It’s been an inauspicious beginning to my new blog. Life events curtailed the attention I had intended to put into this blog, and other than the initial window dressing, I’ve been able to post little more. I had hoped to deliver more by now.
Every now and again, I know I will default to my former blogging style of responding (reacting!) to some of the everyday challenges life has thrown me, or, just pondering on life, or venting with updates. The major goal of this blog site is to spin out some topics I’ve long felt moved to write about, and provide readers with an opportunity to take it in, comment, share thoughts and experiences, and engage in a discussion over issues pertaining to marriage.
But there is a real person, me, who is on the other side of this screen. And through this blog you will get to know her. And although loved outrageously by God, is feeling a little broken and scared right now.
So, to the issue at hand:
Throughout the past month or more, I’ve had some very severe pain in my body, mostly in hands and wrists, and occasionally elsewhere– you know, when you wake up and say, “Now what did I do to my elbow for it to hurt so much?” It grew worse during a period of time when I was not on the keyboard much, so the likelihood of Carpal Tunnel seemed ruled out. The moves in my daily yoga classes rarely matched the aches I was experiencing. Sometimes the hand pain was so debilitating I couldn’t hold a pen. So 3 weeks ago my doctor recommended blood work. And rendered a diagnosis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, or as all of the TV commercials on The Weather Channel and Fox News say, “RA.” For years I’ve turned a deaf ear to those commercials but now they ring in my ears: “Moderate to severe RA.” What the heck is this and how do I make it go away? Dang, what was the name of that wonder drug? 🙂
Not so fast… . There is no known cause of, or cure for RA. Basically your body is tricked in some way to think it needs to attack and destroy your joints. And apparently there’s no medicine that can stop it from happening, only slow it or provide temporary pain relief.
I’m still in the research mode and the “wrap-my-head-around-this” mode, considering the ways to manage it and employ any and all tactics suggested to help symptoms (such as anti-inflammatory diet, gluten free, supplements, and continued exercise). When I told SJ the diagnosis, I know he was concerned, but I also knew, like me, he didn’t understand this disease and was hopeful that “getting more active and healthy” was the sure cure. I know he only wants me to feel better, bless his heart. I’ve asked him to do his own research to understand more about it. I don’t want to be “the sick girl” in his eyes.
This diagnosis sure did a number on playing into my panic about aging. It’s my biggest dread in life, even though I’m perfectly aware that my creator numbered my days on this earth before I was even formed in my mother’s womb, and I know not the day or the hour. I am terrorized about the realities of aging, and have had great difficulty accepting the reality of aging graciously, much less embracing it. Just the word “arthritis” screams OLD PERSON to me. I don’t know when I’ll stop coloring my grey, or cut my long hair, or stop dressing “young” or shopping at Victoria’s Secret, or resist wanting to take the Black Diamond hill down the mountain. With “only” 50 down, I still have about 140 countries to see! I watch older women who I think are beautiful and stunning with their silvered hair and tasteful makeup and fashionable clothing and poise and smile and je ne sais quoi… but I can’t picture myself there anytime soon. Gees, I just ordered a two-piece bathing suit!! I even emphatically told SK that I am STILL SEXY and STILL WANT SEX–LOTS OF IT! I don’t want the picture of me clouded with disease and aging.
In the first days, my little head was spinning between tears of remorse, fear, anger, and strategizing how to face this going forward. A condition with no cure, no cause, no rhyme or reason. Good days and bad days. Little chance of remission, I was told by the GP. I sort of think I needed to go through all those stages of grief (have probably done some already, like denial) before I accept this and move forward with a new plan, a new “normal.” I’d need to spend time with a Rheumatologist trying to sort this all out, to attain the best quality of life I can (late April is the first appointment, more than a month away). After keeping nearly 2 weeks of virtual silence about this diagnosis, God was convicting me to give up the embarrassment and the fear (masquerading as pride), and to reach out to His prayer warriors on this issue. To trust that he has a plan here, and to pray audaciously, LORD, HEAL ME!
I’m just now wrapping my head around this, with challenging emotions and tears over the diagnosis. The “learning curve” is very steep, but it’s worth the time and effort and research. My very dear friend Holly works to educate others on God’s provision of healing in nature with natural/medicinal herbs, plants, foods, and oils, and she has been and will continue to be a great source of wisdom, and practical and spiritual guidance for me (www.wildblessings.com ). She is such a blessing to me and full of more information than I can take in!! A friend at my church is another good natural remedies guru. Another sister in Christ has reached out with her own experiences. Another Doctor friend affirmed my choice of Rheumatologist was “the best.” For the moment I want to focus on my diet and anything natural that reduces inflammation. I really hope to find holistic approaches to my future health care, and avoid synthetic medications and surgeries if I can help it.
I’m not ruling out prayer and believing a miraculous healing is possible; but I’m also trying to get my head into a space of how God wants me to use this adversity should healing not come, and believing James 1:2-5. I know in relative terms I’m suffering very little compared to others with RA, and many in the world, and the pain might not be chronic. I tell myself that I got up this morning, I made my own coffee and breakfast,
and I drove my own (really super fun and sporty) car, and I practiced yoga. I’m sitting here at my computer writing, which I think I will do until I can no longer move (and then I’ll figure out adaptive technology to continue writing). My brain works, my eyes work, my mouth works. I ate an extra slice of orange cake for good measure and savored it’s orange-y goodness (hey, it’s flourless and “healthy!”). I kissed my sweet husband today. I listened to his breathing next to me last night, and I felt his soothing, strong and protective hands on my neck this morning. He’s got me.
And so does my Heavenly Father.
Yes, there is pain. And no, the meds aren’t helping much with the pain. And it’s scary to think this disease has a mind of it’s own and I have little control over where it goes (Hmmm… kind of like God, huh?).
And in spite of this most inconvenient interruption, I plan on “carpe diem-ing” the heck out of every single day of my life…
And trusting in God to work out the details.