Today I want to share a story which some of you may or may not know about, since it happened over two years ago. On May 14th, 2011, Jeffrey Gottfurcht became the first person with Rheumatoid Arthritis to reach the peak of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain. Amazing, right? You can read more about Jeffrey’s inspiring story in this article from ABC News.
For many of us, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and other forms of autoimmune arthritis have reduced our mobility due to joint damage and the presence of pain. Yet, we’re still going. We’re still walking with our swollen joints, our limps, our canes and our crutches. We’re still dancing, climbing mountains and we’re still visiting Africa in our wheelchairs. We’re still living our lives, even with the pain.
Of course, there are days when flares make moving impossible – but we have to try to not let those days get us down. We are going to have so many of those days and we have to learn to deal with them. We can’t let them break us – so make sure you don’t let them break you. Even though I have had JRA for so long and have tried so many treatments (and am still trying treatments…) there are still days when I flare and my entire body feels it’s been broken at every joint. During these flares I wonder how I’m going to accomplish anything if I’m in so much pain. It’s during these times I remind myself to breathe and to look at how far I have come with this illness. I put on some music, read a book or do work – anything to distract myself from the pain.
Readers, how do you deal with flares?
If you’re newly-diagnosed or flaring with autoimmune arthritis, it may suddenly feel like your world has gone insane and that many of your life dreams are no longer possible. Hang in there, friends. Persons like Jeffrey Gottfurcht show us that this does not have to be the case. If we fight through the tough times and keep our heads up, we usually make it. We just have to make ourselves strong and keep going.
After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Jeffrey founded the incredible Jeffrey Gottfurcht Children’s Arthritis Foundation, where children with Juvenile Arthritis may apply for wishes. Parents and younger patients, make sure you check it out.
In the article, Jeffrey says, “My ultimate message is that everybody has a Mt. Everest in their life…and no matter what condition you have, you can still go out and try things and live a life full of quality.”
Great advice to think about today. 🙂
Readers, how do you deal with flare days? Leave your suggestions or advice for others in the comments below – thanks!
Hope you are all enjoying your summers!