Tag Archives: pain

A Year In Review 2014

After spending New Year’s Eve playing cards and games with my fiance and one of our good friends while our dogs played and hid from the fireworks, I spent a chunk of New Year’s Day in the ER with some odd symptoms. Muscle tremors, shooting pains, and random numbness throughout my left arm/elbow/hand. Turns out I’m fighting a harder RA flare than I knew, and this was just another manifestation of that. They fitted me with a sling to keep the arm elevated and told me to go home, take my pain meds and…REST.

Anyone else hate being told to rest all the time? No? Just me?

Anywho, this morning I was getting caught up on blogging and showing some of my blogger peeps some love, and I found this on Tamara’s site. And I thought, “Yes, I need to do this!” So here you go, loves, my 2014 in review, and some hopes for 2015.

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I had an article published. 

Got our adorable doggy, the first pet Scotty and I’ve had together.

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I started Remicade infusions for RA treatment. I’ve never had any sort of infusion before.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did, and I will! For 2015, I want to focus on living better. I want to spread kindness and joy and do my part to make the world a better place.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

A few of my dear friends blessed us with babies this year. Rebecca, Crys, and Fallah all had adorable bundles of joy ❤

Did anyone close to you die?

Not anyone I know personally, but the loss of Robin Williams touched me deeply. I grew up with him, and it breaks my heart to know the world is missing his genius.

What countries did you visit?

Sadly, none. We’re hoping to visit Canada later this year.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

A blender. A yard for our doggy to run and play.

What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory?

I don’t have a specific date, just little snippets throughout the year that make me smile. The look of joy on my fiance’s face as he played his music again. My son and fiance exploring the space museum together.

MercuryCapsule

My doggy running through the tall grass at the dog park. Game nights with my fiance. Nights at Denny’s with Kristen and Seth. Civil War on the big screen. Evenings with Cathy.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Following my dream of being a writer. It involved more than just sharing my words here with you. I put myself out there more and faced my fear of rejection. I hope to continue this in 2015 and maybe finally finish a book.

What was your biggest failure?

This question really stumped me. I think as long as you continue to learn from your mistakes, nothing is a failure. As for me, I’m still learning.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

Still rocking the battle against my autoimmune disorders. I was also diagnosed with TMJ, and am awaiting an appointment with a oral maxi-facial specialist to determine our treatment plan.  I also had a bout with chemical poisoning. Joy.

What was the best thing you bought?

I honestly can’t think of anything right now. Does the cheesy popcorn I’m calling my lunch count?

Whose behavior merited celebration?

My fiance, who continues to be by side and hold my hand as I walk this path.

Tian

Where did most of your money go?

Bills.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Time with my son.

Family(framed)

 

Planning our wedding. Making a new friend. A visit from Kristen and Seth.

What song will always remind you of 2014?

Foo Fighters Something From Nothing

Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or sadder?  Happier
Thinner or fatter?  Thinner, though I still have a ways to go.
Richer or poorer?  About the same, I guess. Scotty did get a raise, but those bills keep coming and they’ve just increased our rent, so…

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Living. Chasing dreams. Crafting. Learning new things.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Hurting. Being stressed and anxious.

Did you fall in love in 2013?

I fall in love with my fiance every day. I fell in love with our doggy when we first met him and knew he needed to come live with us.

How many one-night stands?

None. Or 365 with the same man, however you want to look at it.

Who were your best friends?

All of my friends are best. Kristen and Seth. Nolan and Courtney. All my girls, the sisters of my heart. Kerry. Cathy ❤

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?

I continued to share my stories. The crew helped me launch the Spoons 4 Spoonies website so we can continue to offer support to those battling chronic illness.

What were your favorite TV programs?

Once Upon A Time. Just about anything true crime related. Sonic Highways.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I try not to hate anyone, it’s so bad for your own well-being. But there are a few people I wouldn’t mind never seeing or hearing about again.

What was the best book you read in 2014?

Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon, the latest book in the Outlander series.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Sonic Highways by the Foo Fighters. I loved getting to watch how each song came together on their HBO series, and then feel in love with their songs. I’ve always been a FF fan, but this made me love them more and in a new way.

What did you want and get?

A lap desk. A mellow and laid back Thanksgiving holiday. A new phone with a better camera (Thank goodness for Verizon’s free phone offer!). Time with my sisters.

What did you want but did NOT get?

Time ALONE with my sisters. A money tree. A new body.

What was your favorite film of this year?

Uh… I can’t remember seeing many movies this year… Sad story.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 32 and spent the day with my son and my fiance and some of our dear friends. We went bowling, which was something I didn’t think I could do with my RA hands, but I did it and it was awesome! We also had pizza from my favorite place, and cupcakes, which makes everything awesome.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Less stress.

What kept you sane?

My writing. Therapy. My fiance. Our dog. All of our lovely friends who popped in to keep me trucking along ❤

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Sam Heughan, the guy who plays Jamie Fraser in the TV version of Outlander.

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Colin O’Donoghue aka Captain Hook

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What political issue stirred you the most?

I was in an uproar over a few things, others just broke my heart. I’ll say this: I stand for equality for all, and for a safer world for our children.

Who did you miss?

My grandmother. My brother. Misty. My daughter. I always miss my son when he’s not here with us. All of my friends who live near and far, whom I never get to see often enough.

Who was the best new person you met this year?

Kerry! She’s become a dear friend and a lovely support system. Also, with whom else can I sit and reminisce about the 80s?

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Sometimes you have to just let things go. Accept that you need to put yourself first, and set boundaries, even if the things you have to let go are people you love. You can’t help others at the detriment of yourself.

Quote that sums up your year:

 

Thank you all for following along this past year, and for joining me for this little walk down memory lane. Here’s wishing 2015 is full of all the best for all of us! Happy New Year!

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Wordless Wednesday…With Some Words

Because it’s always easier to bear the pain ourselves, than to watch those we love suffer.

JamieFraser

I always say I have it easy being the sick one. While it’s no fun being in pain, and dealing with chronic illness, I would take this any day over watching Scotty suffer. He often has the raw end of the deal, having to hold my hand, without being able to help me feel better.

If it were you, which side of the bargain would you choose?

Gratitude Born From Pain

GratefulMondays

I woke up this morning with the worst headache I’ve had in at least a decade. Fortunately, I have a great fiance, great medical staff, and great spoonie friends who all came together to make sure I could get over the worst of it and still function today.

So here’s some gratitude born out of the pain of this morning.

*I’m grateful for a man who will set aside his own pain to do anything in his power to ease mine.

*I’m grateful for Christina, my nurse, who answers my calls and all of my panicked questions with calm and compassion.

*I’m grateful for my friend Lana, who also has RA, who never gets mad when I text her with random RA questions and whining.

*I’m grateful for a doggy who senses his mama isn’t feeling well, and spends his morning curled up next to me, as quiet and as comforting as can be.

*I’m grateful for plans that are flexible, and friends who understand.

*I’m grateful for a night out with our favorite couple (who are visiting from Canada). For sharing pizza, and hugs, and selfies. For laughs and smiles, and conversations where it feels like they haven’t been gone these last few months.

*I’m grateful for early Christmas that came with fuzzy pajama pants and a slew of presents to go under our tree when it goes up in a few weeks.

*I’m grateful for the medicines that worked this morning so that I could finally open my eyes without wanting to scream. So I could look at a computer screen without wanting to puke.

*I’m grateful for Andrea and the writing group she started on Facebook. It’s kept me motivated while we all participate in #NaBloPoMo. For all the writing prompts and comments. For the shares and support. For the encouragement and belief that together, we can all achieve this goal.

*I’m grateful for a partner who hasn’t given up on me. Who continues to lift me up, no matter all the different setbacks. Who has embraced this new me instead of walking away from such an unpredictable life.

 

What are YOU grateful for this chilly Monday morning?

Hurt By Strangers

I will never understand why it’s so hard for me to accept the compliments from loved ones, yet it’s so very easy for me to internalize the hurtful looks and snide comments from strangers.

I suppose this is just one of the many things I should be working on in therapy.

This past Sunday was grocery shopping day at my house. So while my post talking about being strong and brave was making the rounds, I was going from store to store to stock our cupboards and fridge.

Grocery day always wipes me out, and I’ve been nursing a tender Achilles’ tendon on my right ankle, so by the second store, I was ready to break down and use a motorized cart. Except they didn’t have any available. So I leaned heavily on the cart as I limped my way through the store. By checkout, I was toast.

I don’t know if it’s this way for anyone else, but as my pain increases, all my defenses crumble. That shield I hold up to keep out the judging stares? Yeah, it becomes dust as the pain and exhaustion overwhelm me. Scotty knows this, and so he took me home to regroup after that second store, even though we had a few more stops to make.

I rested up, re-sorted my coupons and shopping list, and then we headed back out.

I should have known better.

But I’m stubborn, and wanted to complete our list instead of pushing it off to another day.

Now Walmart isn’t generally known for its warm and fuzzy clientele or staff, so I really shouldn’t have been surprised. But I like to keep thinking there’s a bit of good left in the world, and so I was surprised.

As I limped into the store, I gasped in relief to see there was one motorized cart left. And then I crumpled as another woman approached the cart. What ensued was nothing short of shocking. She offered for me to take the cart, but then proceeded to act like I was stealing right from under her. Scotty’s hackles were raised as he squared off with the woman, trying to explain my condition and pleading for understanding. The woman stormed off after yelling at me, “I have problems, too!”

I sunk into the seat and held back the tears.

Only to turn the corner and see the Walmart greeter (who had surely witnessed everything) glaring at me with contempt.

Y’all, I nearly broke right there.

I wish I could have screamed at everyone watching, “I don’t want to be here! I don’t want to NEED this damn cart! I DON’T WANT TO BE SICK AND HURTING!”

Instead, I mustered what little dignity I had left and apologized to the employee as I rolled past.

I made it through the rest of our shopping and into the car before I let the tears come.

I know this isn’t new to any of my #spoonie pals. We’ve all faced judgement and scorn in the face of our invisible illnesses. The surprising part to me, I suppose, is that incidents like this could still hurt me. I’d like to think I’ve built up a pretty thick skin these past three years. Goodness knows I’ve had plenty of practice at it.

But I was hurting, badly, and exhausted with it. So my defenses were down.

And here’s where we are. It’s Tuesday and her actions are still bothering me. The dirty looks of all who were watching are flooding my mind and eating away at me. All the good thoughts and happiness that has been poured over me in the last few days is soothing, but the hurt is still there.

My therapist, not to mention many of my dear friends, always tells me to write things out when they’re invading my mind. It doesn’t take the hurt away, but sometimes it helps me process it a bit better. So here I am, sharing this hurt with the world. Knowing that I’m not alone, and this probably won’t be the last time something like this happens.

All the while praying I’ll be stronger next time.

What do you do when a stranger hurts your feelings? What would you have done in my position?

Living Better: Parenting Through Pain

My gal Echo has graciously agreed to open up about parenting through pain with me and you all. She usually spends her days trying to hold on to what’s left of her sanity while raising and homeschooling two kiddos.

She can be found writing about her life on her blog The Domain of the Mad Mommy

 

When you are a parent, there are daily struggles.
When you are a parent, there are daily triumphs.
When you are a parent in pain, there is daily chaos.

Parenting is a hard enough job on it’s own. So much to do, so much to learn, so many sacrifices to make, so many benefits to reap. Add some pain into the mix and it can throw everything into turmoil!

Pain comes in different forms. There is physical pain, like the pain that I am experiencing with my mouth and multiple dental surgeries.

There is also mental and emotional pain. The pain that can’t always be seen, but is always there.

The emotional and mental pain, I believe, is more easily managed. Counseling, coping skills, natural remedies, medication, therapy. It takes a while to get into the “groove” of things, but it can happen.

Some of the coping skills I use to parent through my depression are:

*Blogging – Yes, blogging. I come online, I type shit out and I piss and moan to all of the people on the Internet that will read it. Does it help? It helps me. It helps me vent. It helps me process. It helps me laugh.
*Humor – They say that laughter is the best medicine and I happen to agree. I love taking the daily chaos and turmoil in my life and turning it into something that can make myself and someone else laugh!
*Drugs – Caffeine is my number one drug of choice! I need it, I love it, I wouldn’t be able to parent without it. I was on Prozac and Ambien for depression and insomnia, but I have weaned myself off of those and seem to be doing pretty good!
*Cooking/Eating – I love to go shopping, buy fancy ingredients, cook a fancy ass meal and then rub it in my extended family’s face! Like ha, see, see what I can do. Fuck you.

I also yell, swear, take a hot shower, take naps (when I can), eat ice cream, eat Taco Bell and cry. Yes, I cry. Sometimes, you just have to cry!

Physical pain is harder to navigate. When you are in physical pain, everything is amplified x100. Your kid’s whining sounds like a thousand babies crying. The chocolate that just stained your carpet, didn’t “just” stain the carpet, it stained your very soul! You feel like you haven’t slept in days and no one, no one is going to help you!

I’m a parent…
It’s never just one LEGO!
It’s like this:

It’s like this all the time!
It fucking hurts!

Here are some of the ways that I parent through physical pain:

*Let it go – Seriously, I tend to let a lot more slide because I am in pain. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to move. I don’t want to get all worked up about the ALL of the toys being in the living-room.
*Sleep – I try to sleep when I can, where I can. Anytime, anywhere. If my kids are quiet and safe, I will sleep. Why? My body needs it to heal and I am less likely to bite someone’s head off when I am sleeping.

*Remedy – I try to remedy the pain in anyway possible! Seriously, I just want to stop hurting and when the doctors stop providing you with pain relief, you take things into your own hands!

It’s really about doing what you have to do for your kids and yourself. You have to parent through the pain because you have to be there for your kids. I know it sucks. Believe me. I deal with this shit everyday and although it sucks, royally, it is manageable. Give it time, make a plan and make sure that you have a strong support system. I’m not sure how I would cope if I didn’t have my husband supporting me and the support of the FABULOUS bloggers (my friends) that I have met online.

Don’t be afraid to reach out. Find a group. Online, offline, it doesn’t matter. Find someone you can talk to and not feel judged.

Write it down. Start a blog, write a journal. It really helps to get it out. To vent it. You don’t want to keep it bottled up.

Don’t be afraid to get help. Help for the emotional/mental pain and help for the physical pain. You do not need to deal with it alone!

Ask Away Friday The Spoonie Edition

This short week was long in more ways than one. I had my first Remicade infusion, which went well, but still took a lot out of me. Even though Scotty works on Saturday this week, I’m so very ready for the weekend. And FOOTBALL!!

This week also found me without a partner for Ask Away Friday until yesterday when Christy from Uplifting Families came to my rescue. Christy has lived with chronic pain for a number of years, but has also recently been diagnosed with Fibro. Since we’d swapped before, we thought this time maybe we should do a #spoonie themed swap, then we could pick up some tips from each other, and share some with you!

AAFChristyCollage

 

A spoonie asks and a spoonie answers…

1. We both live with chronic pain. What is one thing (non-medication) that can always take your mind off the pain? 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Screaming along with some of my favorite rock songs can always distract me from what’s ailing me.

2. What is the best advice someone has ever given you that has really helped you cope?

My gal Dawnie has given me some great advice over the last few years. At a particularly low point for me, she imparted this gem:

Celebrate each thing you do, each decision you make. Because it all counts. Don’t push so hard to be positive, instead be realistic. And when you’re able to do that, be really real with yourself, you’ll realize how much you really do each day.

I try to remember this every day. To be kind to myself when I fall behind on the chores, and still celebrate when all I can manage is to get out of bed and feed myself. Because it all matters.

3. When you’re having a good day, what is your favorite thing to do?

I love thrift shopping. My fiance and I will sometimes take $10 each and putter around local second hand stores to see what treasures we can find. Sometimes we find nothing. Other times we find fabric for one of my projects, or a piece of sports memorabilia for Scotty’s collection. Even if we don’t find anything, it’s nice to just walk around exploring.

4. What are 5 must have items you would recommend to fellow spoonies?

*Hot/Cold compresses. Preferably ones that can be used either way, and used many times. Homemade rice or bean bags are great.

*A stereo, mp3 player, or some sort of music playing device. And headphones so you can listen when everyone else is asleep and pain has you counting sheep.

*Comfort food. I always try to keep a few of my favorite treats around for the rough days. Because sometimes you just really need a bite of chocolate.

*Fuzzy socks or slippers WITH NON SKID SOLES. My feet are almost always cold, unless it’s 90+ degrees outside. And even then, sometimes. Loose fitting fuzzy socks warm my feet without being too constricting. But please, please, PLEASE make sure they’re “no-slip.” No need to have a nasty fall just because you wanted toasty toes.

*Something to cuddle. Whether it’s a kiddo, a spouse, a pet, a stuffed animal, or all of the above, always have something (or someone) to hug. You’d be surprised how much it helps.

5. What new activity or hobby have you picked up since you became a spoonie?

Honestly? Napping LOL. Before I got sick, I rarely slept during the day, I just could never shut my brain off. Now I love naps. If things work out right, I take one every afternoon. Sometimes I also sneak one in before lunch. And on really rough days, I take another right before dinner.

6. I have always been told that you are own best advocate for your health. Have you ever had to push your doctor to figure out what is wrong or to test a procedure or medication?

I’m blessed that my current team of doctors is pretty stellar. They all listen to me and my concerns, and we make decisions together. This hasn’t always been the case, and I’ve had to look for a second opinion or change doctors. Because we ARE our own best advocates, and we should NEVER be uncomfortable with our health decisions.

7. My dogs are a huge blessing, do you feel having pets helps you cope with your chronic illness?

Without a doubt, I know my life is better with my doggy. With recent flares and medication changes, Todd has proven that he was meant to be my companion. He curls up with me and licks my hand when he knows I’m hurting. If I stay in bed, he spends the day laying next to me. When I’m stressed or anxious, he does this cute floppy thing on the floor until I rub his belly. Which, of course, makes me smile and calms my mind.

8. Do you ever feel isolated since you stopped working?

Oh boy. Some days I swear if I have to stare at these four walls any longer, I’ll scream. My social life has gone WAY down, so yeah, there are moments where I feel really isolated. I’m blessed to have such a great online community of friends and family who remind me that I’m not alone, though, and that helps.

9. Do you feel your pain restricts you from doing things you enjoy?

Absolutely. Most days I try not to think about the things I can’t do anymore, because it kinda makes me a little crazy. I try to focus on the things I can still do, like my writing. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss cross-stitching.

10. Do you feel that support groups are a great place to connect with other spoonies and find others who share a similar journey?

I do! Support groups and online communities can be great! There are many out there, so find the one(s) that’s right for you. They can be good resources for sharing tips and information on treatments, as well as a place to find a sympathetic ear for those really yucky days.

 

Thanks Christy for another great swap!

Do you have any tips for spoonies you’d add to this? Or maybe you have a question you’d like me to answer? Leave a comment and let me know! And if you’d like to join in on the Ask Away Friday fun, check out their Facebook group to get started. It’s a great bunch of bloggers who are more than happy to show you the ropes 🙂

Now…ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!?!?!?!

 

Let Me Help You

One of the things I’m loving about therapy is finding the roots of my anxiety. It’s all fine and dandy to find healthier coping skills for said anxiety, but to discover WHY I’m anxious, and curb those responses is an even greater thing.

Yesterday we had a little revelation.

Well, rather, I had a revelation. I’m fairly certain my therapist saw it coming a mile away. She’s good like that.

I like to help people.

I know, I know, that shouldn’t cause me anxiety. But it does. It does because not everyone is receptive to my help, and that frustrates me. Which means I stress about it, dwell on it, and work myself into a tizzy over it.

I know it seems silly. And when I type it out, it sounds ridiculous even to me, but that’s me.

I’ve lived a lot of different paths in my life, and a great many of them were not easy or pleasant. I wouldn’t change those paths because they all led me to my son and my wonderful fiance, but I’d be lying if I said some of those paths didn’t hurt. A lot. Apparently at the very core of me, I’d like nothing more than to spare anyone the same pain I’ve already lived through. Who wouldn’t want to help their friends that way, right?

The crux of it is that I try to force my hard earned knowledge on others who aren’t usually very receptive. My father-in-law who approaches his life with chronic illness differently than I do, the pregnant teenager who is in for a rude awakening, the good friend who overextends herself to the point of an imminent burnout. Just because I can see their paths are causing them pain doesn’t mean it’s my place to try to force them to change. I can offer them my help, but if they choose to continue on their path, I must allow them to live their lives.

I don’t know WHY I’m this way or why  I let it get under my skin SO MUCH. You would think it would be easy to just let it all go, especially when my peace of mind is at stake. Sadly, it’s a battle for me to walk away and let them be. I want so badly to help them, save them from harm and pain that I fret about it until I’m a mess.

Now that we’ve discovered one of my quirks, it’s time to work on finding a better outlet for my energies. Which means I spent last night contemplating starting a local support group, which I’m not sure I have the energy to take on…

What are some of your quirks?

My Hope Was Renewed By You

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of it all.

On the days when the pain is more intense, when the fatigue has cloaked me in its quicksand, when anxiety and depression are feeding me their lies, it’s very easy to wonder why I keep fighting.

I’ve struggled this week. While there have been a few good moments, ultimately I’ve been hurting, weak, and exhausted. The little nagging voices have been trying their hardest to convince me that it’s not worth it. That getting up each day and popping the laptop open is just a futile attempt to pretend like I’m actually doing something. That even the triggers from sharing my story weren’t worth it. Really, what good did it do?

Then as I got ready for bed last night, I checked my email. And my hope was renewed.

There, buried among the junk emails, was a note from a survivor, someone who had stumbled upon my post. She reached out to me to tell me her story and that I had helped her. As I read her words, my heart ached for her pain. Tears streamed down my face and I once again railed at the injustices in this world.

She finished by saying, “I wanted to say thank you and it’s kind that you give out your email so that people like me can write out things like this to someone who understands. So thank you.”

My heart clutched in my chest and I was washed over with such a feeling of grace. THIS. This is why I do what I do. Why I get up even on the painful days. Why I work so hard to spread love and hope. Why I relive the trauma every year as I share my story.

Because to know I’ve helped ONE PERSON makes it all worth it. Because no one should ever feel alone in this world. Because two survivors helped to give me the strength to take back my power and rise above the shame and stigma attached to sexual assault victims. Because THIS is how I repay their kindness and faith in me.

So to Someone Who Refuses To Make This Event Ruin Me-

Thank you for reminding me of my purpose in this world. Thank you for trusting me with your story. Thank you for being brave and strong. You are indeed not alone.

I Have It Easy

I have it easy, being the sick one.

I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t lost it. At least, not yet. But I’ll back up a bit for you.

I’ve been battling this current flare since right around Valentine’s Day. It’s had me particularly concerned because this time around, I have neck stiffness and pain along with a pretty constant headache. This is not a common symptom for me, and has had me worried that RA may be attacking my spinal joints. Not a promising prospect.

My doctor has me on a pretty aggressive course of steroids and pain medication until my appointment with the new rheumatologist on the 1oth. I’ve been doing okay, resting as much as I’m able and laying low, but things really amped up this weekend. I spent most of Friday night wide awake, fighting the urge to burst into tears from exhaustion and stress. By Saturday evening, I was dizzy, the headache had reached the point where I thought my head would explode, and I had developed a whooshing sound in my left ear.

So off we went to the ER.

They took good care of me in the hospital, and after administering medication for a migraine, which worked well, they sent me home with orders to rest and not let my pain medication wear off.

I awoke Sunday feeling almost human. I dutifully took my meds and even felt up to a run to the store for some much needed groceries. My fiance said he wasn’t feeling well, but we both thought it was from a lack of good sleep over the past two nights.

We made it halfway through Safeway before he gave out. While contemplating a sale on cookies, all the color drained from his face and he said he felt weak. He insisted I finish shopping while he waited in the cafe area. I rushed through my list, torn between worry and my own pain.

We made it home safely and I quickly ordered him into pajamas and went about loading him up on medicine and fluids. He curled up on the couch where he dozed off and on while I tried working on a few projects, reaching over every so often to check his forehead for signs of a fever.

Y’all, I don’t know how he does it.

It ate at me ALL DAY to know he was sick, hurting, miserable, and there was nothing I could do to take it away. I sat helpless as he napped, my hands itching to DO SOMETHING. I wanted, NEEDED to take away his pain and discomfort. I needed to make him feel better and it was all out of my hands.

Last night, as we got ready for bed, he thanked me for taking care of him. I nearly burst into tears as I asked him how he does it. He takes care of me EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every day he spends worried about me, checking me over for new symptoms, watching me for signs of disease activity. Every day he handles me with gentle touches, careful to not cause me any further pain. Every day he watches helplessly while I battle RA.

And there is nothing he can do.

He can’t take away the pain or the fatigue. He can’t erase the swollen knuckles. He does the little things, like rub my back and warm up the heating pads, but in his mind, it’s not enough. He loves me and wants so desperately to heal me, to take away my pain and discomfort.

Like I said, I have it easy being the sick one.

Fortunately, he seems to be a bit more himself today. It’s likely he’s picked up a bug and that combined with the lack of sleep and worry over me kicked his butt. He has his own invisible illness though, so the worry is always there that it’s something more.

I guess that’s the crux of truly loving someone. I live with my pain because I don’t have any other choice. But I would give a year of good days to take away his pain and illness. In a heartbeat.

Winter Has Cometh. And A Flare, Too

It has not been an easy past few days.

My beloved PACNW finally got a bit of winter. Which would normally be cause for happiness, since I often miss the snow of my youth. However, for a valley only used to rainy winters with splatterings of snow once in a while, we were ill-equipped for the foot of snow that fell, the freezing rain that came on top of it, or the dense fog that followed it.

I spent the storm huddled under blankets on my couch at times enthralled with watching the snow fall, at others itching with cabin fever. Since my apartment complex doesn’t have maintenance available on the weekends, the parking lot and walkways stayed buried under piles of snow and ice. Knowing how unstable my walking can be on a clear, summer day, my going out in the snow was never an option. We couldn’t risk a fall or injury.

By Saturday evening, I was feeling the tight confines of being locked away at home. Just when I thought I had gathered the courage (or recklessness) to brave the outside, a wave of pain came to knock me down. I spent all of Sunday in a ball, pain radiating from my neck to the tips of my toes. Every movement made me want to scream. Making it to the bathroom and back without my legs giving out was considered a great accomplishment.

Though I had expected a flare to accompany the wildly changing weather, I was not prepared for the intensity of what arrived. I contemplated a trip to the ER if only to find some sort of relief, but I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. I know the Emergency Room isn’t to be used to help manage my pain, no matter how badly I’m wanting that relief.

This morning I called my regular doctor and left a message that I need to be seen. Now that I’m insured, I need to be referred to a new rheumatologist to look at new treatment options. The frequency and intensity of my last few flares has me concerned that my current treatment plan may no longer be working for me. I hope that we can get something scheduled soon.

I’m trying to keep my mood up, but I’m still hurting today. I’m keeping my interactions on social media to a minimum, I don’t want to flood my friends with my whining. And that’s exactly how I feel right now. Whiney and ouchy. Not my best.

What do you do when the pain becomes unbearable? Do you have any tips for keeping your mood light when you’re hurting?