I hope you noticed that the title of this post has an exclamation mark at the end of it. In 2008, before RA and Fibro I was wearing a size 9. For the next three years, I was buying shoes that were size 10 and 11 because my feet were too swollen to fit into my old pairs. I stopped buying size 9s when I was diagnosed and I didn’t think I would ever go back to a size 9. For the past few days, even with the cold weather, my feet not staying in my shoes – that is because my shoes are too big! Knock on wood here – but this is awesome news!
There is more awesome news! I have been having good mornings. I have woken up many mornings without stiffness and without pain. Overall, my pain has been minimal. My biggest struggle right now is the herniated disc in my lower back pushing against the sciatic nerve causing me problems with my right leg. That pain in radiating nerve pain. Oddly enough, it is tolerable. The last few years have taught me that I am capable of anything and everything. I am at a point in my life where I am I feel like I am going to be okay and so are my kids.
Last night, I spoke with my sister that lives in NYC. If you recall my last post, she lost her home and all her possessions to a fire earlier in the week. She is struggling to grasp what has happened to her. She is in shock – simple as that. I told her that she needs to stand up, dust herself off, and figure it out. That shock is keeping her from figuring this out. She lost her home – the place that she has called home for four years. She lost all her possessions and she doesn’t know how to rebuild her life. They didn’t have renter’s coverage which was a mistake but it is too late now to talk about mistakes. It is hard to rebuild with nothing but the clothes on your back but it is not impossible. I told her that she has to be willing to stand up and say “I need help” and “I won’t stop until I get it.” Right now, she is feeling like a burden to everyone around her and she wants an immediate solution. She hasn’t taken an opportunity to take hold of the situation and say, “this is what needs to be done.” I gave her a stern talk and told her that she needs to decide that she is ready to rebuild before anything can happen. I figure it this, if she wanted someone to coddle her and just listen to her say, “I can’t,” she would have called our older sister. But she called me knowing to I would tell her to “snap out of it,” and make things happen.
For every fall I have ever had in my life, I have made a choice to forget the initial shock by telling myself to “get over it,” stand up, dust myself off, and stand tall knowing that I have to go forward. I credit that attitude to everything I have ever accomplished in my life. If someone tells me that I cannot do something, I tell them “watch me.” I have stood up against some big adversaries and I won. I told my sister that I don’t know what she needs to do because I am not in her shoes, but I told her that she comes from a family of strong women and that speaks volume. Even when RA and fibro came into my life, I never once saw myself willing to let my health win. I just kept going and I know that my sister has the same in her. She needs a nudge and I am going to keep nudging until she moves forward.
I am not in remission and if even I am, it won’t last. I know that but it doesn’t mean that I won’t keep trying. When I was first diagnosed, I was told that I would be disabled by this time and I was told that I would have to give up my career at some point. So, I fired the rheumatologist that told me that. It is nearly four years later and not only I am working towards good health, I am pushing others to do as well. What happened to the woman who woke one day to the inability to walk and use her hands? She had her family by her side telling her that she shouldn’t give up. In fact, it was my younger sister (who had the fire to her home) who came and took care of me during the hardest time in my life. That is why I am having a hard time sitting here doing nothing. I feel like someone has tied my hands behind my back and hold me to do my job. Can you imagine trying to draft a document like that?
Enough about my feelings and anxieties – as many of you know, I am not the touchy feely type. I hate talking about feelings. When my twelve year old is being stubborn and talking back, I threaten to send him to a therapist so he can talk about his feelings. He is not a feelings type either so that usually gets my point across. So, despite the fact that there is no pain, my feet are still there. Just had to make sure.
Life is what you make of it, of course. Last year, when my marriage was on the rocks – so many people just expected me to walk away and file for divorce. In fact, those same people keep asking if why I am not yet divorced even though I made a decision to walk way. People have to walk in your shoes to understand what it is you are going through. At the same token, why ask such a stupid question? Are marriages easily disposable? Life has taught me so many valuable lessons and one of those is that if you are unsure of something, you probably should wait until you are sure.
One of my closest friends said to me the other day that she didn’t know or understand my situation and she was in no position to decide what I should or shouldn’t do. As a friend, her job was to support me no matter what decision I made – wrong or right, whether she approved or disapproved (that’s why I love Rhonda). I don’t know that answer or resolution is or should be but, at least for the time being, the answer isn’t that easy but it doesn’t mean that I don’t continue trying to figure it out. I don’t want things to be final if issues still need to be resolved. Simple as that and if it does make sense to some people, who cares what those people think? I am just grateful to be alive, to feel somewhat healthy, to have healthy children and to have a roof over our heads and food on our table. The rest is just small stuff and I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.
I have an appointment with my rheumatologist on Monday. I am actually excited to share my progress with her. Even the epidural steroid injection did me some good. Don’t forget that I am a whole bunch of medications and that is probably why I have seen the relief in addition to the diet and lifestyle changes I have made. I take Humira, Methotrexate, Sulsafazine, Gabapentin and a muscle relaxer in addition to supplements. I see the chiropractor once a week and I watch what I eat. I left a stressful and demanding job for one that is less demanding. I am still, however, a work in progress. Reduction in pain means I keep the promise I made to myself to exercise and lose weight. Last, I worked really hard to better myself as a person and I am seeing results. I am firm believer that life is truly what is what you make of it.