Posted in Acceptance, Thankful Thursday, Thanksgiving

What Are You Thankful For This Holiday Season?

Happy Thanksgiving

This marks the sixth year without my brother around for Thanksgiving.  Six years ago, on Thanksgiving, he was in a hospital after being diagnosed with cancer.  Less than a month later, we lost him.  I obviously don’t want you to start out your Thanksgiving with a grim story about my brother but be patient, I am about to share just how thankful I am for the last few years.

While I am miss my brother and I hate that this is the sixth Thanksgiving without him, I am grateful for everything that has happened since his death.

I am thankful because I knew someone so kind and wonderful.

I am thankful that I ended a bad marriage and learned to stand on my own two feet.

I am thankful for two very happy and healthy children.

I am thankful for my health, even though it is not as great as I would like it be. It is better than I expected after almost 8 years living with RA and fibromyalgia.

I am thankful to be employed at a job I love and to work for two great people.

I am thankful for the people that supported my emotional health after my brother died.

I am thankful for the wisdom I have gained over the past several years.

I am thankful to be turning 40 next month.

I am thankful that my mother is still around.

I am thankful for my belief in the Almighty.

I am thankful that there is still good in this world despite all the bad.

Mostly, I am thankful because my brother didn’t care for Thanksgiving and hated turkey, because it makes me smile at his memory.  Tomorrow, I am going to make a roast in his honor because that is what he would have eaten for Thanksgiving if he were alive.

I am also thankful for all of you! Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Please share all the things you are thankful for this holiday season.

Posted in Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday – I’m Alive

I quite often find myself wondering about who I would be if I wasn’t diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. In the beginning, I put on that “I am so tough” attitude and I tried so hard to always have on a “brave face,” just to make my children and my husband feel like I would be a survivor. These days, I am not sure that I am that strong person I once was. Overall, it is not a bad thing. I admit that I have changed, but I am still strong, however, not in the way I used to be. The physical pain I deal with everyday is just a nuisance in my life, it does not control or dominate me – I am still alive. I have so much to be thankful for although, quite often, I am saddened that I can’t always hide the pain.

I grew up with a father that was in control of every aspect of his wife and children’s lives. He was the patriarch and because of my mother’s upbringing, she accepted that. My husband isn’t that way. We have an equal relationship, and the only problem with that is I sometimes wish that my husband took more charge of our lives, but it is the other way around. I make all the decisions and he just accepts my judgment. The majority of the time, he doesn’t even offer an opinion. A year or two ago, that was fine with me, but lately, I just want him to pick up the pieces of our life, and I just want to focus on being a mother. However, I do understand that letting me “run” our lives makes my husband feel safe, and my diagnosis is the same. My husband figures if he ignores my conditions, they will somehow go away. I know it is not intentional; it is just the way my husband is.

My nine year old, on the other hand, watches me struggle and examines every piece of what I go through. Sometimes, the look in his eyes makes me think that if it was up to him, he would take the pain from my body and put it into his own body. He would suffer for me, and that scares me. He is a child, but that child knew me before I was sick, and I know that he wants the old me back. Sometimes, I do not know what to say to him except that “it will be okay,” and I don’t know if that is enough.

I am thankful for the life that I have been given, despite its twists and turns. I am thankful for a wonderful husband and wonderful children. These days, I look towards my religion for my guidance and my faith in God has kept me strong. I am not the person I was a year ago or even two or three years ago. Despite that, I am still me. I don’t handle situations in the way that I used, I am not that strong anymore, but I do ask for God’s strength and guidance to help me get through the day. One thing I know I am is blessed, and I try not to forget that. I remind myself several times a day that I am grateful and that I am alive.

Posted in Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: I wouldn’t trade it for the world

We all reach points in our lives where we question ourselves and our ability to handle hurdles that come our way along this journey we call life. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a student and a legal assistant and I love being all of those things. I play many roles and wear many hats in both my professional and personal life. Like any other human being, I can get sad and depressed on occasion and it doesn’t help that I have fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. I have spent the last week dragging my left foot around because it hurts so bad to walk on it and it just doesn’t want to move due to stiffness. My hands hurt so bad I can barely put my seatbelt on when I get into the car. My RA is getting worse, there is no question, but there is good news. My fibromyalgia medications seem to be doing their job and I do not seem to be noticing much muscle and tissue pain these days. Let’s face it, I have good days and I have bad days, but I get through them and manage to find some understanding of my purpose in this life and here on earth.

I am a mother first and foremost and that is my priority over everything else. Yesterday, after we had finished up school shopping, my nine year old and I had this conversation on the drive home.

Nine: Mom, don’t you hate having to spend all your money on me and my brother?
Me: Of course not.
Nine: But you work so hard and your bones and your body hurt.
Me: Maybe, but I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I have you and your brother in my life for a reason. It is all worth it.

My nine year old smiled, beaming from ear to ear. At that moment, he felt so loved. And despite everything I have been through, I would do it all over again for smiles like that.

Rheumatoid arthritis and Fibromyalgia are trying slowly to take away things in my life that I hold dear. I would do anything for children and that strength and determination is something neither disease can take away. I work, not because I have to (we would learn to survive on one income), but because I want to give my children the best life I can give them for as long as I can. The pain of RA and Fibro is a part of my life, and I will fight it for as long as I can, and I will never stop being mother because of it.