Thursday, July 23, 2009

We Are The Champions

champion (noun):
1. one that wins first place or prize in a compitition,
2. one who is clearly superior or has the attributes of a winner,
3. an ardent defender or supporter of a cause or another person,
4. one who fights,
5. a warrior

As you can see from the above definition, the word champion mean several different things. This blog will encompass all five definitions.

As a hard-core NY Giants fan, it was sometimes difficult growing up in a family of primarily Buffalo Bills fans. To make things more amusing I went and married a Dallas Cowboys fan who comes from a hard-core Cowboys family, except Uncle Jimmy who is a Giants fan. And now I have struck up a wonderful friendship with a Redskins fan. Who woulda thunk it?

My new Redskins-fan friend and I were bantering back and forth and doing our own style of "mud-slinging" and the last comment I sent her was this lyric from an ever-popular Queen song:

"We are the champions my friend. And we'll keep on fighting 'till the end."

When I sent it, I was in a football frame of mind. But after I sent it, the song started playing in my head and soon found myself in an RA state of mind. I started thinking about the owners of the blogs I follow. My "RA Club" (I was never really in a club before. Hell of a club to be in.) It occurred to me just then that we all are champions.

We are champions of so may things. We are champions of walking across the room, of picking up a coffee cup, of weilding a pen or pencil, of climbing a flight of stairs, of taking a walk with our kids, of walking thru the sandy beach, of weeding the garden, of riding a bike, of cleaning the house, of cooking dinner, of getting thru a yoga routine, of being intimate with a significant other, of hugging a friend...... I could go on and on and on but I think you get the point. We, who have been so unfortunate to be forces into this "club" are champions of doing the everyday things that most people take for granted.

And if it's not bad enough that we have to deal with our own body attacking ourself, we also live witht the fact that he meds we take to combat this enemy may do more harm than good. Our immune systems, in many cases, are shot. Since that is what is attacking us, it has to be stopped. We also have to be mindful of cancers, liver damage, TB...shall I go on? We also live with the fact that RA can potentially cause heart, lung, and other organ damage/failures. Oh happy days.....

All of you non-RAers out there who are reading this.....I have a few questions. When was the last time you were glad you to have the ability to tie your shoes? When was the last time you realized how lucky you are to be able to dial a telephone? When was the last time you felt grateful for being able to get out of bed? When was the last time you were glad that you could clap your hands to applaud for someone or something? When was the last time you felt blessed to be able to walk, run, skip, jump, or cart-wheel? When was the last time you thanked the higher power you answer to for allowing you to live pain-free every day? These and so many more abilities are taken for granted by most people. Simple things that many RAers just can't do. It's not because we're lazy. It's because we honestly can't do it. Below is only my story. There are thousands more like mine, many are much worse.

Within 5 months of my diagnosis I was in a constant state of exhaustion. If I had my way, I would have never left the house. I was unable to do many things, including the following:
  • wear my rings because of swollen joints
  • write legibly because I couldn't hold a pen or pencil
  • pick up small things without excruciating pain
  • straighten my left arm past 120 degrees due to an elbow contracture
  • touch the palm of my left hand to the back of my left shoulder because of the contracture
  • go for a walk with my kids because I could barely walk
  • ride a bike
  • wear flip flops
  • walk barefoot
  • twist and bend my wrists
  • walk up and down stairs (I did because I had no choice in certain situations)
  • hold a glass because I couldn't curl my fingers around it
  • pick up a coffee full cup
  • pour myself anything
  • carry heavy things
  • paint my fingers and toes, again due to small joint swelling

The list goes on. If I didn't have to bring my kids to school and go to work every day, I probably would have become one with my couch. But I didn't. Why? For the same reason the rest of us push ourselves to do the sometimes impossible.

No one ever really heard me complain. Why? How long would their sympathetic ears last? Probably not for long. No one likes a complainer.

I never asked for help. It was offered but I didn't ask. Why? I didn't want RA to take my inependence.

So, now for the definition. How does it work out for RAers?

1. We're not looking for a first place trophy in this competition with RA. We're looking to win it by total annialation of this disease.

2. Every day that we fight by any means possible, whether it's tying our shoes, going for a walk, taking meds, do something that RA prevented us from doing before,whatever, we are the winner.

3. We unconditionally support each other and the cause to find a cure for this disease.

4. We fight every single day.

5. we fight because we are warriors.

We fight RA every day with meds, diet, by our blogs and fb pages, by force. Why? Because none of us want RA to win. We will continue to fight this war every day until our enemy is defeated. Why? Because WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!!

I've paid my dues Time after time I've done my sentence But committed no crime And bad mistakes I've made a few I've had my share of sand kicked in my face But I've come through

We are the champions my friends And we'll keep on fighting till the end We are the champions We are the champions No time for losers 'Cause we are the champions of the world

I've taken my bows And my curtain calls You brought me fame and fortuen and everything that goes with it I thank you all But it's been no bed of roses No pleasure cruise I consider it a challenge before the whole human race And I ain't gonna lose

We are the champions my friends And we'll keep on fighting till the end We are the champions We are the champions No time for losers 'Cause we are the champions of the world


  1. You are a mighty strong gal Ang...I never hear a complaint out of you, and you continue to keep on keepin on going about your life with the determination to not let this disease get the best of you. You probably don't know it, but I bet you are an inspiration to others fighting the same fight, you seem to be kicking it's ass.

  2. We can get some really cool ideas when the "football" part of us merges with the "RA" part of us, huh? Both are in my blood.

    Good job girlfriend!

  3. Awesome post! We're Giants fans (transplanted from NJ to Chicago), too! Wasn't Superbowl 2008 totally awesome?!! Hate those Pats....

  4. Awesome post. You are due warrior. RA is a tough game to play. Hopefully, it gets better for you. RA is been a tough game for me too. I drag myself every where - work, daycare, errands, etc. It is tough, but I hang on. I try not to complain, but it dos no good.

  5. Love, love, love this post!

  6. Thanks you guys! Your comments and support mean the world to me! My son asked me today if I could put We Are The Champions on his MP3 player. He said he heard it on the radio the other day and he liked it :0)