Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible chronic illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different - and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren't alone!
Name: Rebecca (Beccy)
Location: Ludwigsburg Deutschland (Germany)
Age at Diagnoses: 33
How are you currently treating your conditions?
I eat less flesh, more fish, and try to eat vegan. Not always. Absolutely no eggs. I drink golden milk and curcuma as pills. I don´t have a basis medication yet, maybe tomorrow. At the moment I take prednisone 5mg daily and sometimes diclofenac or ibuprofen.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
My biggest challenge is the daily life with pain, being tired, sad, and not knowing what the future brings. My brain can´t handle the diagnosis. It´s like a new challenge every day. Is it a good or a bad day? What do people think? Can I do my household, job, and of course be a good mama for my girl? What does she think if I can´t be like before the diagnosis? Does it influence her life?
I miss my freedom. I miss waking up with no pain and fear of what the day brings. I miss roller derby so bad. Every time I want to go to the training I can´t because my body won´t let me. I miss sports. Running. 7 kilometers without pain. Just running. There were days I ran every day. Hard to imagine now. And people who don´t understand my illness are another challenge. They can´t see my pain. They can´t imagine what it feels like. I am not mad at them. I didn´t know it before. But just try to be empathic.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
Listen to your bodies. They tell you when to stop. Learn to say no. As a Mom, I know the dilemma. Don´t feel bad. Your kids feel it. Don’t lie to them. If there´s a bad day, cuddle and watch a film together. And what I´ve learned that helps me is to relax. I do Progressive Muscle relaxation and autogenous training. It helps me with the pain. And it helps me with the bad thoughts.
How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
I must. There is no other option than to handle. The good days are so special for me and my family. I try to do all the things I can´t do when there is a bad day. I feel myself and can be happier. I have lost a friend two weeks ago because of cancer. I often think, what she would have given to live. And that keeps me fighting for everything. Maybe there will be better days with fitting medication. I have hopes in science.
If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
Nothing. I lived as I wanted to live. I was like I was. That was me. With every thought. With every mistake. With every misbehavior. Everything was just easier.
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