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Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I am pretty sure I have expressed here my reluctance to ask too much of my children.  I worry that I won't find the proper balance of work and reward.  My parents are and were  hard workers and I know that I have inherited this trait. I often hear how relentless I am when it comes to accomplishing tasks.  I want them done and near perfect as possible and there is always "just one more thing" waiting in the wings.  My parents (mostly my father's) famous words.  They would be said around noon on a Saturday, after we have been exhausting ourselves since the early hours of the morning. "Just one more thing."  And before we knew it, darkness was upon us.  I feel know I missed out on a lot.  My friends would be off at the movies or a dance and I was taring fence posts or painting, raking, pruning, hauling...anything and everything.  I was resentful.

There is a plus side to all this.  I am pretty handy and there isn't much that I can't do or won't try.  Surprisingly, I am still hungry to learn how to do something...and willing to do it myself.  My body...notsomuch.  God did, however, bless me with some fantastic children.  Children who are just as hungry as I am to learn.  If not more.  And I am finding that I am really enjoying the looks on their faces when they tackle a new task.  To be fair and honest, just as much as I was overjoyed to see the smile of approval on my dad's face as he watched me from the dining room window as I dance in the driveway to the music blaring from my car...out of the stereo I had just successfully installed...all on my own (I was 19-ish), I know that he was smiling because I was.  I totally get that.

More and more, I have to rely on my children for things I am not sure I would have prior to my body failing me.  I am talking beyond normal daily chores and tasks (those...apparently are mundane because their rooms are never clean).  They all want to help.  Ethan can guide me while I back up the car to attach a trailer.  Today, he also showed me that he knows how to properly connect the trailer, attach the chains, lock it up and plug in the lights.  He pushes me aside and tells me not to lift or bend, "It's OK mama, I got it."  In such a kind and respectful voice too.  As if he knows how hard it is for me to let go, accept that I can't do it all anymore and even worse, watch how independent my babies have become.  Emily seems to be several steps ahead of me with certain things.  She has mastered the pool and filter operations.  She knows how to get the auto vac working.  And she does it to the best of her ability.  She does it right and is careful not to break things.  She also asks lots of questions and I have to be careful to make sure I am showing her the things her brothers are learning as well.  She should learn, just as I have.  Alec is also very inquisitive and eager to help.  Today, he learned how to check the oil in the lawn tractor.  I am just so impressed with all of them.

My job, is to make sure that my children are children.  To respect them.  Not because I ask too much of them, but because they want to do so much...for me/us.  I don't have to worry about pushing them to hard and not rewarding them enough.  I have to make sure they allow themselves the rewards.  Life is so much about balance.  I have never mastered this.  Through my children, I have learned so much.  Together, we will find balance.

My biggest fear used to be that I would not be a good mother.  I am not a good mother, I am a great mama.  I am smiling at myself.  I did it.  Albeit, not alone.  This time, I am dancing with my babies. I don't need anybody smiling down at me.  I know what I had to overcome to get here. Nothing tops this accomplishment.  I am so blessed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a ball
Hoping to keep in all her parts that would fall
Now the good doctors with a sling, nip and stitch
Hope to repair
This feisty, impatient, bitch!

I have a date!  Again.  Finally (hopefully), I have a rendezvous with TWO men in masks.  We will meet up in a sterile environment and they will form an assembly line and put this Humpty Dumpty Chick back together again!!  Though we have been to this point before, I am confident that this is it!  Maybe.

However.  After the last week and a half, there may be another masked man invited to the party.  Oh good gravy.  Who goes to the doc and is told that there may be a problem with their anatomy?  I mean, really.  Other than the fact I have parts that want to jump ship.  Maybe it's a hostile environment in there.  I just don't get it.

Look, I don't mind having to go to the doctors.  Really, I don't.  I mean, lately, I live there.  Last week, I was at a different office every day.  This week, I will be visiting three.  What is difficult is finding out that there is some other issue going on.  It gets exhausting.  Granted, this past issue is one that I have been dealing with over the past twenty-plus years.  It has gotten much worse lately (and when I am comfortable, I may and probably should, talk about it here.  Give me some time, it has taken almost a quarter of a century to fully admit to the doc) and is taking a toll on me physically, emotionally and socially.  I am not complaining about being at the doctors, the constant draws for blood, xray, ultra sounds, MRI, CAT, scopes, etc..  It is just part of managing and really getting a good grip on this whole situation.  I learn a lot and feel that with every test we are working together to ensure that I am getting the right treatments, drugs and advise.  For my best life. This is what I do, now.

Last week a friend asked me if I wanted to go and hear a talk on RA.  I was pleasantly surprised.  At how informed I am.  How much I have absorbed and learned from my experience over the past three years or more.  Working through and writing here and contributing pieces elsewhere and getting feedback has truly empowered me.  Period.  I am informed.  That can be a blessing and a curse.  I know what I am up against and I understand that too many do not have that same understanding.  They think they know, but they don't.  Ignorance can be painful.

Yesterday, a friend demanded full eye contact and an honest answer from me when they asked what is going on and how I am doing.  It made me uncomfortable, but I answered.  I answered about RA. Only RA.  She then asked about how I was managing the fibromyalgia, the prolapses (which could be the cause of some excruciating lower back pain I have been having) and the most recent revelation that something else may be brewing.  I laughed at the list and commented that it doesn't sound so bad when I am trying to tackle one at a time, but all together, it sounds overwhelming.  "And yet, you are still smiling and joking.", she said.  Yes, yes I am.  I felt the tears trying to break the surface.  I wouldn't let them.  I just smiled and cautiously changed the topic.

It is a lot.  I am in a new kind of pain more often than not.  I can almost make it until dinner time.  I sit at the dinner table in agony and try super hard to concentrate on the kids, dinner, etc.  Lately, I give in and take something. I can honestly say, I understand how additions begin.  Fortunately, I don't have one.  But I understand it.  When there is pain that you just can't get above, pain that you fight all day long.  I understand.  It is clear when I am on something for pain, though it doesn't remove it completely...I refuse to maintain a steady dose or accept anything stronger.  The pain is still there, just a bit duller.  But I can concentrate and hold a conversation.  I am chatty and overall happier.  I am not battling a thousand nerve endings that are registering "false" pain, neck stiffness, and lower back agony.  I am free for a few short hours.  Like I said, I can totally see where someone could loose control.  I won't.  I just have to make it until October 24.  And I will.

In the meantime, I am just happy that we can continue on with our summer more predictably.  I would prefer to get this all over with sooner than later, but for some reason, that just is not in the cards.  This may also be good if we have to involve another surgeon.  It was hard enough to get two docs lines up along with my crazy windows of opportunity.  Knock on wood, RA seems to be manageable, for now.  Everything happens for a reason.  

By the way, this surgery, falls on my Gram's birthday.  That is such a comfort to me :)

I have a lot of time to prepare for my date with my masked men in October.  By Thanksgiving, I plan to be in the kitchen, standing tall...with nothing to fall ;)

Monday, June 3, 2013


My mother recently left some recipes and articles on my kitchen table for me to look at.  There was another article on RA.  "10 Ways to Get Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Relief".  Usually, I disregard these articles because all to often, proper research seems to be lacking.  Surely, someone suffering with this disease would not back some of the suggestions that are usually written.  I scanned through the printout.  And caught this:

  • Emotional pain. All this pain and stiffness can begin to take an emotional toll on you. "It can be the dominant hallmark of the illness," Hadler says. "It's a consequence of the compromise in personal effectiveness — as in ‘who am I and how do other people perceive me and what can I accomplish?’ For many people with the disease, it's this emotional component that's overwhelming."
True Story.

You know what else takes a toll on you?  Pretending.  That everything is just ducky.  When it's not.  It's called holding it together.  I demand a lot of myself when it comes to holding it together.  What I express here, is not expressed much, at all, in my daily life.  When I do break down, it has usually been festering for a long time until I weaken enough and the dam breaks.  A girl can only take so much.

However.  This girl has an amazing family.  My husband is very understanding and supportive and my children are compassionate and caring as well.  I don't know where I would be without them.  They are my sweet reward in this mess of RA and such.  

They may not keep their rooms clean, do their chores without being asked, be as handy or aware of things that need to be done, but they are there when I need them to be.  They fight, whine, point fingers, get moody, overtired and loose things and drive me absolutely crazy.  But they are so there for me and watchful and try to be there to help me get up from a seat or help me down a step.  I am so proud and so very much in love with and in awe of them all.

It has taken me a long time to feel, know and believe that my husband and children love me, respect me and understand despite my not being able to do all the things I used and want so badly to do.  Because they have been so solid in all of this.  They never wavered...I did.  I had to learn that they had my matter what.  They believed in my diagnosis more than I did.  I wasn't listening because I was too concerned with making it look like I was capable and still needed.  

There are many more areas that I still need to work on this, outside of home.  It is just a hard thing for someone like me to do.  While I have always been a fighter, there are some areas I fail to fight hard enough in.  I prefer to shut down and step back.  Way back.  When you come from a world where you feel you are only worth what you can do and how well you do it, it is hard to feel secure when your ability to do is stripped from you.  Especially when it is all you know.  It is your identity.  Your self-worth.  According to your messed up head.  

I have a long way to go, but I am determined to get and maintain a grip on this harder than it can grab me.  Reading that little clip of the article was so helpful.  I have yet to read the whole thing, but grateful for the little bit of validation I already gained.