When I Made My Daughter Proud by Hiking in the Rockies With Rheumatoid Arthritis


As a momma, my goal has always been for my children to see me as a whole person — someone who makes mistakes and can own up to them, someone who, at times, is weak and vulnerable and someone who sometimes even falls apart. 

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has definitely given my children experience in all of these areas. They have witnessed me at my worst. As young children, they helped me undress, have been rudely awaken by our border collie to come help get mom out of the bathtub, held me while I cried after rheumatology appointments and much more.

But as a momma, I also want them to see me at my best, to see me pick up the pieces and move forward. To show that I’m strong enough to handle whatever comes my way. I want my kids to know I am forever learning and making myself better as a person. When I show them my strength and make them proud, it is the best feeling ever!

My daughter and I decided to take a short spring break vacation together — just the two of us. She has always wanted to see the Rocky Mountains, so we planned a trip to Colorado. We had several things we wanted to do during our short three days, but the main thing was to hike in the mountains. Unfortunately for us, Colorado had a blizzard two days before we arrived, so the mountains were covered in deep snow. But we didn’t let that stop us.

Together we took in the beauty of Mother Nature. We stood and absorbed the absolute quiet, we watched a mouse run on top of the snow, we stopped to observe birds and we even ran into two separate families from our hometown of Wichita, Kansas. It truly is a small world.

I am going to be honest: The higher we hiked, the more difficult it was for me. My 17-year-old was jogging up the inclines while I had to stop for frequent photos (and catch my breath). But on this mountain, I made my girl proud. She saw me keep going. She saw me push my physical capabilities of trudging up snowy trails. On one path, she said, “Mom, you are almost 50 and have RA. I hope I’m as active as you at your age.” This will forever be my favorite part of the trip.

Rheumatoid arthritis is forever an up and down journey. Some days we face challenges and need the help of others. Other days, we prove to those around us and ourselves that we are strong. We may have an autoimmune disease, but we don’t let it stop us from making those around us proud.

Follow this journey on The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Rheumatoid Arthritis

girl wearing hoodie sitting in countryside

The Beautiful Gift I Received That Changed How I Manage My Illness

I am 26 years old and two years ago I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. From a young age it targeted my temporomandibular joints, reducing my airway to the point that I needed orthognathic surgery to reverse and repair the damage. At first, the diagnoses felt manageable. It blended into my life like weekly [...]
Model wearing "Creaky & Tipsy" activewear

Michael Kuluva Designs Activewear Line Inspired by His Experience With Arthritis

For fashion designer Michael Kuluva, arthritis is more than a condition he lives with – it’s the inspiration for his latest line of activewear. Showing at New York Fashion Week on Tuesday, Kuluva’s latest line “Creaky & Tipsy,” an offshoot of his “Tumbler & Tipsy” label, highlights the joint pain and inflammation Kuluva experiences as someone [...]
girl watercolor illustration

What You May Not See When You Look at a Person With Rheumatoid Arthritis

When you see me at work in the morning, you don’t know what it took just to get me in the door. I drive with the heated seats on, air conditioning blowing, tennis ball lodged between my hip and the center console and an ice pack around my knee. Even with all of that, I [...]
colorful textured background with woman looking over shoulder

Why I No Longer Believe I'm Being 'Strong' By Hiding My Disabling Conditions

When I was 5 years old, my throat hurt. So did my head. I felt miserable, but I didn’t tell anyone. Not long after, my leg began to hurt. I still didn’t tell anyone. I walked the two blocks to my kindergarten each day, pretending I was fine. One morning, my body decided not to tolerate this stoicism [...]