On lessons learned and the importance of living in the present

Some of you may know that over ten yeas ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) which is a disease that causes the immune system to suddenly go into overdrive by attacking the body. Periodically and unpredictably  Flare occurs not only causing extreme pain ( I know combat vets who have been wounded and take a bullet wound over a flare) and depending of the area affected minor to extreme disability. This is not your grandmothers arthritis which it often gets confused with…it is in the same category as Lupus and MS.

So you may ask what does this have to do with the price of beer on Sunday? Well, when I was first diagnosed I was working as potter (in addition to photography) and I quickly learned that I had to stay in the present and focus on getting done what I needed to get done one day at a time. I could never know if I would be physically able to do something the following day. I kept up with this approach to life, practicing a number of meditative techniques to keep me grounded and focused.

It took a year or so to find the right combination of drugs and alternative treatments mostly acupuncture and Tai Chi and Qui Gong, once the right combo started working I continue for some time to follow my mindfullness strategies. However, after a couple of years Flare free or at least only minor flares I started forgetting about what it was like before re-mission.

Over the last year I switched to another drug regimen and one of the component drugs started to effect my liver, after months of tests the drug was eliminated altogether. However, this was the key element that had kept me Flare free. suddenly, in months following the drug’s elimination the old Flares started to return but only with minor “tolerable” intensity. That started to change over the last month with flares reaching or exceeding what I had experienced early on. December 28th I started noticing  pain in my right ankle but thought little of it, then on the 31st the pain turned into swelling and intensity until by mid aternoon I couldn’t walk even with a cane. For a day I improvised by using a step stool as a walker until my dear wife was able to get a real one. Generally flares lasted 3 days witht he second day being the worse. This one was different five days after its onset I still need a cane to move around since the foot will not take weight.

The reason for this post is to share with all of you the importance of living in the present, pay attention to your life by not sweating the small stuff. Focus on what is important to you the kinds o things that make a difference that would if passed up be a source of regret. Take a chance move out of your comfort zone, live as if there would be no tomorrow. It took this recent disabling flare to make remember how important it is to live in the present and stop thinking about tomorrow.

Often our ANTs get in the way of us living in present, if this is the case go back to the articles on getting rid of ANTs and re-examine your habits.

Good luck and thanks for reading this.

 On lessons learned and the importance of living in the present
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