At the last appointment with my rheumatologist, we discussed the nature of my RA: aggressive, non-responsive, and difficult to treat. The PA, who is really great, is frustrated that they can't find the right combination of meds. I think she's more frustrated than I am. During our talk I told her, "I live with the pain every day, but it could be worse. I'm functioning ."
To be honest, I'm losing confidence that my condition will ever improve. It certainly seems inexorable. The best I can hope for is to remain stable, which just isn't going to happen. On a day-to-day basis, I feel like I'm not getting worse. In the short term, I think I doing pretty well. But when I look long term I can begin to see how much I've deteriorated in the last 6 or 7 years.
When I first moved back to Nampa, and joined the Nampa Rec Center, I walked to the rec center every morning, then exercised, then walked home. While it's true that I'm still exercising on an almost daily basis, there's no way I could add the walk there and back. Despite daily exercise, my physical fitness continues to decline significantly.
One of the activities I really enjoy is golf. In case you're not aware, I was a golf pro for several years, and a fairly good player. I still enjoy being on the course, with my friends, enjoying the weather, and the company, and the creativity of golf. Obviously I can't play like I used to, but I can still play.
Yesterday I played 18 holes with some friends, my second 18 hole round of the year. It wiped me out. I can't begin to tell you how exhausted I was when I got home. Over the last few years I've only played a few rounds a year. I think I've reached the point at which I won't be able to play 18 holes any more. I might have to become a nine hole player only. Playing more than that just requires too much energy.
Or I might have to be a driving range player. I regularly go the range to hit a small bucket of balls. 50 balls takes me about an hour to hit, and is about the same number of shots I would take in 18 holes. Despite my enjoyment of the game, and desire to play, it's clear my physical ability to play golf continues to decline.
Even so, I hope I don't sound defeatist, or defeated. I have a great life.
I enjoy my life despite my medical challenges.