Monday, March 10, 2008

Pain, May I Pour You a Glass? Just Half You Say?

I changed my blog template again for several reasons:

1. The old one wouldn't let me post from my blog page.

2. The old one had a monogram. An 'I' and an 'S' intertwined. I have no idea what this means but I was starting to worry that it was something like a porn icon or something. Like when my grandma gave my cousin a Heineken key chain at our family reunion. It had a bottle opener and everything.

3. Today, I needed something lighter.

March 9, 2007 I woke up and my right knee was so swollen I couldn't put pants on or put any weight on it. After 2 weeks of scooting around on the floor (with baby in arms) I decided it was off to the doctor I go. It turned out to be off to the doctors (emphasis on the plural) and the medical mystery that is my body has only gotten stranger.
I don't think that it is like me to complain, particularly not publicly like this, but having the one year anniversary of the death of my health behind me, I thought I was due for a little good old fashioned whining.
The funny thing about Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I don't mean funny 'ha ha' but funny like 'that tuna smells funny, should it really stay out on the dashboard like that?', is that it really isn't arthritis at all. Sure your joints swell up like birthday balloons, but it isn't because your joints are worn (that's OSTEO-arthritis, in case you go on Jeopadry) it is an auto-immune response. Swelling in the joints is just one of the marvelous symptoms that comes with.
I read yesterday that people who vent actually stay angrier longer than those who don't. Unfortunately, I just secured my pointy hat and spun around three times with donkey tail in hand, so I am going to pity party like it's 1999. You can stop reading now, or here, strap on a hat and start blowing up balloons.
I guess I thought I was used it. It is easy to get used to a chronic condition when it goes into remission (a rhyme!). After Lily was born I think my hormones turned a switch and through my body into make-up-for-lost-time mode. I don't remember ever being this sick and certainly not for an entire year. I think that is the hardest part for me. The time, and not having an end date. Being pregnant is hard but you know in 9 months it is going to end. Having the flu is horrible but you know it is going to end in a week or two. Bruising my duodenum hurt A LOT but even that, I knew, would heal. This time, I know it won't. And that is the hardest part.
Pain and depression are best friends. They like to have camp-outs. Mostly in the backwoods of my body. Pain came first and I thought: "I hate you. But I can tolerate you for a bit". But, like fish and company, after a few weeks, he overstayed his welcome and what's worse? He brought his little pal with him.
I think I am on the upswing now. I feel like I am in the 'acceptance' phase of grieving my health. I know I will have to grieve it again, and again, but honestly, I wasn't nearly as cranky yesterday as I thought I would be. I have had two close friends and a grandfather pass away and I cannot tell you one of their death dates. March 9, however, has been burned in my mind like the Pearl Harbor of my own life. I really anticipated being a mess. I imagined myself crying, reminiscing about off-road 10K's I used to run and staying in bed all day. Instead, I woke up, printed off my hand-out for young women and went to church. Just like every Sunday. I remember in April thinking "I can't believe I have been invalid for an entire month! I can't do this one more month, if I am not better my May, I am just going to die!" May, June, July, August, September, October, November and so on. And I still wake up at night because of pain.
I can say, looking back on the year, that I have improved. I can drive, walk, swim and even surf (sort of) now. I won't be running anywhere anytime soon, but most days I can walk without a noticeable limp and I have even started playing the guitar a little, again.
I have to interject here, that yes, I know that other people, most people, have far worse problems than I do. I know this. I really do. I also know what a great life I have. But today is my day to feel sorry for ME. I deserve at least one a year. I know, now that I can make it another month like this. I know I could do it another year, and I am prepared for that possibility being great. However, to keep Pain happy while he lives with me a little longer, I had to compromise. I let his best friend, Depression, come over for a tea party once a month or so and we all strap on hats and make a day of it.
When I was young, I would hear inspirational stories of people who lost limbs in accidents but remained so positive and motivated. I always thought I would be one of those people. If I ever lost a leg, I would start a peg-leg polka society or something like that. I wouldn't let it get me down. It really goes to show that you never really know how hard something is until you live it. Or how you will react. Huh, maybe I have learned something from this year!

Sorry for the downer. Thanks for the love. Oh, and could you leave your hats? I think I might need them again next March.


Claudia said...

Megarella, I knew that you had R.A., but I didn't really know what that meant, and I had no idea that you were hurting so much now. I remember you occasionally mentioning aching fingers, knees and/or hips in college, but it didn't seem like a constant thing...were you on medication then that you couldn't take whilst being pregnant? Anyway, yes, you totally are allowed time to feel sad, depressed, whatever. I'm sorry that you are in pain.

Steffy said...

You are amazing!! I will be your cheerleader whenever you want! I even made up a cheer! HEY HEY!! GO AWAY PAIN! YEAHHHHHHHH!

You've always been a great inspiration to me!