— Oct. 2
Dave writes about his relationship to his disease (cancer) and the difference his perspective made. It was not as a victim. It was not with denial.
I had to laugh when he mentioned that attitude can boost the immune system. We with auto-immune arthritis diseases are trying to suppress our immune function to survive. So many good things increase immune function: from laughter to orange juice. We wonder if anything we do is right, anymore. I’m laughing out loud anyway at Dave’s process of naming his cancer. It’s not an alien force so he asks whose cancer is it, anyway?”
I smiled remembering times I’ve been chastised for casually using the phrase, “my RA” since the disease is so heterogeneous. Yours is not like mine. Heck mine is not like mine over time – it’s a moving target. But back to Dave: “Mind you, who am I to know how to fight a cancer?? Do I know anything about the biology of cancer? No. But now my outlook is that I have a cancer in my life, and I’m doing what I can to manage it …. and I’m creating new ways to interact with it…”
– – Oct.10
CH 9, Second post
What good can come of blogging about cancer?
“But I do have an answer to the question, ‘What do you get out of writing the blog?’ A daily reminder that none of us walks this road alone.” Community.
When a friend asked him how much the online community made a difference in his recovery, Dave wrote, “What I do know is that emotions and support are well documented as being beneficial to the immune system, and that’s a good thing.” Again, with the immune system! LOL. Well, let’s just hope a happy immune system is one that won’t attack any organs or bone tissue.
Dave refers to a study about
The therapeutic value of blogging
The Scientific American blog reports: Blogging–It’s Good for You: The therapeutic value of blogging becomes a focus of study
“Scientists (and writers) have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences, thoughts and feelings. But besides serving as a stress coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep…”
– – Oct. 15
“Break a leg” –
I’m not re-telling Dave’s story here. I hope you read it. The way it’s working out, I’m reading his book 2-3 times by re-reading pages. There is inspiration in the story itself that has impacted my own decision-making process. You know if you’ve read much of the blog that I believe that we must fight RA. We talk all the time about the ways we do have to fight the disease, but I’m learning more lately about fighting for our comfort or our abilities and against the many ways RA affects our lives. That can mean fighting back medically as well as mentally. I wrote a blog yesterday about some of the steps I’ve taken recently. Two encouragements to me have been Dave’s book & my friends with RA on Facebook who often share their own journeys. Don’t you love that word: encouragement? Pouring courage in.
The other feature I’m learning from Laugh, Sing, Eat… is about navigating healthcare. If you are spending your life with a chronic illness, then you are spending a lot of your time & money & effort in the healthcare system. The more you understand about the way the system works or the way the people in healthcare think, the better. This book is not a roadmap; it’s Dave’s story. However, it’s already helped me to be more empowered in my approach with my healthcare. And at least a couple of other people have told me the same thing.
– – Oct. 19
Ch. 10, second post
“Take responsibility for yourself”: Dave was paying attention to details and researching about his treatment. Does this sound boring to you? Or too difficult? It’s certainly different than most of us were taught.
A surprise setback
Physical therapy for Dave’s leg… Dave progressing with the leg… Then surprise repair to the screws in his leg. Anyone else still wince at screws in the body?
Dave’s college reunion & approaches his estimated “Drop dead date.” We who don’t have cancer, do we have one of those? I know some do. One dear woman lost her mom & her grandma to RA both at the age of 62. Don’t think that birthday doesn’t have significance to her. There is some psychological warfare to health. How should we think about the statistics of dying much sooner with RA? Sometimes I think about it. Mostly, I just tell myself that I’ll live to be very old.
My next entry coming soon…
Chapter 11 – –
Link back to The Empowered Patient main page.