Hi everyone, I hope you are all well and fighting hard!
First off we just want to say a massive thank you! Our social media pages have been gaining more followers, likers, sharers and it is truly appreciated!
Stuff such as liking and sharing our content really helps spread our message and enables us to reach out to people all over the world and attempt to help and support them.
That was of course the aim, to make The Arthritis Fight a global movement that includes everyone, no matter what race, religion, sex, gender.
Just a group of people that will stand together and say despite chronic illness, we WON’T give up and we WILL take back control of our lives!
So once again, thank you all.
Down to business.
Over a year ago, maybe longer, I was wildly ambitious and made a statement that I wanted to go through the alphabet and list a tool for each letter.
Thereby giving people who are recently diagnosed a list of basic tools they could implement and most of all to provide them with support and let them know that there are things they can do to fight back!
It was ambitious but I told myself it would take me a few months and I would be done, nope. I started at a good pace and steadily ran out of fuel, I asked our readers for suggestions and you duly replied and gave great ideas.
The problem was that I wanted the tools to be relevant and worthwhile, I didn’t just want to go through a dictionary and look for a random word to use or a random product to suggest.
It had to be a suitable tool and I am sure you will agree the list so far is varied, there are products you can buy, food you can introduce and tools you can develop within yourself.
I believe the variety is essential in the fight.
Rich people will often say that to get their fortune they didn’t just focus on one stream of income, i.e they didn’t just pick up a wage from work they maybe then used some of that money to invest which meant they had another income stream.
An example could be a builder, a builder cannot be expected to solve every problem they face with a hammer and a screwdriver.
They need to be equipped with multiple tools, the correct tool for specific jobs.
This is how we need to think and why I have tried to provide a variety of tools.
We need a tool for swelling, one for pain, one for depression or anxiety or stress, hell some days we may need a tool just to help us peel ourselves off the bed!
The good news is I have come up with some more tools.
After speaking with sufferers or fighters as I am going to brand them from now on, something kept popping up in their frustrations and it led me to explore it and reach our next tool.
U is for Understand
I know it might appear like I have done what I said I wouldn’t do and just looked through the dictionary but that isn’t the reason for this entry on our list.
Many fighters have mentioned how they would like it if people could undertsand their disease.
To understand things like why they need a disabled parking space, why they can’t do certain activities at work or with friends, why they might have to cancel plans at the last minute.
It can be frustrating at times and I have experienced this as well.
Particularly now that I have gotten stronger and more of a grip on my arthritis, I don’t limp or appear in any visible pain so people just tend to forget.
They then invite me to do activities that at the moment there is no chance of me being able to do and when I say I can’t they look at me as if to say, really? You really can’t manage it?
And of course there is the old chestnut of cancelling plans last minute.
My wife has been amazing throughout the years when there has been plenty of times like these, we get invited somewhere with friends or we just make plans on our own and then I end up in pain beforehand and we can’t go.
It causes disappointment among your friends and family, sometimes you may even feel like you have let them down.
I am sure on occasions my wife has been disappointed but that isn’t what she displays to me in them moments, she displays understanding.
Thankfully there hasn’t been many occasions in the past couple of years that we have had to cancel plans due to my arthritis and long may that continue.
So what am I saying is the tool here? Get people to understand your condition?
No. I am merely stating a desire that is shared by many arthritis fighters and that is they wish more people understood what they go through and that is a perfectly understandable (excuse the pun) request.
There is no doubting that arthritis has forced me to change as a person, I have gotten rid of so many bad habits and now put health, both physical and mental, at the very forefront of my conscious.
It has made me assess myself, my lifestyle, my personality, my choices and it has helped me to understand.
Over the years you learn what you can do what you can’t do and what you may be able to do in time.
Arthritis is a kind of teaching disease, it has taught me if I eat processed or chemically altered food I will develop pain, if I don’t keep mobile I will have pain, if I am stressed I will have pain, if I drink alcohol I will have pain, if I do too much exercise I will have pain, if I do the wrong kind of exercise I will have pain, if I don’t have enough quality sleep I will have pain and much more.
So while it is teaching you all of these things you have the responsibility to learn and understand the lessons. If it is telling you not to eat processed foods then don’t, telling you stop drinking alcohol then stop and so on.
If you think of this as an ongoing fight against arthritis as I do, although it can be a devastating disease it is actually telling you what its weaknesses are through the medium of your body and its signals.
Let’s go further and put this in the context of a boxing match you are in your corner height weight and all that, in the other corner is arthritis. Height and weight unknown, a string of wins and apparently no losses as it is said it’s incurable.
So everyday is a battle, you wake up ding ding the bell for the first round goes. There may be many rounds throughout the day and after each one, as in boxing, you will get feedback from your corner, which in life is your bodys messages.
Maybe you have eaten a load of junk food one day and so you lose some rounds, another day you drink too much alcohol, you lose more rounds and arthritis is in control of the fight.
You get messages from your corner that what you are doing isn’t working so you change tactics, you eat fresh whole foods and win back some rounds, you exercise and get quality rest, you are less stressed.
All of a sudden you are the one winning the rounds, YOU are the one gaining control of this fight.
When a boxer has control of a fight it is obviously easier on their bodies. They are doing the right things they aren’t being punished for mistakes so there is less toll taken on their bodies.
So how did the best boxers who control fights get to that stage, they got there by training, learning, by being punished for mistakes and understanding what tactics they need to employ in order to win the fight.
Understand what works for you
I hope you understand my boxing example and that it makes sense, it did to me when I wrote it but I suppose it may still be jibberish.
Most of all though, understand what your body is telling you and respond correctly.
I have said before to those that say they are not prepared to stop eating fast food or cakes because they enjoy them, good luck to them because they will never gain control of the fight that way, there body has told them that.
Don’t sit there doing the wrong things and then say that you wish there was something you could do to not be in pain, you know what you have to do you just aren’t prepared to do it.
You want anything in life you have to put the work in. Boxers do it, they sacrifice a hell of a lot so that they can become the best fighter, so they can contol and ultimately win their fights, we should too.