"Good enough" is definitely relative. For me, it's that point where the meds are doing all they can do, and I am doing all I can do to relieve the pain (massage therapy, creams), maximize my movement (stretching, exercise), and follow the dietary plan I created for myself (eating good food instead of junk). That's the hardest part for me -- doing everything I am supposed to be doing. LOL.
I am considered to be in remission - please know that it can happen!! I was 37 when I was diagnosed in 2004 - 3 days after I quit smoking. Once the nicotine was out of my system, my body reacted - immediately - and my muscles and joints seemed to shrivel like a 200-year-old apple from the effect. I woke up the next morning and could barely move. I couldn't even hold a pencil. I was devastated - I have four kids and competed taekwondo on a national circuit and thought I would be like that for the rest of my life.
Over the past 10 years, I have worked hard to reduce my arthritis symptoms, lose weight, get healthy overall. It works - when I do what I'm supposed to do. I am way too heavy right now, and I can feel how that stresses my joints, so I have started a slow but steady workout regimen to strengthen my muscles. I lift weights on the bowflex that I bought a few years ago (starting light and few reps and building as I can), I've started a salsa dance aerobics DVD that I got through the SparkStore (the set came with Salsa, Jazz, and two others I didn't even look at because they're way beyond my abilities at the moment - lol).
It takes time, and energy, and willingness to invest in yourself, but it can be done!
I was able to stop taking methotrexate about 4 years ago, and was completely off meds for about a year-and-a-half. About 6 months ago, I started taking etodolac (Lodine) again, once a day. That's from the effect of carrying 253 pounds on my 5'6" frame instead of the 175 I used to weigh. But that's the only medication I take, other than daily vitamin and calcium supplements. I stretch for about 5-7 minutes before I get out of bed each morning (longer when the weather changes). For the most part, that's the worst of it.
I got discouraged, too, when it hurt so much, or the frustration level built to a point where all I wanted to do was explode. Hang in there! Know that it *can* get better and that you do have some control over what's going on.
Hope this helps -
It's a great day to be alive!
"I can do all things through Jesus Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
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