Some of us lupus patients and those with similar types of inflammatory arthritis find that activities of daily living are sometimes nearly an insurmountable challenge. Sometimes, with inflammatory arthritis, just doing normal everyday activities of life becomes much more difficult than we would like! Lupus, psoriatic, rheumatoid, gout or other auto-immune or inflammatory arthritis can affect hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and feet. The inflammation and pain can impair normal functions, and can be very frustrating at times.
As I was driving to work this week, I pondered a list of some everyday things that lupus arthritis has affected in my personal life. Somewhat recently, I after ten years off of the NSAID Sulindac due to remission of joint inflammation, I started taking it again. I was greatly relieved that, when added to my other lupus medications (Benlysta, plaquenil, prednisone) the resumed prescription NSAID relieved most of my arthritis symptoms. The severity of increasingly painful and disabling arthritis in my hands was greatly reduced.
I have the use of my hands back! I was thankful as I thought about these simple daily activities that I can do again or at least do better. Just a couple of months ago these activities were at times excruciating and nearly impossible:
holding a hair dryer
putting on pantyhose
fastening a necklace or bracelet clasp
opening pill bottles
sealing a zippered sandwich bag
pulling the foil seal off a coffee creamer bottle
opening my favorite thermal Starbucks mug
Out and About and at Work
opening a car door
opening binder rings
using a stapler
opening a new bottle of soda
opening a plastic packet of Taco Bell sauce
carrying a shopping bag
walking through a shopping mall
climbing a flight of stairs
putting a case of soda into a shopping cart
pulling credit cards out of a wallet
opening plastic merchandise packages
turning the key in a stiff lock
cutting uncooked meat with a knife
turning on appliance switches
opening a soda can or bottle
turning the knob on my can opener
holding a heavy skillet
stirring stiff cookie dough
pushing down the faucet sprayer button
taking off boots
Weekends or Anytime (some of these I still can’t do)
turning socks right-side out
doing the laundry
changing bed sheets
moping a floor
pulling weeds and grass in the garden
walking up stairs
washing my car
playing my violin
Vacations (these are still on the “no” list)
Walking through amusement parks in the daytime
Canoeing (part of my past)
When each of these actions is difficult and painful to do through out my day, I have a choice how I will respond to the frustration and difficulty of the moment.
Can I make the pain go away in that moment? No.
Can I by wishing it so, make my joints strong and healthy again? No way.
Can I make my lupus go into remission, or better yet go away? Certainly not!
However, I can adjust and do things in new ways, slow down, pace myself, and at times humble myself to ask others to help me with what I cannot do myself.
I resolve to not let this minor string of daily inconveniences steal my joy! Perhaps, if I can just borrow a sliver of the light of God’s wisdom, I can then see reasons to thank Him for these present difficulties. Out of the little struggles of day-to-day life such as these, our character is formed.
Perhaps, a new list of things that I can still do, despite my lupus, could be prime mental fodder for my next commute.