Finding A Delicate Balance

These last few weeks have been a rollercoaster ride. And not the fun kind.

My flares have been more frequent and more intense. I’m left feeling unsure whether my body will cooperate from one moment to the next. I can be sitting in my trusty recliner, feeling okay and then try to stand and find that every joint from my hips down is revolting.

I’ve refrained from calling the doctor or going in to be seen. Even with the numb, tingling arm a few nights back. I’m hesitant for more reasons than not.

Financially, we can’t afford much. If it’s a decision between a doctor visit (that may or may not be necessary) or gas in the car so the boyfriend can get to and from work, you have to know I’m going to choose the gas. My fear is that if I go to the doctor, one of two things will happen:

I’ll be told it’s just an average flare, nothing to be concerned about and I’ll be sent on my way. Which is $50-100 down the drain.

Or I’ll be told it’s yet another thing for which I’ll need yet another medication. So far, I’ve been lucky. Most of my medications are on the generic list and relatively affordable. The one that’s not, I’ve been accepted by the manufacturer’s patient assistance program and they provide the medication free of charge.

I suppose there’s some benefit to being broke.

These fears are counteracted by the deepest fears, the ones that whisper when all my defenses are down.

“What if it’s something serious?”

“What if I ignore it and it becomes worse?”

“What if it’s not really RA but something MUCH WORSE?”

It’s hard to silence these whispers once they start and I’m often left even more exhausted. Daily I fight a battle with my aching body and the negativity in my mind.

Yesterday was a particularly bad evening. After having a bad flare Tuesday, I was able to get some chores accomplished yesterday morning. Then my body gave up. I sat down and when I tried to stand up again, my ankles and feet screamed out in pain. I nearly sat back down but I needed to use the rest room.

Trying to work out some kinks, I thought I would walk to the mailbox. I shuffled along, each step more painful than the last, each swing of my leg causing shooting needles of pain through my hips. It’s maybe 25 steps to our mailboxes. Last night, it felt like a mile.

My endurance was worth it. I gathered our mail, noticing a package addressed to me. In the dark, I couldn’t read the return address sticker. I shuffled back to our apartment as quickly as my screaming body would let me, opened the door, and sank into my chair with relief.

I eagerly ripped open the package, forgetting to check to see who it was from. Out fell a small sachet, a card, and a book.

A Delicate Balance: Living Successfully with Chronic Illness

The attached note from my gal Dawnie, brought tears to my eyes.

“Tia-

I’ve had this book for a long time and it’s helped me greatly.

But it’s time for me to pass it along. I hope you find it useful too.

❤ Dawn

P.S. A little something extra because I love you.”

I cried a little, holding this book. Then I sent up a silent note of thanks to the Powers That Be who put this in my hands when I clearly needed it most. And then? Despite it being far past bed time, I texted Dawnie to thank her. Because it couldn’t wait until the morning, it couldn’t be said in an email.

Because she didn’t just send me a book.

Dawnie reminded me that no matter how I may feel, I am NEVER alone. There will always be someone who understands, who has been where I am, who has made it through. She reminded me that I am blessed to have friends and loved ones in my life who love me, even when I don’t love myself. She reminded me that it’s okay to take care of myself and not feel like a slacker, even when there are dishes sitting unwashed.

Thank you, sweet lady, for being the light I so clearly needed this week. Your love is a balm to my battered body and I’m more grateful for you and your friendship than there will ever be words to tell you.

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4 thoughts on “Finding A Delicate Balance

  1. It’s impossible sometimes to tell people exactly how you hurt when you don’t even know the words to describe it. You feel like a failure, an addict, a hypochondriac, when you know deep down that you are none of those things. But when you find yourself without words, you need people who understand what that feels like to listen. I will always be there for you when you have no words and just need someone to be there. I can promise you that my love.

  2. You are the cheerful warrior who always has a kind word and a happy to share even on the hardest days. I love you for that.
    And I love Dawn for her kindness and her uncanny way of knowing who needs what and when.

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