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I have started refusing to watch news broadcasts. The ongoing saga of the Gulf Coast oil spill has put me in anguish. Maybe because I’m from the south and I’m familiar with the beautiful beaches and the wonderful seafood. Perhaps it’s because I’m a scuba diver and I stay in overwhelming wonder of the fragile ecosystem of our seas. Perhaps it’s because I believe that as the dominant species, it is a human obligation to be caretakers of our planet and to help ensure the health and well-being of all other species that share our world. We have potentially destroyed an ocean and I don’t think there is an apology that we can make to Mother Earth.

The difference between this oil catastrophe and the Exxon Valdez is that we knew exactly how much oil was on the ship. With an open wound in the earth spewing toxic crude oil into the Gulf, we have no idea what the limit of destruction might be.

And while it’s on an individual rather than a global scale, RA is like that.

Unlike the three-day measles, the cold that last for seven days or perhaps a week, or even malaria that has predictable fever cycles, RA has no limits. The best we can hope is that our well caps, buoys, and solvents (drugs, therapy, diet and exercise) will either stem the progress of the disease or put it into remission.

The other thing that has no limits is the human spirit.

I am hopeful that this spirit will carry us through this oil disaster and that each of us that wake up each morning with this formidable disease will use that spirit to be the best we can, to give us strength to do what we must, and to find joy and meaning in our lives.

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