Monday, November 29, 2010


This year, I gave thanks that you, my readers, haven't given up on me despite my long absence. I went on to have one of the best thanksgivings of my life.

And then came Friday. More to come...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Perplexed...and yet, Still Bitchy

I'm too smart for my own good. I don't mean as in I've cured RA for good brilliance (don't we wish). I'm not even smart in a way like my hubby whom despite also having 3 degrees, can get under the house with the best of them and figure out why our washing machine isn't working.

No, I'm smart in a really annoying way. I also hold two degrees; I'm no slouch, but I have this irksome observational intelligence. I notice details about people, places, situations, rooms, outfits, body language. You name it, I notice it...And then somehow, I file it in a part of my brain for future reference in some (apparently) neverending storehouse of details fileboxes.

So of course; what ends up happening are one of two things: Either I see things coming for miles bofore anyone else...which annoys me and them. Me, because it takes forever to get validation, and them b/c I'm always right. Or, the second kind...and this is the one that keeps me awake at night, requires an ambien script, and still wakes me up 2 hours later anyway. I notice things, things that are too "non-random" to be coincidental, but I DON'T know what they mean. Obviously, I'm not meant to. I mean, I've lived long enough to realize God reveals everything in time. Yet, why does he let me see these connections if he's going to make me wait so long to find out what they mean.

And here's a big example of what I mean. I've mentioned it to a couple of bloggers, and their answer was that maybe we copy each other...but I really don't think it is that. I mean, RA behaves differently, for each one of us. And yet...there are certain periods where I swear my RA is acting like a lot of yours. And it seems to be the same 10 core people. For instance, I just went through the best three weeks I've had in two years, and now I'm crashing hard. I could tell without it having to be confirmed that many of you were having more good days...because we were all too quiet.

And I remember a time when (even though I don't struggle with my hands so much as most; mine is more in the larger joints) I was having a really hard month with my hands. Three bloggers posted that same month, one even featured new gloves. RA Guy is one and Remicade Dream, and the three of us are roughly the same age. There are more, but I guess I just wanted to raise this awareness for those of you that haven't already seen it too.

But I swear to you, I stay up night TRYING to figure out, "Why now? What's different? What did we do/didn't do that we did last month?"

So this is what I KNOW. This RA thing has a pattern. It may be slightly different in all of us, but there ARE remit/pain cycles that are consistent across the board. If I can see it from my little house in the sticks, where are the scientists, the Einsteins, the brainiacs? They could use an Oprah a-ha moment if you ask me.

I do know some docs see it. I believe that is why many are starting to read our blogs. It may have started as a conversation with one dr., and then another. And then more patients reported something. Each time we think we're on to something, its only a piece. But as random as RA seems, there are times its not. So there is a bigger picture we're all overlooking.

And as God as my witness, if someone could figure it out, I'd empty this entire damn detail file in my brain, including the HORRID picture of my newest sister-in-law wearing a TIARA at her wedding. Really, Sweetie? A tiara? In your 30's? Damn details.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bless me Father, for...Wait...Nope, Didn't Sin

I take drugs. There I've said it.

Ok, so we're all laughing, because we all take drugs, right? The point of half of our conversations is to find out who is responding to what when and how, right?

Well I take RA drugs, and even though those have the scariest side effects, no one really cares to ask me about them.

Hmmmm...Why is that?

I guess they are just not "scandalous" enough for folks.

They want to know about the OTHER kind, the kind that I get from a very intelligent and highly qualified medical professional whom would not risk her liscense on a stranger by giving her a handful of drugs to swallow at will. NO!

She does, however, prescribe me a couple of things for the pain I live with daily while we wait for something to take hold. I know it will. It has before, and I've left the pain meds in the medicine cabinet where they stayed, until like a dumbass, I stopped Orencia to try and conceive. (Note to anyone trying to conceive: we were dumb, but you may not be as unlucky as I with biologics, so you go for it.)

In any case, I can bet MY LIFE that I am NOT addicted to pain medicine. Here is an actual conversation I've had in my house this week:

Hubby: Sit down; you are in pain and its time for a pain pill.

Me: You know they hardly work when I'm not on any biologics anyway.

Hubby: True. At least take some motrin then.

Me: Fine. They work almost the same anyway.

Now that all 43 of us know the intimate details of my conversations, could one of you PLEASE call my well-meaning, but definitely nosey and misled relatives and tell them I'm not quite the crackhead they might think I am, that just because I am forced to swallow opiates from time to time b/c I have a progressive debhilitating disease, I'm REALLY not ready to party down with Lindsay Lohan!

I am so sick of the endless questions about the pills. Seriously? It would even be o.k. if you threw in a question about my daily obstacles or small victories that I manage despite this nasty disease. Save your questions, b/c I'm not one to give you the scandal you desire...unless of course you want to peek into the room when my hubby comes home from a week long business trip. But that's another subject entirely!

In fact..."Forgive Me, Father...For I Have Sinned After All."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ride the Bus or Keep on Walking?

I'm flaring. Badly. I'm in between treatments. The Simponi wore off sometime this week. We gave up on mtx after five years of litle help, and 85% hair loss. So now I had a birthday. I'm 35, and I want to grow my hair back.(Sometimes I wear extensions, and though I get compliments, I always feel strange with them in, like I have some big secret that is about to get exposed.)

Ok, so my next step was supposed to be AP. My hubby agreed, even my Rheum. agreed, BUT (and there is always a but), two of my other docs expressed disgust that I would try it. Hence, when I came to see the rheumy I asked her what was up.

This was HER experience with AP. It can be good. It can be good, and I may feel great on it. (So this is where my hubby and I are getting excited.) But then she said, "I did AP with 1 girl with Sclerdoma. She was actually flying to Calirfornia to get it done, and I was just monotoring. She felt fantastic...for one year. And then it stopped. No one could get it tweaked enough for it to work again."

She went onto tell me that, "The AP girl was ready to sell her story to the world, but then it stopped. She said we can try AP with me, but she doesn't think we are there yet. She wants to keep trying until we've hit all the biologic drugs so that I'm not crippled by the time I'm 40 - 45."

Why feeling good and becoming cripple should go hand and hand, we can't figure out.

In any case, she STRONGLY suggested that we move to Arava and Rituxan.

Fine. Let's go. insurance company decided I need prior auth. for Arava. Why do they do that? They approve drugs that cost thousands in a blink, but every once in a while they will say nada to something dumb like a birth control pill.

And...the infusion nurse happens to be on vacay for this week. Which means, I don't even get to schedule the infusion until next week.

Meanwhile its been about 6 -7 weeks with no Simponi, and my body is SCREAMING at me. So yeah, you guessed it, I'm riding the steroid/pain med. train...which means I feel like 4% better.

Anyway, that's not very entertaining, but I wanted to catch everyone up on my new treatment option b/c we discussed it at lenghth on facebook.

However today, as I am flaring, I have been in bed quite a lot watching the House Marathon. They just showed my favorite one.

Its the one where House undergoes some memory brain surgery to figure out why Wilson's girlfriend is dying.

He ends up in a small coma at the same time Amber dies. So then they are both riding in this all white bus wearing all white gowns. Obviously, they have one way tickets to Heaven. Personally, I'd prefer to fly or maybe take a hot air balloon, but whatever...

So House asks Amber, "Are you dead?"

And she says, "Yes...but you're not yet. You need to get off the bus."

And he replies, "I can't"

She: Why not?

House: Because it doesn't hurt on the bus.

Right there. That's what does it to me.

That line says it all. Every time I hear it it rings with truth throughout my entire being. Because we all, whether we admit it or not, have that nagging thought in the back of our heads that there is only one way...ONE make the pain stop.

But then...everything stops. Our joys, our goals, our connections to our families.

But the fact that we even have that nagging feeling is enough for people to recognize JUST HOW horrific it is to live with chronic pain.

SO FIX IT PEOPLE. We're not just complaining. We are losing most of our lives. We may be here breathing, but that's just not enough.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mary,Jesus & Joseph! Mamma had an epiphany, and its about time!

I HATE being disabled. I cannot express enough how much I HATE having any limitations. I'll try to put it into words if I possibly can. Remember that scene from "Stand by Me" where all the boys realize they are all covered in leeches. You know how everytime you watch that episode, you think about how awful it would be if you were covered in leeches, and how you'd have this overwhelming feeling to jump up and slap at them for hours until they were all gone, screaming the whoooooooole time. Well, having RA is a bit like waking up every day and remembering that I have a ton of leeches on me. It is that horrifying. Really. I promise. I wouldn't lie. Not about RA.

And I also hate RA because it hinders me in SO many ways. Remember, before RA, I not only felt human, I felt that I was super-human. (How the mighty has fallen, huh?) If someone gave me a list of tasks that would require the energy of four people, I would not only have 'em done in a day, but I would have added five more and had my hair done, and my outfits changed twice to boot.

Now I have days when I imagine nothing will ever get done at my hands again... but then! I have days when I'm determmined that I will be AS efficient as the old me and will get everything done and look good doing it. (Of course, on these days I either fail miserably, or I hurt so much by the end of the day that I fall into bed as gracefully as Dorothy's Tin Man, screaming for celebrex all the way down.) In actuality, the truth is this: most days I have a list of about 10 things I want to do, and I get maybe 1/2 of those done, so I'm maybe just a little bit slower than the average bear, I guess.

I am coming to terms with the new rythm of my life. And though this may sound odd, I also recognize that I still do posess a certain physical beauty that RA has not stolen completely as I had previously believed. I suddenly feel too that this is another part of my life that should no longer be wasted as I mourn what else IS no longer because of this disease. Beauty fades rapidly, and I would lie if I said that hearing some recent compliments did not create a desire within me of late to luxuriate in this beauty, to accept the complimnets and the stares, and to appreciate the bit of the magician's illusion it lends me...

"Look here at how the blonde curls frame her big lovely eyes; pay no attention to the way she sometimes limps or that her hands appear for too rigid for someone's her age."

This blog is called "Confessions..." because that is what I do here. I confess. And I am confessing that yes I use my looks to open doors for me, espeically those doors that might otherwise be closed for someone with RA. I do my work as an activist at those doors AND behind them. Sometimes I have to get inside before I can truly begin changing pre-conceived ideas about people with autoimmune diseases. And I am ashamed to admit but sometimes the size of the key that unlocks that door is the approximate size and shape of two ass shakes and a head turn with a wink.

Yet, I write about this acceptance of my new limitations and the use of the weapons I have left, and in actuality, that is not what today's epiphany is about.

That epiphany would, in fact, involve my son.

You see, years ago, long before I was so evovled in my thinking about RA (ok you got me-- it was more like days ago), I felt very disabled and very frustrated, but the one clear thought that I always had from day one is this: I may be a thirty-something year old Mom with a physical disability and limitations and obstecales to every day living, BUT! My son is just a normal little boy, (emphasis on normal), and he does NOT have a disability, and hence, I will not allow him to live as if he does have one.

Now great intentions aside, and that was all I had... This decleration put me in a tricky spot b/c let's say I'm having a flare that is lasting a few weeks, but I also have a two year old who is relying on me for his every meal, every bathroom break, every minute of entertainment. In short, he needed me for every social, intellectual and fundamental need he had. (Let's not even mention here that I had no family support at that juncture -- or now, for that matter.)

So here's where things got/get tricky. With all of my greatest of intentions, I was, in fact, finding it hard enough just to prepare all my son's meals, so how was I then going to shuttle him around to enough activities so that he did not live "as if he were disabled?" I couldn't do it. So yes, in the very early days of his life, I am ashamed to say that his life became as small as mine often times did, which meant me all day long, my husband and me at nights, and if he was lucky, his cousins from time to time on the weekends.

It was making me crazy. After all my degrees relating to education and/or child psychology, I had all the love and knowledge to give my son, and yet to walk him outside and place him on the grass proved to be too difficult for me to manage on most days.

Oh, and around that same time it is worth noting, money was starting to become as big an obstacle to helping my child to live his life of busy activities as my health was.

What was I going to do???

So what I did do turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made in recent years. I took whatever money I could scrape together, and enrolled my then two year old son into one of those fancy preschools, that only meet for a few hours, a few days a week. Since the hours are only from like 9 -12, only stay-at-home-parents could find the time to take their children to these schools thus ensuring that the schools would be ever mindful of the heavy amount of parental involvement and therefore the curriculum would be full of both academic worhty subjects, but also plent of of oppurtunities for field trips and parties to provide both parent and child reasons to socialize.

I honestly liked the idea of my son having access to some structured learning time, but more than anything, I just wanted him to make other friends besides me, (read: some peers, some non-disabled children like himself.) In short, this was one of my son's first lessons in understanding that other people besides himself could, and in fact liked to, run/jump/bike, etc... He finally had people with whom he could play that didn't have to stop every hour to either take a medication or a nap.

So over the past few years, no matter what our financial situation, I have made sure that our son's school remains a top priority. Ok, so check one for Mama.

But as he ages, our son needs more than even that nine hours a week of feeling "not disabled" as I call it. So I have increasingly organized play dates, scheduled activiities for us, ensured that my hubby -- instead of helping me, his disabled wife or helping around with the house -- directed all his after work energy to taking our son to the park, or swimming, and then playing with him after dinner, bathing him and finally putting him to bed. (In total, I think my hubby and I talk about 20 minutes a day.)

I know to the the outside person it seems crazy. But imagine that at least five hours a day of a little boy's time is spent with a woman whom can only sit and play trains ten minutes at a time, or then stand to play ANYTHING for another 10 minutes, before its time to sit down again and rest. The lawyers refer to it as "popcorn disabled." We sit and stand and rest on a continuous basis all day b/c those activities I just listed remain comfortable for only a few minutes at a time. (How my child is not ADHD is a blessed miracle!)

So yes, GDamnit, I worry a lot that my son spends too much of his time modeling his life after the life of a disabled woman, even if that disabled woman happens to be his mother, and therefore the woman whom loves him more than she loves even herself.

Still, it has struck me recently that I have, perhaps, in my determination not to let my son live the sheltered life I've begun to live, pushed too much and too often. I say this beacuse recently, I did something that I hadn't allowed to happen in months and months. I left a weekend open, with no plans made for any of us, and I picked up a couple of movies for the family.

And you know what happened? The three of us spent the weeend kicking back, sometimes together having a blast in the pool or eating, or sometimes apart. Maybe I was quilting in one room while my son played trains in another room, and my hubby watched The History Channel in even a different room. And then Sunday, a miraculous thing occured. One of our son's friend's Mom's called and said, "How about sending your child over for a few hours, so you and your hubby can have a little time to yourself?"

And that is exactly what we did. And it was wonderful.

And I know it seems like just a normal weekend that many and most families might have all the time, but for me, it was a weekend full of revelations. First, I don't spend enough time focusing on my time alone with my husband. Secondly, I spend way too much time worrying that my son is modeling himself after a disabled woman, because for one thing, that is not true. And thirdly, even if it is true a ittle bit, its actually a somewhat good thing. Because hey - I have some good traits, some that deserve to serve as examples for others, disabled or no, right?

Finally, I just LOVED the normalcy of our weekend together. I wanted to see what it was going to be without my worry over his development clouding it. And I was happy to discover that it truly was one of the most wonderful weekends I've had in a very long time, with everyone feeling, for once, great in their own skin and o.k. that everyone else's bodies were at differet levels too.

No, this does not mean, however, I'm pulling him out of the pricey school. He still does need time away from Mom, but not because I'm disabled, just because he does.

And one more thing as an addendum to this story. Much is written these days about how to raise a child with speical needs. I get that, I do. But yet, not much is written in the reverse: for the mom with speical needs raising the child with very normal needs. And so that is why I think these posts are so important to we moms especially. We are the best sort of barometer for each other, I suppose.

Though, I will share recently that my rheumy was so impressed with my son's behavior at a recent visit, that she leaned over and asked my secret. Of course, it made me feel good. But how could I explain in the matter of minutes the bond that has arisen out of countless hours of the two of us finding the best points at which we could meet as mother and son, to play together, to laugh together, to learn and teach together, a rythym that involves pain and pills and laugther and questions and more laughter and love, lots of love, all the time love, and the desire to want to do the absolute best for my child, and perhpas even more so than an able-bodied person because I never want to feel for a second that any oppurtunity was missed for him because of me.

So I just looked at her and said, "We have a speical bond, Doc." At which point she could only answer,"I'm sure you do. There's do doubt about that."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why Oh Why

Can't my family/work give me time off to recognize my first priority in life...writing this blog!

I promise to try and post tonight. I have had some really good ones lately too, and no time to put them down. So frustrating!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Quick Question to Ponder While I Work on a Longer Post...

I "contracted" (I never know what word to say...devloped? caught? was given as a gift?) RA when I was very young. I was 29 years old. Actually, when I look back, the symptoms began 2 weeks after my 28th birthday, but it took until the middle of my 29th year to receive a diagnosis. Life was not as hard then as it would get...but somehow I thought it was then.

When I turned 30, I eloped and got pregnant within the first month of that year! After the birth of my son, the RA that went into remission with pregnancy returned with a vengeance. It progressed somehow with his birth, and progressed again last year, at year 5. (That second part is not related, but just a caution.) In any case, I often think God knew what he was doing when he sent my son that year. It was clearly going to be harder for me to care for a baby after that year.

Nevertheless, we tried anyway. Each time I would go off the meds. to get pregnant, I would literally be unable to walk within a short time, 2 months to be exact. Though the last time, it was probably only one month. At one point, we came off Orencia, the only drug that ever worked for me - after 11 months. It never worked again. And no drug has since in these two years. Talk about regret! Eventually, I decided that God had different plans for us, perhaps adoption, perhaps a busy has not been revealed to me yet. ;)

But here is the problem, and wherein lies my quesstion (that was not so quick as I thought it would be): I often get asked if/when I will have another child. It is obvious to people who know us that I'm in my 30's. Certainly time is running out. I used to answer that I didn't know. Now I can honestly answer that "No. There will not be another one."

I can clearly tell that this answer bothers most people. So often, I would explain that I had RA, and that it was too difficult for me to stop my meds., so we really couldn't afford to try anymore.

Then, it becomes obvious that they are pitying me!

So here's the question: Do I allow people to judge me harshly, unfairly, or do I open myself up to their pity? Which is worse?

I'm hoping you guys can help.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yay - I'm a 2-Time Award Winning Blogger

Isn't that great to say? :) I can't help it. I LOVE getting awards. I wish we could have our own form of the Oscars every year. That being said...I only want an award I TRULY deserve, so thank you for thinking I deserve this Wren, Remicade Dream and Bionic Pony.

Now, according to the rules of this award, I’m supposed to tell you ten things about me that you don’t know, and then nominate five blogs for the award. Hmmm...this will be an added challenge for me, because as most of you know, I'm trying to keep my identity a secret. So I cannot write about some of the more impressive parts of myself without tipping people off. Its not that I'm the Queen of England or anything, but if any of my family or friends stumble upon this blog, I don't want to face the inevitable hurt feelings and angry confrontations. Then again, the more I write about some of them, the more I think about revealing myself if only to ensure their departure from my life.

But ok, back to the award...

Thank you so much Remicade Dream for giving me this award. I love your blog, and I hope I will do the award justice. Wren, you know I adore your writing, and hope I can continue to learn more from you. And Bionic Pony, I just found yours, and can't wait to read some more. So here goes...

1. I wish I were the Queen of England, or the Queen of anything. I have an obsession with castles and find royalty intriguing...not to mention the fun I could have with those gowns and tiaras!

2. I have written to all three of my favorite authors with RA, and all three have responded back within 24 hours. I know - thrilling, right?

3. I am a HUGE fan of disaster movies. I have seen Twister about 200 times, and I've made my poor husband sit through every cheesy movie EVER made about a volcano eruption, earthquake or killer virus.

4. I own roughly 319 pairs of flip flops.

5. I absolutely LOVE my chosen career. One of the hardest things about this damn disease is that I don't get to practice my career full-time. But! As many have pointed out, it leaves me no excuse to not work on my writing!

6. I was voted Most Popular in our high school yearbook. It was a mistake. I was actually voted something else, but our names were similar, and they mixed us up. HA!

7. I predict the future at an alarmingly accurate rate. I present the following real life scenario:
Husband: Superbitch, I think Jack and Anna make such a sweet couple.
Superbitch: Yeah, they'll be divorced soon. I give 'em six months.
Husband: You're crazy.
(Six months later)
Husband: Jack and Anna are getting a divorce!
Superbitch: Uh huh, and you're surprised why?
Husband: Holysh*t, I married Sylvia Browne.

8. I have an enormous crush on Dr.Gregory House - but of course, he is the King of speaking his mind; he's disabled; he's brilliant. (O.k. so I lost in the comparison on the last point, but still!)

9. I abhor weddings. I think they are so boring, and such a waste of money. I eloped. And to this day, I try my best to get out going to as many weddings as I can. Imagine my delight when I had to be a matron of honor a few years ago.

10. Upon learning I had this disease at age 29, I gave up smoking, clubbing and drinking, and so now I drink 5 cans of pepsi a day.

And now I'd like to pass this award along to thse deserving people whom I do not believe have received it yet:

1. RA Sucks by Kim

2. And That's the Way Sue "C's" It...The Mommy Doctor Blog

3. Amber at RA Maybe Mamma

4. Leslie at Southern Gal with RA

5. Seth at Creaky Joints

Monday, May 10, 2010

Here I Come Again...

Its been a while, I know.

There are many, and I do mean many, reasons for my long unanticipated absence. There were some bad flares, and some great weeks when I had to take advantage of NOT having such bad flares. But then there was something else too...

It was...well, I caught myself being too nice all of a sudden. The RA blogging community is small, and we certainly must support each other; that much is clear. But showing support doesn't mean that we necessarily have to agree all the time. I was having a harder and harder time disagreeing with some of the bloggers that I have come to think of as friends.

And even more than that, I started becoming a little too aware of my readers. Like once when I wrote that post about how all the cancer awareness crap sometimes makes me resentful, and then I heard from a reader who had both RA and Cancer, and I ended up feeling like a big o'l bitch (and not the super kind). From there on out, I would start writing about something that bugs me, and I would pause and think "What if one of my readers does that same thing, and so this offends her?"

And so I had to step away for a while...try to live and be and do all things with this horrible disease. So that I could observe these experiences and bring them to you guys again UNcensored AND REAL! SO if you'll allow me to, I'd like to try again to start making entries regarding some of the more annoying things with which I dealt while I was away.

I would have liked to start even soon, but alas, let me share with you the LAST excuse for being absent so long...It comes under the heading of: Annoying fat in-laws who think that 1.)They know what is best for me. Even know they 2.)don't have RA, are not medical drs., nor have they barely even spent more than 2 minutes researchingthe disease. They also think 3) that they won't look EXACTLY like the abominable snowman in their size 38 wedding dress, but that's just one more example of their very poor judgement.

Yet, I've been subjected to their little "discssions" (read: lectures) several times each of the past few months. I'm seriously about to go over to facebook and make some really rude comment (you know how I'm famous for my snarky FB comments). Something that says something akin to: Thanks for all of your great advice about the disease that you don't have, but the wedding is right around the corner, so you may want to start working on your strategy for not being called the "second wife that is exactly double the size of the first one." I'm not quite sure how that's going to go over, so maybe I'll just keep writing here to keep myself sane.

So thanks for welcoming me back. I'll get straight to work on both updating you guys some more and doing something once and for all with our book disucssion.

And speaking of Facebook, please please pretty please use the link on the left to join us over there. We can make mini snarky comments to each other all day long over there, and you never know...You might inspire my next entry. Oh, and if while you are there, you want to make jokes about the fat bride that told my husband, "Would it really be so bad if she had to use a wheelchair?" I would seriously be ok with that. As in, I may nominate you for a Nobel Peace Prize.

On a serious note, thanks for caring everyone. And reading. I keep all of you in my prayers on a reg. basis. You have no idea. xoxo


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sometimes These Things Just Happen...

Well, since this is a place where I confess all my deepest secrets, I think it is only fitting that I mention that I am falling in love with my physical therapist.

She is in her sixties, and I'm pretty sure she is a man, and I've never had any lesbian tendencies before now...

But all that aside...damn my knees feel good!

Do you think she will have me?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Discussion Update

Hey Guys,

I figured out how we're going to do the book discussion (Yay!!!), but I have had so many people express interest that if you guys don't mind, I'm going to move it to the end of the month in order to give everyone time to read the novel, including Wren whom I just sent the novel to today. :)

If anyone else needs the novel, comment here. Maybe someone else has a copy they are ok to part with. If you tell the post office you are sending a novel, they discount the normal postage rate. It is ony a few cents.

So once again, the book discussion is for Diane Chamberlain's novel linked on the left, and I will begin the discussion on March 30th.

I also added an new link of the week. (RA Mamma's link was added to the permanent blog roll.) The new link is a really cute blog that I enjoy. It is written by a female doctor whom is also a Mom with a lot of great parenting tips. I think a lot of you would enjoy that blog if you want to check it out. I love looking for new sites and blogs that you guys might like as much as I do. I know there are the usual blogs we all have come to know and love, but there are also a lot of fresh new ones I'm finding that provide unique perspectives. I hope you guys like 'em. And if you find a cool site, let me know!!!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

With Friends Like These...

I'm warning you know. Look out. This is going to be a bad one.

If you are offended later, I don't want to hear it, because I'm warning you now that I could possibly anger someone, but then again, being that you are "My peeps," I somehow think you'll totally get this.

And truly, this can't be held in. I am LIVID, and I suspect that many of you are too.

I am livid because I have been hearing THIS for the past two years, and the last person who told me was either just the straw that broke the camel's back, or else when I considered the source, it just made me feel enraged for all the inappropriate things I DON'T say to him, which I am going to list here and now.

O.k. so let me back up...In fact, let me back WAY up...and I promise, when I finally DO write the thing I'm tired of hearing, I'll BOLD it for ya since I backed up on everyone. (If you think that is frustrating, you probably don't want to get behind me when I'm driving.)

Seven years ago, I began dating the world's sweetest man. He is a very intelligent, considerate and well-respected man, but he is also a rather shy and introverted man, a wallflower if you will, uncomfortable in social situations, bookish, careful with his words and just all around not the type of man you would expect to date...say... Dance Club Barbie.

And as luck would have it at that time, I was Dance Club Barbie.

Or at least I was the outgoing, fashion plate, social calendar overbooked, sports car driving blonde on whom he happened to develop a crush.

So when the two of us indeed began dating, many of our friends, co-workers and even family members sorta scratched their heads at the rather unlikely pair that we had become. Most people chalked it up to "Opposites Attract," or something like that.

And perhaps that was a bit of our case. Who Knows? All I do know is that attracted I was. I hadn't ever fallen so much in love, nor so deeply, nor had I ever experienced the kind of chemistry that was present between the man who would become my future husband and me. And yes, that kind of chemistry STILL exists all these years later; I can assure you. Seven year Itch? Not in this household. The only man I itch for is my tall and handsome husband.

But seven years ago, during our dating years, I imagine my husband probably developed a bit of a complex, when everyone appeared shocked that he had landed such a party girl. I can still, rather satisfyingly, see the look of shock on his family's faces when I walked in to meet them on his arm. His brothers jaws promptly hit the ground, and he swears they formed a new found respect for him on the spot.

So imagine our surprise several years later when all the, "Wow, man. You must be smooth to land her. How did you do it?" comments turned to, "Wow, lady. You are so lucky to have such a great husband with a good job whom is so devoted to you even though you are sick."

(Even though you are sick - those words BURN into me now, but we'll get to that.)

But let's stick with the past for a moment more, because I would like to point out that when the perception changed from my husband being lucky to land me to him being some sort of hero for putting up with my disease, we thought it was hilarious. The two of us spent a few years laughing about how people could switch their opinions so readily when really we had both felt all along that we were both just as lucky, just as in love with each other from day one until now.

Alas, every joke loses its luster. And after six years of hearing their not so veiled comments, I find that I'm not laughing so much anymore.

Perhaps it is because I have heard it for way too long, or perhaps (and this is what I suspect is the truth), the disease has progressed to the point where my husband actually does carry an increasingly bigger portion of the load.

But whatever the reason, I heard it again recently and I LOST it. I logged onto facebook, with hope upon hopes, that the person who spewed that awful comment my way would recognize their words and know my retaliation was meant for them. I wrote, "If you say to me that I am lucky to have such a devoted spouse because I am ill, I might say back to you that you are lucky to have such a devoted spouse even though you are hideously fat and ugly."

Now, I have said this before, and I will say it again. I have no beef with fatness. I have battled weight before myself. It is simply that the same person who made that insensitive comment to me happens to be marrying a person that is very large. My husband happens to think I am very lovely, beautiful, kind and intelligent (and we all know I'm sassy.) So perhaps my disability is not a "thing" for him. Perhaps, in fact, he feels lucky that disabled or not, a woman of my particular kind finds him so appealing.

And so while I know many of my friends were, in fact, offended by my FB statement, I think it was important for them to see the superbitch in me fly for once, to know that their little sly comments are NOT making it under the radar. I see the insult, intended or not, in their words, and I am not going to endure it anymore. Because you see, a person may have the most perfect, gold-plated, hard as steel joints there are out there, but I'm sorry to say that does NOT make them a catch. So yes, for every time you wonder aloud why my husband stays with his "sick wife," I may have to wonder aloud how you stay with your dumb one.

Or crazy one.

Or pastie white, crooked teeth having, pants hiked up on her waist one.

Or infertile one.

Yes, one person who made this statement to us has been struggling with her own fertility issues for YEARS. Do you KNOW how hard it was for me not to point out her own failings in the face of her obvious rudeness.

But I would never. Because let's face it, most of us never WOULD say these things to other humans. So then tell me again why THEY feel it is appropriate for them to wonder at my husband's motives aloud.

The bottom line is that some of us may indeed have RA, or MS or lupus or Cancer, and that does not mean our spouses are STUCK with us. It means they love us in spite of our challenges, or because of our integrity when faced with such challenges. It means that yes, they are honoring their vows, but they are doing it with joy and love and even passion and lust, not because they are candidates for Sainthood.

So I say, the next time someone has the gall to wonder aloud how anyone puts up with your having RA, ask them why anyone puts up with their ass period!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Couple of Notes Before My Next Post

Just a couple of housekeeping items...

First, I posted a new link on the left. It is a new blog I found where a young woman with RA is seeking info. on being pregnant with RA. I was hoping some of you could stop by and share your pregnancy experiences with the blogger. She is a nice woman with an interesting blog.

The address is:

Second, A lot of you have been interested in the idea of the book discussion. I was thinking we could aim for the middle of the month, the fifteenth. So if you haven't read Diane Chamberlain's novel on the left, and you are interested in the book discussion, go ahead and read it. (Especially those of you with your fancy Kindles. *grin*) Remember, the protagonist of the book has RA, and this is one of the only works of fiction I found where this is the case. So it is a really worthwhile read even if you don't wish to take part of the book discussion.

O.k. I will close out now and get back to work on my next post! Thanks Everyone!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Lesson Learned

It is one of our fears, I think, all of ours about using the "d" word. We are afraid that we will use the "disabled" word, and someone will look us square in the face and laugh their heads off.

And it happened.

To me.

This week.

I started tanning. It is something I do about this time every year. I find that I can no longer wait for Spring to start, so around the end of Februrary, I attempt to jumpstart my Spring by lying under some lamps for 10 minutes every other day. I only go for a few weeks, and in that time, Spring starts, and I blend seamlessly from taking in my sun indoors to taking it in outdoors. Try it sometime. I bet you'll find the Vitamin D boosts your mood AND BONUS: I ALWAYS feel like my RA pain is lessened. No lie!!! There is something to the whole boosting of our Vitamin D levels!

But I digress.

Anyway, anyone knows that the only problem with indoor tanning is the dreaded "Prom Season." Which is now. Right now. All those high school girls lining up daily for days upon end trying to, in effect, change the DNA of their skin-tone from some sort of Euro-ancestry to that of the Latin descendant type. That is how dark these girls get!!!

Anyway, as a tanner, you know that in the prom season you MUST book your days a week in advance if you hope to steal 10 minutes from these prom queen hopefuls. And God forbid you arrive late one day to your appointment because your husband gets caught late in a meeting, and you almost break down in tears at the thought of NOT getting your 10 minutes of sunlight because you have come to depend on that little bit of sunshine in your day to break up the gray drudgery of these winter months hanging on way too long.

So you approach the nineteen year old, gum popping, orange streaked desk clerk and you BEG for her to fit you in anywhere!!!

But she says the thing we all fear, "All we have is the stand-up."

Ugh. The dreaded stand up. No one can say why, but standing in a tiny bright room full of lamps feels way too much like actual work, while lying down surrounded by those same bright lamps feels like a mini-vacation. And why do those tanning salons even CARRY the stand up beds??? Everyone I know hates HATES the stand-ups, and they are NEVER booked.

So, like you, I said what you might when confronted with the fact that I would have to stand, STAND, for a full-ten minutes on very bad knees (did I mention that my knees are VERY bad right now), and I wouldn't have ANYthing to lean on in that hell-hole hall of light to take the weight off of those very swollen knees.

I said, rather quietly, "I cannot use the stand-up. I'm disabled."

And that is when it happened.

This 19 year old, going on 49 due to her year round exposure to sun lamps, literally cackles, CACKLES in my face!!! She laughs wickedly as if I just told the funniest joke she ever heard.

Evidently, the fact that she has witnessed me WALKING into the tanning salon on several occasions means that she cannot rationalize the word disabled as it applies to me.

I stood there, blinking. Stunned.

As I said, we have all feared this day, but not one of us ever mentioned how we would react if it actually happened.

So I did the only thing I could think to do in the face of such a nightmare, I took the cowardly way out. I silently took the keys to the stand-up room, knowing that I'm tiny enough to actually sit on that lamp-lit room's floor without touching the walls. I sat Indian Style, not really getting a great tan that day, but at least not torturing my knees.

I sat inside the bright room contemplating what it meant to be me, having joints damaged to the point that drs. are telling me I will not return to work, and yet walking into a place looking to the whole world as if my abilities are no different than their own.

As I sat, I formed an idea. I knew it was going to take courage to pull it off, but I also knew that if I could do it, I could make a statement that would be far mor effective than my wimpy, "I'm disabled" explanation, which I see now lacked the power of my own conviction.

I returned the next day to the salon and did something I have NEVER done before in m life. EVER. I wore, in public, my very UGLY, EMBARASSING TO ME, NO WAY TO GET AROUND 'EM KNEE-BRACES, the ones the dr. ordered with the bars on either side, that on football players look tough, but on my small frame, dwarf me and make me feel about as sexy as a young Forrest Gump. Even my husband has not seen me wearing these things.

I wore them to the salon, and before the girl even registered my face, she was holding doors for me and asking if I needed help. And she looked so lost as to what to do with me and my braces, that I took pity on her and said simply, "I need a bed, but I cannot use the stand-up because my knees are bad."

She said, "Of course."

And it was then I realized that I never needed the knee braces, I only needed to find my voice, my ability to explain in the face of the ugly laughter.

Honestly. None of us are EVER going to be able to control how others act, so all we can do is control how we react.

I know this now.

And I have a killer tan.

Watch out, world!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm not above a little prostitution!

If I read ONE MORE BLOG from one of my RA blogger friends depicting the GLORY of Kindle ownership without having one of my very own, I may just have to have a super-bitch fit! Seriously, who do I have to sleep with around here to get one of these magical items?

Oh wait.

Oh, Honeeeeeeeeey. Let's talk about what I'd like to do with you this Valentine's Day...;)