p>I just got back from my run and it felt like Julie Moss’ 1982 Ironman Hawaii finish (except for the part where my bowels release).

I’ve contemplated blogging about this for quite a while, but didn’t want to come across as a whiner…..but after today’s run I need to vent. I’ve been battling/living with rheumatoid arthritis since I was 12 years old. A couple of times it has gone into remission for short periods where I’ve even been able to go off my medications, but it has been solidly with me since 2000. In the last year it has continually gotten worse to the point where I am now. I’ve recently had to start giving myself injections as well as my usual dosage of methotrexate (which is also used as a cancer drug). It’s nasty stuff with a list of possible side effects a mile long that scare the crap out of me.

The injections have helped me get the pain and swelling under control, but the fatigue is still with me and it’s ridiculous. I’m tired a lot of the time. It’s drastically affecting the quality of my workouts, as well as the quality of energy I have for my partner and daughter. I’m tired of being tired. I’m frustrated with crappy workouts. My daughter Bella was biking along side me this morning on my run – I had to stop and walk several times because it felt like I was dying. She asked “Why do you keep giving up so easily?” That statement coming from her is so NOT OKAY. The mantra most often repeated in our family is “We don’t give up.”

I’m just gonna say it: I’m angry and frustrated. Big picture, I know this is a minor issue – there are a lot of people that have it much worse off than me and I should be thankful that I can still run and move – but I have certain standards for myself and it’s hard when I struggle to meet them. I make a point to remind myself that there’s something to be learned from every experience, and that I need to gain what I can and grow as a person because of it. (Look at me, I’m starting to feel better already.)

I don’t want to make this all about me. In a way, this is your story too. WE ALL HAVE OBSTACLES IN TRYING TO LIVE HEALTHY LIFESTYLES. Guaranteed, there will always be something standing in our way: lack of time, a busy schedule, long work hours, family obligations, planning, injury, illness… How we choose to respond to these obstacles defines who we are. It’s a daily struggle. But a struggle well worth the effort. Every step we take to doing something positive for our bodies and minds is a step forward.

This is not going to stop me. It hasn’t for the past 26 years I’ve lived with it, so why should it now? There will be better days and there will be worse days. As long as I keep moving forward it’s success. Granted, I may not be taking as big of steps some days because my body’s not cooperating but steps forward are better than steps backward.

I guess I’m going to keep doing what I’ve always been doing: giving arthritis the big middle finger and moving on with my day. Thanks for listening.