After a few stressful days, a disaster averted, and drastic change in the weather, my joints are paying the price. Every joint in my body has been inflamed for the last couple of days, along with my skin and eyes. Actually, I am not sure that there any part of me that is not inflamed and I was doing really good until this. Joint inflammation like this was a vague memory I thought I put behind me. I have made changes in my diet, my lifestyle, my commitments, and literally did a 180 on my family and life so that I would not have to deal with this type of inflammation.
Granted, this is probably the worst inflammation I have had in a long time but not the worst I have ever had. I remember with great detail the flare that I had days after giving birth to my now toddler and if not for my sister, I am not sure how I would have managed until the inflammation subsided and mind you, it did not subside until after Thanksgiving. I was inflamed for a good two months after my diagnosis and I did not start seeing any major results until a year after my diagnosis. That entire year (September 2008-09) was very difficult for me because I raising a newborn, going back to work when I wanted to be home with my son, dealing with the aftermath of a financial nightmare, dealing with pain and inflammation, and feeling depressed and confused while grieving my new diagnosis.
Sometimes, I make a joke that if my husband had to live in my body for 24 hours, he would have a major nervous breakdown and be institutionalized for life. You have to be a superhero to deal with what I deal with just daily and come out of it with your sanity in tact. My husband would not be able to get the kids ready every morning and get them out the house and make on time to work let along deal the rest of my life. If my husband has to deal with a situation, he spends hours just thinking about it while I take action in a shorter time period than he does to merely think about it. Now don’t get me wrong, my husband is smart man but I make him look him look like Forest Grump and I am sure I do that to a lot of people. I am action person, a go-getter, and overachiever. I believe that actions speak louder than words. Even on my worst day, I still can do my best work.
As I was driving in to work this morning, I started to think about how my diagnoses make me feel like I am so much older than I really am. Granted, I have always been mature for my age and even as a child. When I was nine, I had read all the books in my school library, fiction and non-fiction, and every Saturday, my dad would take me to the public library to pick up a dozen or more books because I never stopped reading. A book that took most kids days to read, I would read in a few hours. Because of the person that I am, RA and Fibro make me depressed because they hinder all that I am capable of and because of that I have changed. To wake up to every joint in your body swelled and feeling like you weigh 500 pounds as a result can be a deterrent but to me, it is a challenge or even a bump in the round. It will pass like it always does.
The person I have become out of this experience is one who knows how to reach solutions and who doesn’t get deterred. I don’t put things off because I never know what the future holds. I take care of problems as they arise and never put them aside. That is the difference between my husband and I and I think that, in the last couple of years, it has become an impasse in our marriage. I have always been a person who doesn’t believe in putting things off but since my diagnoses, it has become an obsession. Meanwhile, my husband is still this laid back, happy-go-lucky, type B personality and that has really started to get on my last nerve.
I know I am not innocent in when it comes to the impasse in our marriage but the longer I live with this disease, the less patient I become. Let me give you an example. Let’s say we are getting ready to go out to dinner. I tell my husband to get ready. I get the kids and myself ready and I find him sitting on his laptop checking his email. I tell him again to get ready, and he insists he has to take shower. For whatever reason, the shower he took in the morning can’t hold him over. Twenty minutes later, I find him in the closet indecisive about he wants to wear. I end up picking his clothes out for him and telling him to hurry up and get dressed for probably the tenth time. Then, he says, “I haven’t taken my shower yet.” By this point, I am frustrated and walk out the door with two very hungry kids and tell him to find his own dinner. The point is that I have changed because life forced to change but my husband refuses to change because he has me to pick up the slack.
This weekend’s disaster came all on me because I walked into front door Friday evening to my husband spending two hours staring at a crisis. I dealt with the crisis with him still thinking about it. In fact, it would still not have dealt with IF I waited for my husband to deal with it. Again, I am a solutions persons and I always find a way and it can be really stressful as it was this past weekend, hence, the all over inflammation. Of course, I let my husband have it for his lack of effort for this crisis and every crisis that he creates. I made it clear to him that he no longer was allowed to make decisions, and from that point, I would make all the decisions and he would just agree. I want my marriage to work but at the same token, letting my husband make decisions is a big mistake as I have learned in the last couple of years.
Right now, I am just trying to make sense of all the chaos that comes falling down on me while my husband patiently waits for me to deal with those crises. My life changed the day that I was diagnosed and while I can’t change my husband, I can change how I respond. I used to think being a good wife and having a good marriage meant being in agreement with each other but I know that a good marriage means knowing when to stand your ground especially when your spouse is about to make a decision you know might turn your lives upside down. I knew that my husband’s financial investments could come back to haunt us but I did not stop him because I wanted him to be happy but the end result had more to do with chaos rather than unhappiness. To think, if I had taken a stand, he would have been upset for a few days but at least, I would not have been left with the mess.
I am learning everyday how to be a better person and how to respond to situations especially those created by others. It is hard living my body but it is also hard living with me and I often forget that when I am telling my husband and my kids to stop doing stupid things. Sometimes, I wish I could hit the rewind button when it comes to my responses but I am getting better at it. RA and Fibro taught that while I cannot control how I feel physically on any given day, I can control how I respond, and I take that experience with me in real life. While I cannot control the twists and turns that life hands me, I can always control my response. It is a good thing I wasn’t born a redhead because I would have been born with the fire already lit.