I have Raynaud’s Disease, a circulatory disorder, that sometimes leaves my phalanges looking like I am a female version of the Hulk. Thankfully I don’t have episodes often, only a few times a month, but when they strike, they never cease to amaze me and overwhelm me with appreciation for what the human body actually does. This evening, after hopping off of the treadmill soaked from my 13 mile run, I headed out to my neighborhood grocery store to pick up a few items. In the few minutes that I was damp from sweat and outside in the freezing rain, my Raynaud’s kicked in. All ten fingers lost feeling, started throbbing and then slowly transitioned through a full spectrum of color changes as the my circulation to my digits stopped. While my hands turned a deep purplish red, my fingers went yellow, then stark white, and then my favorite, the Hulk tinted green until I managed to get myself to a hot room where it still took me twenty minutes to get the blood flow and color back.
That twenty minutes of not being able to do anything about the numb colorlessness in ones digits seems like an eternity. Often, when it happens, time seems to stop. No matter what I do, the color and the feeling in my hands doesn’t come back for at least twenty minutes once I am in a warm (think steam room or scalding hot shower) environment. The hierarchy of basic needs takes over and all I can think about is getting warm and getting my circulation back. The waiting period for circulation to come back is a humbling experience to the greater magnitude of the human body. There are simply certain things about our bodies that are out of our control. For me, battling a Raynaud’s episode is one such example. There are things about our bodies and our health that we have to patiently address, and in my opinion, these are great tools in our lives to remind us of just how imperative it is that we do pay attention and invest in ourselves in every aspect of our health that we do have control over.
The next time you get impatient with something about your health that is currently out of your control, try to focus instead of just how amazing it is that there are things within your control. You see, sometimes it takes being an outsider to the body (watching your circulation rebel into a display of Hulk hands) to empower you on how wonderful of a gift it is to be an insider of your own body. Take pride in the things that you can control and appreciate your body, for it is truly a work of intricate art.