.

As the aging process takes place it seems we find that our friends and family discover unfortunate diseases, like RA, and are at a loss when it comes to dealing with it or offering support. What is it that you have been recently diagnosed with? Do you have a child or parent that battles with a disease and you are looking for support? It would be wonderful if you would share your story so this could be a place of support and information.

Dealing with a chronic illness requires a massive amount of physical and mental energy. A positive realm of support can be the best medicine and alleviate the a heavy heart when all seems lost. I look forward to your feed back and hope you have a pain free day. -trvw

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Merlin

Name: Merlin

Sex: Male (neutered)

Age: approx. 3 years

Breed: Pit Bull Mix

Merlin is a sweet, gentle dog with so much love to give. He is great with other dogs of all sizes, and loves children. Merlin will tolerate the presence of cats, but should not be considered 100% cat safe. His very favorite thing to do is to cuddle up and lay his head in your lap for lots of petting. When not cuddling, he enjoys stretching his legs in the field, then cooling off with a dip in the creek. Merlin is current on all shots, heartworm treatment and Frontline, has been neutered and has regular vet checkups with a clean bill of health. Merlin’s forever family can adopt him by contacting Southwest Missouri K9s or April Turner at UTurn Studios (417-844-6620 or april@uturnstudios.com)

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Necessary Evil

pillshotWhen it comes to managing an illness, the very medicine that adds comfort  and control to life can also strip away longevity. It is disappointing to think about how the medication that you swallow or inject into your body can be slowly killing you while at the same time it is adding value to your well-being in the short term. In order to live a better life, taking the potent poison becomes a necessary evil.

However, on a positive note, medicine is evolving all the time. Hopefully advances will be able to cure diseases and omit the need for drugs while correcting any damage done from taking medicine. I have been injecting and swallowing poisons since I was a child as a means to cope with rhuematoid arthritis.  It scares me to think what is happening to my body when I take something that is supposed to be helping me. At the same time I can’t let the RA continue to attack my joints and potentially cripple my valuable, active lifestyle.

The best way I deal with this issue is by trying to take care of what I do have. Take a look around at the people that abuse their health with excessive alcohol, smoking, or bad food. They are no healthier than I am. I focus on being happy and putting value to the life that I have. I have no choice but to put my fear aside and hope that my efforts will pay off. If I live with a positive attitude then I will get more out of my time alive then I ever will if I sulk and wonder what if.

It’s not that I never get worried about how the disease is controlling my fate or if I’m trading one evil for another. I have to clench my teeth and swallow my pride when I see my knuckles swell. Some of the scary thoughts that worry me I have to push away because I refuse to let them control me. Surrounding myself with supportive and caring people is one of the best ways to fight off the necessary evils in life. No matter who you are or what you are dealing with, there comes a time when you have to make decisions that will leave you wondering “what if?” Don’t live in the “what ifs” of life because the “what it is” of life is waiting for you to make the most of it. -pm

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Parental Control

lollyTo understand type 1 diabetes is to understand a life of schedules, “diet” food, shots, meters, medicine, and more. The American Diabetes Association defines it like this: “Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.”

It can be managed but not cured. This autoimmune disease is difficult for the person stricken with it; to know they struggle with it takes understanding from everyone around them. There is a lot of chemistry that goes on in the body and when it gets out of control it makes life hard.

Having a parent with a disease is never easy-it means having compassion, understanding, and knowing that it’s ok to get mad sometimes. I have a parent with type 1 diabetes (lets abbreviate – t1d). So the things that I write will be from the kid point of view. I hope to offer tips and suggestions for families that have t1d in their lives.  I’m not a shrink or doc so use advice – as on any site – to your discretion. I’m just a person with experience willing to share if it might help. -pm

 

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About

Physical Matters…because it does. Physmat is all about things that make you healthy and happy. It is a place that will focus on health, fitness, nutrition, the environment and more. The goal is to provide you with information that will help you be the most complete you. Forever Fit!

Trina Rachelle VerSteeg Wilcox is an on air talent, writer, and columnist with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University. She is a certified fitness professional through FiTour and the Arthritis Foundation. Trina is a three-time Boston Marathon finisher, former aerobics instructor, and is the director of the JRA 5K. Although Trina has battled rheumatoid arthritis from childhood into adulthood, she has used a positive focus to prevail in a variety of ways. She has many interests including nature, art, and fitness. Trina writes to encourage and teach others as well as herself.

Contact Trina at pm@physmat.com and learn more at trinarachelle.com.

Site Disclaimer:

All information on physmat.com is for educational purposes only.
It is not a substitute for any advice given to you by your physician.
Consult your physician before you begin any nutrition, exercise, or other program.
Physical Matters (physmat.com) assumes no liability for information contained herein.
Physical Matters or any person(s) associated with physmat.com will be held responsible in any manner whatsoever for any injury which may occur through reading and/or following information within this site.
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If you have any questions, please contact pm@physmat.com.

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Juvenile Activity

Did you know that there are nearly 300,000 children in America with some form of arthritis or rheumatic disease? There are 8.4 million young adults between the ages of 18-44 who have arthritis. How painful is that? There are too many diseases that deserve recognition, especially when kids are suffering. Arthritis hits home for me because of my early diagnosis with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Growing up with the disease was (and continues to be) a challenge. An active lifestyle is one of the best forms of treatment. If remaining active can improve the life of an awkward gal like me then just imagine what it can do for you!

Learn more about JRA:

http://www.arthritis.org/juvenile-arthritis.php

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