Having Hope and Keeping it Alive

Think positive, do not negative

I know it can be hard to have hope when you have spent years seeking answers and trying to find treatment options that allow you to live a normal life and even then, your life is not normal. It look me over ten years to get a diagnosis for what was wreaking havoc inside my body so I can tell you from experience that sometimes hope can dwindle. Despite that, I think it is important to hold on to hope.

So what is hope anyway? Hope is the belief that good things are head. It is a way of thinking, feeling, believing and acting in order to get past tough times. I have faced my own challenges since RA and fibromyalgia came into my life but hope is what has helped me to hold on. I have heard people say that hope and denial are similar because to be hopeful means to pretend things aren’t as they are. I don’t believe that. To me, hope means finding a way to deal with difficult times and overcoming fears and doubts. Hope means I can be honest and true to myself and I can look for positive outcomes. Without hope, survival is impossible.

Hope is different for everyone and it can be different at different points in our lives. These days, I hope for remission and strength to do what I need to do despite not being in remission. I hope that I can continue to be strong for my children and for my mother. I hope that each day living with chronic pain gets easier and I feel like my continued hope guides me to the person I strive to be.

Some people find hope through spirituality and/or religion. Sometimes people look to science and medicine for hope. Others look to those they love for hope. Hope can come from one resource or from a combination. When finding hope, there is no right or wrong way.

Hope also changes. That is what is so unique about it. Moreover, it is adaptable and accommodating and hope changes as often as our lives, our goals and our dreams do. When we find ourselves losing hope, we need reexamine our goals and find ways to be more realistic about hope. We cannot always change certain outcomes but we can look to hope for answers. After all, it is about changing your response and not necessarily what is out of your hands.

There are times where hope isn’t easy to find. The challenges that come into our lives are often out of one’s control. Life’s struggles can be daunting and can create uncertainty. Hope is what helps us to move past the disappointments and obstacles. Even when challenges are huge, hope helps us to find the courage and the strength to face them head on.

Just like many of us, I have had my ups and downs living with RA and fibro. For me, hope isn’t just about me; it is out those who love. My kids rely on me for hope and I am not about to let them down. If I don’t have hope, how will they have hope?

Worrying about the future


From the moment of diagnosis with a chronic illness, like rheumatoid arthritis, patients begin to have feelings of uncertainty and questions about the future. While patients are looking for measurable results, many of the questions they have do not have tangible answers.

Shortly after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I wanted to know whether things would get worse for me and whether I could continue to contribute financially and to take care of my family.  I desperately wanted someone to offer me a response that was quantifiable and the only response my rheumatologist offered was that she did not know and the course of the disease is different for everyone.

Most doctors will advise a patient that rheumatoid arthritis differs by individual and that symptoms can range from mild to severe.  This can include periods of flare-ups and inflammation and also, stages of remission.  Moreover, there are no defining factors to predicting what the future with rheumatoid arthritis holds.  As a result, patients have doubts that start to set in about the insecurity that rheumatoid arthritis will bring into their lives.

I had many questions, especially in the first year after my diagnosis, including whether I would become disabled, how having rheumatoid arthritis would affect my life and my future plans, and whether I could continue to work and to care for loved ones. I have not found any concrete answers to these questions. I have just discovered that, rather than focusing on the unknown, my energy would be better served by learning to manage my disease and finding healthy ways to cope.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis pain can create uncertainty and unpredictably so it is not unusual for RA patients to worry about the future.   What it comes down is accepting and understanding that the future cannot be predicted and that there is point in prompting feelings of stress and anxiety that will only have a negative impact on your disease and overall health.  By accepting your current situation and finding effective ways to manage your disease and healthy methods for coping, you can give yourself the best outcomes possible.