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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One Day

What Would Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Mean?  This is the subject I am to write about for Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior's Blog Carnival on Rheumatoid Awareness.

Did you know that there is an Rheumatoid Awareness Day?  It's February 2, 2014.

I want to start by saying that, in general, when we are standing in a room filled with other's, it is guaranteed that many are battling...something.  And I am sure that many desire to have some light shed on their something.  I can only speak of my something.  And it is Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I would want others to be aware that people with RA/RD are fighting every day to function to the best of their ability,  just like anyone else with better understood/researched/talked about diseases.

Also, sometimes, RA/RD comes seemingly out of nowhere and whips the rug out from under you, your family...your entire life.  And even at it's eventual diagnosis and treatment, things are slow to recover...and never actually recover to the point your life was at when you were standing happily on that rug before (yes, I know this is redundant) IT WAS WHIPPED OUT FROM UNDER YOU! Everything changes.  And rarely for the better.  You suddenly find yourself having to adjust to being dependent on others for the simplest of things.  You find that your home has many obstacles that threaten your independence. For me, I feel like I lost my identity.  I was the do-er.  I worked hard and was able to accomplish many things in a day, and then suddenly, taking a shower became a monumental task.

RA/RD can be all-consuming for the patient and the family dealing with it.  It is an life-changing event.  Period.  Be supportive, not judgemental and never assume that you know everything about the disease or how it or the drugs affects someone.  Because honestly, you have no idea.  RA is different for everyone, affects everyone in a different way and not all patients respond the same to the medications.  Those damn commercials are so misleading.

I think, in the end, what I would like most to come out of Rheumatoid Awareness Day would be for people to recognize the day and if they know someone who is living with RA, that they take a bit of time to learn about what it means to have Rheumatoid Arthritis.  And how to be supportive.  The last thing I ever want is for someone to feel bad for me.  What I really desire is to be understood.  And instead of getting upset with me for doing to much or not enough, realize that I am trying to find a balance, again.  Honestly, it is no longer the disease hurts, it is the people that don't understand it.  There isn't any medication for that.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Mama Games

I am sure I am about to receive the "Worst Mama of the Year Award" any time now.

For Christmas, our son had these items, and only these items, on his wish list:  Playstation or Xbox, airsoft gun.  That's it.  I think he knows that Santa always tries to get at least one item from the wish list.  Well played Bubba, well played.  So, after much deliberation, we decided to get a (used) Playstation.  We are the best parents.  Ever.  We even got them 3 games. A Sonic game, Star Wars and Batman Arkam City.  The last one was rated "Teen".  The sales-kid was really nice and must have sensed my reluctance.  His words, "This is a great game.  There's no blood and it's not violent."  I know how much Bubba loves Batman (he is 11) and I decided that maybe I was being too strict.  After all, the nice boy at Gamestop told me it was a good game.  Gamer.

Fast forward to Christmas morning.  The kids were so excited and of course wanted to play.  Bubba picked Batman.  Thirty seconds in..."I'm gonna make you my bitch."  His head whipped around to see my reaction.  He knew.  I tried to remain cool and calm (with our 7 year-old nearby) and let it play out.  I made it 30 seconds more. Enough.  Bubba took it like a champ.  "It's fine.  It's fine. I can play something else."  I think he was uncomfortable too. We since have turned off the dialog and I am still uncomfortable with the violence.

Look, I know that my children are absolutely going to hear and witness some of life's less-finer moments.  But it doesn't mean it has to happen under our roof.  And don't get me wrong, some of those less finer moments, occasionally come out of my mouth.  It happens.  But...I am sorry for it and the kids know it's wrong and they hold me accountable.  Lol!  What worries me is it being witnessed over and over again.  It is no different than moving to another part of the country and adapting the local accent.  It is just what happens.  And until they are old enough to understand that certain things are not to be said or done or whatever either ever or in certain company, they aren't allowed to be exposed to it over and over again.  Period.

I don't blame the kid at Gamestop.  I know that, in general, I am less tolerant than whoever rates those games.  And it was rated "T", to be fair.  And I am sure there is someone reading this thinking, "What does she think should happen? That they should shoot flowers at each other?!"  The answer is...yes.  No.  I don't think that.  I know that reality sells (have you seen what is on TV lately?) and is fun, to some. Including my son.

I am not ashamed to say that I do my best to keep my  For as long as I can.  Because it is the shortest stage in life, and the most impressionable.  Yes, they are allowed to watch some "edgy" stuff. But we, the parents, determine what that is.  On the other hand, we are a classic tv family.  And the kids absolutely love it.  Imagine that, they love it.  Simple, clean, classic, slapstick television that entertains them and makes them laugh and think.  More "mature" movies or tv is earned and they know that.  Rarely do I get any protest.  PG-13 kills me.  Everything is PG-13.  But, we look into it and decide.  WE decide.  Because WE are the parents.

Our kids are not entirely sheltered either.  There are things that we allow that would surprise some.  I don't coddle my children, at least, I try not to. We try very hard to teach them that being responsible earns them greater responsibilities that they desire as well.  There is no advancing to the next level until the previous level is completed.  Whatever happened to that?  Instant gratification will not be taught here.

So, Bubba.  I am sorry. But the game has to go back.  And you can choose another.  For now, your mama needs to let you be a boy.  This isn't to say that you will never be able to play these games.  I know you will, because you already showed great understanding for my discomfort with it.  Which tells me that you are growing and becoming the boy you should be.  Someday, if you read this, I want you to know how much I appreciate the respect you have shown me with this.  Even though I know how badly you want to play.  You are an awesome kid and we love you!

Now I am off to check out Skyfall.  Here's hoping I can approve this movie.  It's what Bubba really wants to watch.  He is into spy stuff lately. This mama of a growing boy stuff is tough!

So, do you think he will turn Batman in for Bob the Builder?  No?  Ok....

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Climbing Mountains

2013 was...interesting, to say the least. There were many changes and choices to be made.  None of them were fun.  However, in the end, I am OK with most of it.  I wasn't prepared, but if I waited until I was, I am not sure I would have done what I needed.  So now, I start 2014 as a very different, but fresher me.

I also start 2014 as a smaller me!  That's right, remember the 266.4?  And then the balloon to 278?  I am now hovering below 240...hoping to close in on 235 soon.  I am a size I haven't been in YEARS!  There are some issues with dropping weight at this age (Holy Crap!  I turned 40 this year.  FORTY!).  It seems the skin has some memory loss.  You know, like remembering where it belongs!  I am pretty sure I would be a size smaller if my skin would just snap back!  I complain about this often, but my dear, adoring husband thinks I am crazy.  He thinks I look great. And I have to admit, I feel pretty damn good too.  Don't get me wrong, there are some rough days, but nothing like I have been suffering through for the past four years!  Yes, I said suffering!  Because that is exactly what it has been like.  I was a fool to pretend I wasn't.  To my RA Warrior friends out there, I know that this is a short lived thing.  In fact, it is already creeping back.  I knew it would.  But in the meantime, I intend to make the most of the freedom and movement I have at this moment.  Because I can!

So, with 2014 staring me in the face, I know exactly how I am going to spend it.

With a tummy tuck!  OK...not really!  I wish I could though. At this point, I am just happy to see my feet again.  It was cute that I couldn't when I was pregnant, but notsomuch, when I am not!

I am going to spend as much time with my children as I can.  I am a very lucky mama because I really do have some incredible children.  They are adventurous, kind, loving and so much fun.  Yes, yes, yes, they do fight with each other, but not always.  And they don't always do as I ask, but then, they do.  They are kids, after all.  In five years, Emily will be off to college.  College.  I have been here for the past four years, but not in the way I wanted to be.  Right now I am pretty close to "normal" as I have been in a long time.  A couple weeks ago, I went sledding. Granted, I only went down once, but I did it.  I got down on the sled (a feat in itself!), giggled all the way down the hill...and then...I walked back up the hill mountain (let's be real, it may as well been a mountain to this chick!).  It was worth seeing the looks on my babies faces...and feeling the smile on mine!  How friggin' far I have come!

That's right...I climb stairs and hills now.  I am a climber.  BAM!

I will nurture relationships that are important, healthy and deserving.  I started this last year and it has been so rewarding.  Sometimes, you just have to get over your own sh*t; swallow your pride, and make it happen.  When it does, it feels wonderful.  And life is happier...and easier.

Now, please sit down for this next one.  I will do less.  Meaning, I am worth more than what someone thinks I can do.  In my head, I am worthless if I can't "do".  I have felt like I don't have a place for some time now because my ability to do has been, well, broken. I am sure that, in following through with this, I will find my place, again.  Love me for who I am, not what I can do.  And by the way, that statement is more for me than anyone else.  This will be a tough one for me;  a near identity crisis.

I am also going to be more honest, to myself and others when asked how I am. I am far from weak.  Admitting where I am at won't make me weak either. I have been very conflicted about how to handle things.  Not any more.  On a daily/hourly/minute-ly basis, I am in a fair amount of pain, even now, when I have declared that I am better than I have been in four years.  The pain is just at a mind-over-matter manageable level, for now. I still hurt.

I am also going to let go...of a lot of things.  I am terribly hard on myself.  Nobody is perfect.  We all make mistakes and/or wish we had... or hadn't said or done something, at some point.  I am not one to carry anger, like some do, but I am very guilty of carrying, guilt.  To the point of ridiculousness.  I don't know why I do this.  I am an honest person, so there really is no need to carry this load.  Besides, my Gram once told me, "If God forgives, who the heck am I not to?".  I believe she is right.  Letting go...

2013 wasn't a great year.  For me.  It was heavy and hard and entirely dysfunctional.  But I learned so much.  The way I learned it may not have been most desirable, but I believe it was the only way I was going to learn, hear and see it for myself.  In so many ways, I know where I stand and who I am.  I am who I always have been.  I may be physically broken, but the rest of me is the same.  Somewhere along the line, I lost my funny...temporarily.  Life sucks without funny.

2013 wasn't a loss either.  Because I wouldn't let it be.  Every day is a gift and it would be wrong to wish an entire year away.  Everything happens for a reason.  Everything.

Here's to a year of climbing mountains, stairs, cherishing friends and family, relaxing, forgiving and forgetting...and remembering what is important!

And hey...maybe my flabby skin will bounce back!  One can only hope!

Welcome 2014!!!!