Let's move together

I’m the worst sister in the world.

It’s true. My sister fell off a ladder while washing windows when she was 12 or 13…(time out; she only fell a couple feet; I’m not that horrible)… She twisted her foot funny on the landscaping rocks below.

After dozens of trips to podiatrists, no one could tell her what was wrong. I secretly thought she was faking it to get out of chores. Or it was all in her head. I watched her to see if her pain mysteriously changed from the left foot to the right foot. I probably even told her to suck it up and deal with it. Hey, I was 14… if I had to get up early to feed the horses so did she. (Ryan would say that’s the middle child in me – and he’d be right.)

Years later, Laura sat in a doctor’s office looking at her x-rays. As a radiology technologist, the doctor didn’t have to say a word. She saw the deterioration in her bones and knew she had rheumatoid arthritis.

I didn’t understand why my mom broke into tears when she told me Laura had RA. Sure it sucked, but it wasn’t cancer. She’d take some anti-inflammatory meds and be good to go. Or so I thought until I Googled it.

It wasn’t the kind of arthritis my grandma had. Laura’s immune system was eating away the cartilage in her joints until her bones were grinding against each other. It was the kind of arthritis that disfigures your hands and feet, eventually binding you to a wheel chair.

The kind that made me the worst sister in the world for thinking she was making it all up. So to do my little part (and appease my guilty conscience) I participated in my first Arthritis Walk last year. This year I took it a step further and joined the planning committee.

Today, the National Arthritis Foundation kicks off their “Let’s Move Together” campaign. Most people with RA can reduce their pain by exercising. We’re not talking about running a marathon here though. Movement of any kind helps – from shoveling the drive way to taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The neatest thing about the site is their Movement Tracker. You can set goals for yourself (like getting in shape for the 2009 walk) and track your progress in a daily log.

I’ll be at the Des Moines Arthritis Walk on May 9th at the Blank Park Zoo. If you want to join us register here! Not from Des Moines or Iowa? Find a walk near you. If you can’t walk but want to help, make a donation.

I walk for my sister. Who do you walk for?


Stefany said...

Thanks for telling that story. I never knew how/when she found out she had RA. When can they get Kaitlyn tested for it?

Tracy Anne said...

I'm not sure when Kaitlyn can be tested. LOL... probably whenever she'll sit still long enough for an x-ray!