RA and the View from Behind

I am a slow walker and frankly I am tired of the view from behind. I like walking side-by-side or ahead—I hate behind. These days I am slow, and as the effects of Rituxan seem to fade, I am increasingly slower and even more behind when walking.

I can manage

Admittedly, it is not terrible. I realize other folks with rheumatoid arthritis have it much worse. So to keep my dislike of dragging around behind the pack in perspective, I try to find some humor in my slowness situation. As I fall behind I imagine being towed. When my hands hurt, I say they are aching for a blog. When my feet hurt, I think they are aching for a walk. And when I am so tired I can barely move, I tell myself I am ready to sleep on my latest idea.

I have also taken some steps to correct the situation. I spoke to my doctor, restarted Arava, and I am looking for ways to deal with the inevitable mouth sores that will come. I am trying to take my life a little easier and I am exercising more. Still, I seem to be slipping further back with more regularity. Over time I am losing ground, and I hate it.

Still I think of myself slowing things down

These days I seem to be an anchor, someone being dragged along, not kicking and screaming, but certainly slowing things down. I dislike being an anchor. I recall those words, “drop the anchor boy,” that my father would say when we got to a fishing place. I wonder if my wife will someday yell, “drop anchor,” referring to me.

The other day when my wife and I walked into a mall, things were progressing at a normal pace, side-by-side, our destination agreed to before we left the car. But then I started to slip and I noticed I was trailing. At a first a few inches, then a foot, and then a few feet. That was when it happened. My wife stopped so I could catch up. This made me upset with myself. Why was I slowing progress? Why was I again viewing the world from behind?

I know this is a petty minor problem. After all, being a few feet behind is my issue and no one else’s. My wife is loving and caring and never wants to push me along while we walk. She never scolds or asks me to hurry up and she waits and is considerate. But still I feel like such a failure when I fall behind. It is a personal issue that I am trying to overcome.

Some options

Perhaps I need a personal improvement course? Maybe I need a book ‘The Joy of 20 Paces Behind’? Maybe I need a podcast, ‘Falling Behind to Get Ahead’? Maybe I could get a sign attached to my hind side. ‘Caution slow traffic’? Maybe I need to attach a long flexible pole with an orange flag to my hat so I can be identified when I do fall behind?

Perhaps falling behind will just teach me some humility. After all, as a young man I liked to lead. I loved being in front, having others following behind. I suppose that when we have RA we gain humility out of necessity. Maybe in the whole scheme of things having a solid dose of humility is just part of the RA gig. It sort of comes with the territory.

Maybe the lesson is that I need to just find pleasure in being behind? Walk at my own speed and smell the roses? Learn to enjoy the view. After all, there are some advantages to walking behind.



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Rick, sometimes my feet won’t bend (tendon damage and arthritis). I’ll hobble along behind everyone with you. We’ll just tell everyone we are stopping to smell the flowers and admire the view.


I was immediately reminded of one of my most favorite Bruce Springsteen songs "Should I Fall Behind"


THisis one of my favorites as well Marie. THis is a great addition to the blog

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