Friday, June 13, 2014. I was sitting in traffic on the New Jersey Garden State Parkway
on my commute home from work. Anyone who lives in New Jersey knows once Memorial Day hits, Friday rush hour gets even worse than it already is, with people trying to hit the Jersey Shore for the weekend. So there I was stuck, traffic was a at a dead halt and all I wanted was to get home. In that moment I came up with a strategy, a game in a way, to turn any negative situation into something positive. A strategy/game (STRATEGAME) that I like to call “Unfortunately, Fortunately.” UNFORTUNATELY I was stuck in traffic, FORTUNATELY I only had 5 more days of school until it was summer and I was blasting Pandora summer 90’s hits. This instantly put me in a better mood! Could you imagine yourself in a similar situation, wouldn’t that put YOU in a better mood?
Unfortunately/Fortunately became a strategame that I started to implement from that moment on with friends and family. I would use this in all different types of situations: work, health, road trips, giving advice, and even just for fun. Unfortunately, a bird just flew by and your head became the prime target for him relieving himself. Fortunately, this is supposed to be good luck right? Just wash it off and hope that good luck is around the corner! A strategame that anyone and everyone can apply and use throughout their day.
I started with this in 2014, but unfortunately/fortunately really has been beneficial more so in the past couple months with having to be off medicine. I have seen a lot more bad days than good days. A lot more days where my mornings start off with slowly having to put my feet on the floor and easing into daily routines, fighting through pain and joints that do not want to function right away. This can easily start a downward spiral of emotions. I read other blogs and posts from community groups that I am in for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus where people are giving up and giving in to the disease. It pains me to see posts like “I can’t handle the pain. That’s it RA you win! I give up” or “Trying to fight a battle when there is no cure is like going into a war zone knowing you are already going to lose.” I respond to these posts in hope to shed light, in hope to turn these unfortunately moments into fortunately outlooks. If you change your mindset then your behavior, outlook and mental attitude changes as well. Here is how I have put unfortunately/fortunately to practice.
Unfortunately, being on the medicine that has helped keep my RA under control is not an option when wanting to start a family. Fortunately, it has led me to see a new doctor where I gained more knowledge. You hear the saying “if it is not broke, don’t fix it.” When I was on medicine I felt I was not broken, I had my RA under pretty good control. However, quickly after stopping my routine needle that I took, my symptoms returned and there was now a need for a fix. I researched and found the Hospital of Special Surgery which has been among the top-ranked hospitals for rheumatology for 26 consecutive years. In the past I did not have to worry about how this disease could effect me while being off medicine and in the future with wanting to become pregnant. These are all issues that I discussed with my new doctor. He decided to do a more comprehensive exam with blood work. One part was a cardiolipin antibody test which are antibodies that form in response to cardiolipins which is a kind of fat in the blood. The levels of these antibodies are often high in people with abnormal blood clotting and autoimmune diseases like lupus. With further testing we determined that I have a strand of lupus as well which would need to be closely monitored during pregnancy. My fortunately mindset here lead me to research a new doctor which has put me on a path for a better understanding of my autoimmune diseases.
Unfortunately, out of every 100,000 people, 41 are diagnosed with RA every year and
about 1.3 million Americans have RA with no set cure. Fortunately, I have started this blog that led me to connect with people around the world whom I would have never known. I have been incredibly touched by the many people who have reached out to me through comments and messages. Talking to others who can relate is an experience I never thought of until I started my blog. I have connected with people all over the United States and in other countries across the world. When I started my blog adventure, I did not know what to expect. Here I was thinking my blog was a way to keep myself accountable when I was doing the elimination diet and an avenue to share awareness about the disease. Connecting with others is truly inspiring and I have
found myself becoming a huge cheerleader for others that want to be on the mission to slay RA as well.
Unfortunately, it has been 16 years since I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, fortunately I have been blessed with a strong support system. I have stayed positive and battled tough mornings, hospital visits and flare ups all with the support of my husband, family and friends. There was an article I read that relates an iceberg to RA and chronic illnesses. You only see the tip of the iceberg on the surface and what is under water (the majority) is left unseen to someone looking from above sea level. The Tip of the Iceberg (what is seen) – Deformities in the joints. Those really close to the person see the physical difficulties in the morning with trying to do routine tasks with limited mobility. What is under the surface is invisible to everyone, but the person who has the illness. I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who see the part of the iceberg that is submerged and give me the support to turn my bad days into brighter days with keeping a smile on my face.
Unfortunately/fortunately goes hand in hand with my all time favorite saying, “Everything happens for a reason”. For every unfortunately, there is a fortunately, a reason why. Unfortunately, I am coming to the end of this blog post. Fortunately, I am leaving you with a fun strategame to try out yourself. I CHALLENGE everyone next time they are in a bad mood or thinking negatively to play the strategame with themselves. Think of that fortunately that goes along with your unfortunately. Believe me it works! So until next blog I fortunately will continue to…