This time of year means many things in our house. This year, it means a few more.
It’s the month of my son’s birthday, this year he’ll be twelve. Which seems impossible. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I tickled his tiny little toes and he grasped my finger with that wee hand? Now, instead of wishlists for his birthday or Christmas, he asks for gift cards. Instead of Legos, he wants money.
It’s the month of chaos at work for my boyfriend. After nearly a decade in various types of retail stores, this is always a busy time of year for him. While others take vacation for the holidays, he’s at work helping those last minute shoppers. It makes for long days for him, crazy hours, and not a small amount of stress.
It’s the month when the cold weather returns. In years past, this has never been more than an inconvenience This year will be my first change from fall to winter since my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I was able to see my doctor this week, and we’ll be weaning me back onto my medications at a scaled rate. This is positive news, but I’m still nervous. The cold hurts me in ways that I can’t fully explain, I’ve become a human barometer. Like clockwork, my hands will swell, the pain begins to increase; moments later I hear the first strains of a howling wind outside my window.
Since I’ve been off my medications for two months now, I’m nervous that I don’t have enough of a defense in place. These are medications that have to build up in your system to be active at their full potential, it’ll be another two weeks before I even begin to feel or notice a benefit from the shot I’ll receive tonight.
So while I make plans for our Christmas holiday, I’m trying to put safety plans in place. As we decorate our apartment, I’m careful to keep clutter to a minimum, keep my pathways clear. As we plan our grocery list and menu for the month, I’m mindful to add simple, quick meals that my boyfriend can help prepare. I’ve pulled my warmest comfy clothes from storage and added the electric blanket to our bed.
Each day, I’m trying to plan for the worst, while hoping it doesn’t come.
I want to enjoy December. I want to decorate, celebrate, and make new memories with those I love.
But my body doesn’t always allow me to have all that I want. And so I’m putting things in place so that I may still have what I want, even if it’s accompanied by pain.
I’m learning to live life on my terms, once again. To live with RA, instead of letting it suck the life from me. I’m learning how to embrace this new direction, instead of dread the change it brings.