USA Today Weekend edition for 1/09/2011, has an article that alleges “a few lifestyle changes can slow, or stop joint damage.” I don’t know where to begin! I suppose analyzing their allegations is one place to start:
“20 minutes of cardio exercise a day.” If I even TRIED to do that much cardio, or work up to it, I’d end up in the ER screaming for a prednisone injection and some pain meds. I’ve tried that before. All I end up with is a flare – flares indicate ongoing inflammation. Ongoing inflammation = bone destruction in the joints. I got a DVD for “Chair Aerobics.” It works somewhat, but I have to be really careful how long I do it. I did it for 5 minutes one day, and flared for the next 3 days. OK. Cut it back to 3 minutes. Just how much good is that going to do me??? Building up? I flare and I’m back at the beginning all over again. And again. And again. And ad nauseum.
“Cut Calories.” Sure. I HAVE cut my calories, but without the ability to exercise, my weight stays about the same. I would have to cut my calories below 800/day in order to lose some weight at this point. And that will only reduce what little muscle mass I have left. It won’t remove the fat. Oh yeah, in the same paragraph they talk about adding fish oil. Anyone ever read the package info and look at the calorie content of those fish oil pills? And you should take HOW many?
“Try tai chi.” I’d LOVE to. OK, where is the nearest Tai Chi instructor? 35 miles – each way. Long drive for me. Do the drive, do the Tai Chi, drive home. Collapse. Be in agony for the next 3 days. I got a DVD for chair Tai Chi. I can last about 3 minutes before my shoulders and neck start screaming at me.
“Reconnect with your spouse.” Reconnect? I am already connected to the sweetest, most helpful man in the world! We talk about everything – absolutely everything. He helps me with everything except pottying (he just can’t do it). So far, I haven’t needed that, but if I do, we’ll work it out together. He helps me dress and undress, in and out of my chair, in and out of the bathtub/shower, washes my hair, washes my body, rinses me, dries me off. Cooks for me, talks to me, gets my favorite movies for me on Netflix. Sleeps next to me, helps me up as needed. Holds me during the worst pain moments. Tells me he loves me. And I know he does. As he knows I love him. If a good relationship with my spouse would cure or even lessen my disease, I’d be in spiffy shape now!
No, I have RA because my mother had RA and my father’s sister had RA, and my mother’s mother had a form of gouty arthritis that was probably inflammatory – never diagnosed – she just gritted her teeth as her feet deteriorated. It was in my genes. I might have avoided the full blown RA if I had not had a major case of infectious mononucleosis in college. Still might have escaped part of it if I had not had the stressed out year and a half from hell when my XH left me and the children, declared bankruptcy forcing us to leave our home, move 2 times in a 5 month period of time. STILL might have escaped it had my mother not died when she did. Then, (my new husband and) I moved again – for the 3rd time in 18 months. That sustained crisis stress, and the ongoing stress involved with dealing with bereft children and an uncooperative XH took it’s toll. The following year I began to have problems walking due to foot pain. For 30 years I was misdiagnosed and kept on NSAIDS of one type or another until my stomach lining was so thin I couldn’t take them anymore.
My husband and I have had a wonderful relationship for over 30 years, now. So we don’t need counseling, and we don’t need to “reconnect.”
Get it straight, people! Autoimmune diseases are genetic. Any number of things, including infections and stress can trigger it off. Some cardio, Tai Chi, weight loss and “reconnecting” with my spouse won’t help.