Im moving on

Hey everyone.

It’s been four months since my last post and just about that long since I’ve had time to read anyone elses.

I started this blog in March 2008. Which was probably the lowest point in my life.

I’m now five years into this disease and I feel like I have experienced more ups and downs than some people experience in a lifetime. This blog was the single greatest source of comfort for me in a time that I had nothing else. Connecting with everyone else in the R.A. community has been a truly life changing experience. And, more than anything else, I give it credit for saving my sanity and pulling me out of a deep hole of despair.

But I feel like it’s time to move on. It’s been one year since my first knee replacement, 11 months since my second, and three weeks since my hip replacement, and I am pleased to announce that I feel half way human again. I’m still fighting the war, but these key battles have changed my life completely. I started back at school in the fall, and have completed two full time semesters with a 4.0 average. I’ve won awards for my art work, and I am all set to transfer to the University this fall. I’ve moved into a new apartment, and finally feel like I have my life back on track.

I still struggle daily with my R.A. but I have improved drastically. It has been a long hard road to recovery after three and a half years without insurance. I still feel angry about how our system failed me, but I’m feeling less and less like a victim with each new step.

I’m going to take a break, and someday I may be back. But for now, I dont need this blog. I’m making it out there on my own and it feels great.

If anyone with R.A. ever stumbles on this blog, I want them to know that everything will be ok. I promise.

And I am still always available if anyone needs me or just needs someone to listen. raandme at gmail.com

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New Knees for Lisa

I just got this link from Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy’s Blog

http://newkneesforlisa.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-07-06T21%3A15%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=4

This is from Lisa’s Blog:

     After 12 years of living with rheumatoid arthritis, I need total knee replacements I can’t afford. So I decided  to throw myself at the mercy of the internet. Can the kindness of friends, friends of friends, and total strangers raise $7,600 and give me my life back?

Lisa has currently raised almost $3,400 towards her goal of $7,600.

________________

Let me say, I understand where she is coming from. I understand the enormous burden of medical bills. There have been many times when I couldnt even afford the bare minimum in medications. Or visits to the Rheumatologist. If it wasnt for me finally getting Medicare, I would still be in the same position. 

And now that I have so recently had two total knee replacements, and know the relief they will give her, I wish I could give her every penny she needs. And now only $4,200 stands in her way.

Blogs

I try to keep up with as many R.A. blogs as I can. Lately there has been a huge influx in the amount of them and I couldn’t be more thrilled. There is something so great about stumbling onto a new blog. There is something so comforting in reading someone else write precisely what you’ve been thinking.

It’s so hard to keep up with them all sometimes. I have quite a few in my links section to the right. If there is anyone I have forgotten who wants to be added, just leave me a comment and I’ll add you.

Also if there is anyone who is reading and is suffering from R.A. but doesn’t have a blog, I would love to offer you a guest post to tell your story. There can never be too many.

Mothers Day 2009

This September it will have been a decade since my mother passed away. Ten years…. I cant believe it’s been so long.

Anyone who has ever lost a loved one can understand me when I say that the pain of losing her is as fresh today as it has ever been. And that sometimes, when I feel like I’m at rock bottom, my heart still cries out that I just want my mother. Her shoulder to cry on and her unconditional love and everything would be ok.

Every mother’s day for the past ten years, I have just hung out at home alone and tried to pretend it was like any other day. But this year, I wanted to write a few words about my mom.

Because she was a wonderful wonderful mother. And I know how much she loved me. That is one thing she never let any of us kids doubt.

She died suddenly when I was fourteen with no warning, and no chance to say goodbye. But thanks to her, I have so many wonderful memories of my childhood.

One of my earliest memories was sitting on the back steps with her, watching the rain, and her singing “Rain Rain go away, little Ashley wants to play”

Or singing in the kitchen as we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

An argument with my best friend when I was eight or nine. She demanded her half of our best friends necklace back. I was devastated. Mom found an old chain in her jewelery box and made a pendant for me.

Her silly nicknames. Ashbe Crispy Crunchy.

When I had my teeth pulled she promised me a leopard beanie baby I had wanted. She looked everywhere in a twenty mile radius, but there weren’t any for sale. A sales lady at one of the stores sold her her own personal one. Mom could make anything happen. Haha.

Summers at the lake. Barbeque and camping in the backyard. Although she always went inside to sleep.

Her love of animals and the passion she felt about any injustice.

We did not have much growing up, but she never let us feel it. She went without alot.

She was just such a strong person. She was so many people’s rock. It wasn’t until after she died that I realized that. Everyone seemed to fall apart without her. And it was years before people started recovering.

I just hope that if I ever do have children, that I can be the kind of mother she was.

New Knee Part 2

I keep catching myself grinning when I get out of bed and walk. Every once in a while a small giggle escapes. I have even stood in the middle of the room and balanced on one leg. Because I can. And now that I can get in and out of bed by myself, I find myself doing so more than I probably should.

I have a straight knee. I don’t know if there is anyone in the world who can possibly understand how much it means to me. For years now, my knees have been deformed and bent. As a consequence, I haven’t even been able to stand straight for a very long time now. So I’ve looked something like this…untitled1

Now I have one straight leg and will have another one in just a week and a half! My pain level has already dropped dramatically. If it wasn’t for my other knee, I would be all over the place.

I’ve been progressing in physical therapy. I’ve lined up an exercise bike from a friend of a friend. My exercise options are very limited after surgery. And not just immediately after. From now on. No running, jumping, skipping, etc. Biking and swimming are my only real options. Fortunately, I enjoy both more than anything else anyway.

I just feel like such a load is being lifted. I’m still in a bit of shock. Do you know how it feels when you are standing and you lock your knees? I did that yesterday and it just felt so weird to me because it’s probably been three or four years since I’ve done that. Such a little thing. But I was so excited. I told everyone who I talked to.

This is the best decision I’ve ever made. Im so ready for the other knee. Then nothing will hold me back!

I have couple of pics of my knee. Ignore the rubber chicken in the first pic. It was the day of the surgery, and it was a gift. I was a bit out of it and found it funnier than I should have. The second pic was taken yesterday.

 

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Sympathy

I  know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals–
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting–
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,–
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings–
I know why the caged bird sings!

-Paul Lawrence Dunbar

Reflection II

I have serious issues with sharing with people.

And sometimes I get angry and want to blame other people for that, but the truth is that I am the one who doesn’t feel comfortable sharing things.

I am the one who does not like appearing weak. I am the one who hates to cry in front of people, and I am the one who always puts on a happy face.

That’s why I find this blog so helpful. I’m able to say all the things Im thinking but would be too ashamed to say out loud. Even to my closest friends.

I can say things here and people know where I’m coming from. People understand and tell me they feel the same way.

I feel like I focus so much on the negative here. But this is where I can let those sorts of thoughts out. This is my one good outlet.

I have outlets for the good things in my life.

But I’m going to take a page from Cateepoo ( http://thelifeandadventuresofcatepoo.blogspot.com/) and lists some things that have made me happy lately. Her posts are always upbeat and are constantly inspiring me.

 

The sky turning pink before the sun sets

Wind blowing in my hair, and sprinkles of rain falling on my head

My dog being scared of thunder and snuggling up to me as we watched Mr. Smith goes to Washington

Teaching myself to knit. And being outrageously terrible at it. Lol.

Conversations with my father that last for hours and still leave us completely disagreeing with everything the other person said. It gives us an excuse to argue more:)

An old man driving with a little dog in his lap

A new pair of pink shoes I was given as a gift. Theyre just my style.

Netflix and getting a new amazing documentary in the mail.

Having a safe warm place to come home to each night. Because I know so many people are not so lucky.

Garish Christmas lights hanging on my bathroom ceiling year round.

A really hot and very bubbly bath

Hmm. Very nice. Makes me want to get my camera out again. 🙂