“It ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can GET hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep – moving – forward.”
– Rocky Balboa
I’ve seen this quote, and its General Custer and Vince Lombardi variations, many times, but it really speaks to me now. You see, I’ve been a hard hitter most of my life (metaphorically speaking, of course). Proactive, type-a, always pushing myself to be and do more. This aggressive approach has served me well, and I’m proud of my accomplishments. I’ve had some adversity, like everyone, but I’ve rarely felt a situation was out of my control.
Since developing RA, and especially over the last 6 weeks, the tables have turned. I’m taking right hooks and haymakers every minute…
In late December, I began having a major “flare”, which is RA-speak for increased levels of swelling and pain. This one, the worst I’ve had in the year since my diagnosis, has affected every joint in my body. Even with my usual RA drug cocktail, strong pain meds, lots of rest, and Ironman Muscle Spray, I cannot escape the pain, even for a minute.
The flare has caused me to miss some work, though my ability to work virtually much of the time has limited that (BIG thanks to my company and my great team!!!). It also landed me in a wheelchair during a family outing, and even forced me to reschedule a planned weekend in Las Vegas.
As I fight, Rocky’s quote is helping me refocus my energy, strengthening me. Instead of hitting first, I’m learning to absorb punches, so I can avoid a knockout. I keep thinking of the scene in Rocky IV, when Rocky encourages Drago to keep hitting him, gaining inner strength from the onslaught.
I don’t think my victory will end a Cold War :), but I’m borrowing this approach in my battle with RA. I feel stronger emotionally every day, and am making forward process (like starting this blog), despite getting punched daily by the disease. Hopefully, the 12th round bell will ring soon on this flare, but I know there will be another in the near future, and I’ll again call on the Italian Stallion for inspiration.