Has anyone ever told you to be positive when you feel ill? Often in my life this has happened. Usually my blood sugar is so high I cannot see, or my joints hurt so badly I can barely walk. But just be positive. Really, be positive?
I have nothing against being positive. I want to be positive. I want to be happy, chipper, full of life. A fellow blogger once said my blogs needed to be more upbeat if I wanted an audience. Maybe they are correct, after all I could use more readers. But here is the thing I write how I feel and some days I feel awful. I can feel mischievous, funny, sometimes I can feel really good, but when my joints hurt or my blood sugar is 300 I have a tough time being positive. So should I put on a mask and make it look easy? I think not. Sometimes I need to just let it out and let it fly, I think that when I feel awful, I need to express that. If that means a few less readers, I suppose that is my fate. Yes, it is true the more upbeat I am the more readers, I tend to get, but at what cost?
As I have read most RA bloggers it falls into two distinct camps. The first is the highly technical blog that recounts the science of having RA and the various treatments. Things like the disease process and how medication works are often discussed. I am not that sort of blogger, I most often give links to scientists who explain those things, then explain them myself. I suppose one thing I learned in college is to use the experts and I tend to read them myself, so I figure others want to do the same. At any rate, I am not that guy.
The second kind of RA blogger is mostly in severe pain and expresses that. I hate it for my friends who are in such pain and yes it is very real. I have been there. I can recall the days when walking across the room was a major burden and my body was like a swollen watermelon ready to explode. It is real and anyone who suggests differently has never felt that intense pain, it is awful. But today at least I am not that guy either. I have flares and until about noon each day I am a groggy walking zombie. But in the afternoon most days my life returns a bit. I get to ride my bicycle in the evening and watch TV, until tomorrow when the issues start again.
The exception is when I have flares. These flares happen at unexpected and unpredictable times and they can completely sideline me. It is RA’s way of reminding me it is still hanging around, still ready to pounce and take me out. It is remarkably difficult to cope with the anvil of not knowing when, where, or how something will attack.
Which leaves me in the nowhere man’s land of RA blogging. I am not so ill I need to express pain all the time and I am not a scientific minded person, who reports on disease. Instead, I am an average fellow with good and bad days. I need my blogs to reflect the ups and downs of having RA meaning sometimes I can be positive and other times I just cannot do it.
Diabetes is a different sort of disease than the RA. Both are with you constantly, but one (RA) is primarily medically controlled while the other (diabetes) is controlled with medicine and human choices. So when my young friend says be positive, she is speaking of the human choice factors that go into the managing the disease.
So be positive, do not let high blood sugar get you down, pony up and soldier on, work it out get it down. Well yes, after 41 years I have found that attacking high or low blood sugar is best. I would never sit down and say well, it licked me, I am folding my tent and going home. Nonsense, when my blood sugar is high I bring it down. Not with positivity, but with exercise, and insulin. I believe in attacking diabetes, not hoping for the best. So is positivity one thing I attack diabetes with? Yes, it is some days, and other days I attack it with complete anger, determination or even fear.
The thing is when a person without RA or Diabetes tells me to remain positive I want to run away. Please do not tell me to remain positive until you face this stuff and remain positive. I am a positive person most days. I am also an angry person some days, angry that I have this crap and that I have to deal with it. Angry that I count carbs, angry that others walk 10 feet in front of me while I struggle to keep up, angry that I am tired most days, angry that I have to plan my days to avoid mornings, angry that I have to visit many doctors and angry I take many pills.
But I am also happy to be alive, happy to hug my grandchildren, happy that my sons are doing well and thrilled that I have the means and life that Sheryl and I have made for ourselves. I am happy to share my story, and I am thrilled that others sometimes like to hear about how I cope with these two diseases.
In short, I am human. I have good and bad days. Some days I am fearful, some days I am angry, and some days I just want to cry out and say enough already. Oh, and yes, some days I am a positive person, and guess what I do not need folks who do not face these issues telling me to be positive. I am already even if I do not show it all the time.