Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Change, The Path and The Pilgrimage...


I was told this week (yesterday) that I have something called Rheumatoid Arthritis. And it doesn't change anything.


I've had it for years, and I've known this. The only difference now is that it has a name. (And some smart drugs to go with it.) But, still, it doesn't change anything...


I've been living with this for so long already, it doesn't change all that I've done. Even my doctor is surprised that I'm so healthy and relatively unscathed by what could be so debilitating. I was the youngest person in the waiting room yesterday. The older people, with their crippled hands and arthritically-mangled bodies looked at me like I didn't belong to their club. Secretly, I do. But the bigger secret is that I know that I won't ever be like them. Why? Because this doesn't change anything.


It's a part of my path, not a blockade. In my spinning and wandering, it brings me back to myself, to my simple, finiteness, to the reality that I must love my body and take time to feel my feet on the ground. If anything, I know where my boundaries are without feeling enclosed. It enhances my consciousness of self. It makes me deeper. It makes me sweeter.


I don't feel doomed, nor do I feel like a victim of circumstance, genetics, or what have you. Knowledge is power. If anything, this gives me the power to live a full life without having they typical American guilt that I'm not doing enough, going fast enough, or caring so much about superficial issues that clutter the path at any rate. I never cared about these things anyway.


Despite it, I've done so many amazing things already, and it doesn't change where I'm going. Who knows, I may inevitably lose the battle one day, but that's something I'll think about later. For now, I have mountains to climb. Literally. I'll be walking the old, 500K pilgrimage route from France to Galacia, Spain next year. It doesn't change that I'll make it there, stronger, healthier and in one piece. If anything, it will only change the fact that the process will mean a great deal more to me, and the victory at the end will be even sweeter. But really, it doesn't change anything. Nope. Not at all. Not one bit.

7 comments:

VJ said...

Sorry to hear that N. That's a different sort of pilgrim's progress. You're right, RH does not typically hit folks your age, but it does a nasty bit on kids too. Travel is always a good balm, and I wish you well on the great hike. I imagine it'll take you the better part of a season or 2 perhaps to complete. It only gets braver with age, so it's nice to be doing it while you can still catch your breath for wincing.

I've got many friends who travel like mad to keep just ahead of all their various ailments & diseases. One intrepid traveling woman uses her much put upon hubby as her sherpa guide for her world travels with her wheelchair. I'm almost certain she's not likely to be with us a decade hence, but she keeps going & traveling & enjoying herself. It's the only way to stretch out what little time we have left on this mortal coil. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

VJ said...

That should have been RA above. My mind is on genetics at the moment. There's lots of resources on the web about this and other forms of arthritis,including here: [http://www.arthritis.org/]. Welcome to the beginning of maturity N! Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

lydia eve said...

not sure if you remember me from college, but i have had rheumatoid arthritis my whole life (the juvenile form, now just regular adult RA symptoms). i worked at the arthritis foundation for over 5 years, too... then had to leave because it was making my RA worse, how's that for irony. anyway, let me know if you ever want to chat about this crap! :) uvaleg at gmail.

Namaste said...

thanks VJ. much appreciated.

Namaste said...

lydia!? wow! it's so nice to hear from you. thanks for the message...and yes, I do remember you! my gosh, girl, you look positively radiant in your wedding pictures! congratulations to you and your lucky fellow!

and thank you for the kind words. i will be in touch! :)

Emily said...

I read your blog sporadically and just wanted to let you know that my dad is an arthritis specialist and I worked summers in his office for about 5 years. The new treatments they have out there are amazing, and many many people are able to keep their RA totally under control. If I remember correctly, staying active is the most important thing. Coincidently, my parents were just in town for the Arthritis Convention early this week. (not sure what the real name of it was)

DC Cookie said...

You have such a bright outlook. Next time we're together I'm only going to eat what you're allowed to eat, to see what it's like to live with that kind of wonderful discipline.

Heart you!

Holla when your joints hurt and your scorpio sis will come massage your fingers.