Thursday, December 06, 2012

Making Lemons

In the words of Phil Dunphy, "When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like whaaaaaat?!"
Some days I'm better at "making lemons" than others. I've tried writing this post a few times, but I never know what to say, because I don't want to sound whiny. But I also want this blog to be a chronicle of our family's life, and my health is a huge part of our lives. After quite a few months of random ailments and tests and specialists and second opinions I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis back in August. You can google a lengthier definition of it, but basically it's an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the body, mainly in joints, but can affect organs and other body parts as well. It can flare up during times of stress, sickness, or for no apparent reason at all. 

The treatment for it is to lower my body's immune system so it won't attack itself. There are a variety of drugs, injections, biologics, and infusions that can be used, and they are to help with the pain along with stopping the progression of the disease so I hopefully don't end up with deformed crippled hands one day. It's been tough because I've had some other health issues that some doctors say that's part of RA and others say that's not part of RA. It's hard when doctors disagree with methods of treatment and it's up to me to decide. The worst parts of this for me have been chronic pain, insomnia, and fatigue. I had a horrible reaction to one medication that I tried, and that experience has left me with anxiety about trying new meds.

This diagnosis plays a factor in family planning as well. As much as we were leaning towards having only one child, as soon as a Dr. says I need to decide if I want more kids before starting a new medication, then our decision isn't final at all anymore! I think in dealing with this I am going through those "stages of grief" and still have days of denial, guilt, anger, and loneliness, but maybe by posting this I'll start moving further on the "acceptance" step! So I don't sound like a complete negative nancy, these months (and months to come) are teaching me important life lessons that I know will make me a better human being so I will list some of these (and so I can go back and read this on hard days when it's hard to see the sunshine for the rain)

Because of RA:
  • I am reminded of how amazing my partner in life is. Ryan has never once complained about having to take off work to take care of me, to go grocery shopping or cook because I'm too sick, to wake up in the middle of the night to help comfort me when I'm in pain, or to play more with Liv when I need an afternoon nap.
  • I am also reminded how wonderful my "family" in Oklahoma is. We may not be blood related but my friends here have babysat for countless dr. appointments and have cared for me and my family just like we are related.
  • My communication skills are improving as I'm learning better to ask for help and verbalize exactly what I need on days that it's harder for me to function.
  • I am learning to empathize more as there are numerous people with unseen diseases and chronic conditions. Don't judge others, because you don't know how they're hurting.
  • I take one day at a time (still learning this). I can have a really good week and forget that anything is wrong with me and then it all changes overnight. I am especially grateful for my health on a good day!
  • I try to focus on the good. I might not be able to get up and around easily some days, but I can read books to my daughter in my recliner or cuddle and watch shows.
  • I realize humans are limited. God is not. So I put my faith in Him.
  • Prayer, prayer, prayer.
  • Patience, patience, patience.
  • I am more thankful for good days, health, friends, small things in general. I take less for granted.
  • I am more thankful for modern medicine and alternative medicine. 
  • I am thankful for health insurance and my right to choose a doctor. 
  • A smile on my face and mascara on my eyes can hide a lot! 
  • I get to read a lot more when I can't sleep.
  • I am having to learn my limits. Whether that means not going on a trip or only having one child or not eating certain foods, I need to suck it up, not feel guilt, and be thankful for what I do have. (This is the hardest lesson I'm still having to learn)
My fear in posting this is that you'll feel awkward talking to me or asking me to do something for you. I can still bring you a meal if you're sick or have had a baby, I can still babysit your kids, I can still teach Bible class, I can still go places, and I can still be an awesome friend. Just know some days are rougher for me than others (just like everyone, right?!) and I'll try to be honest with you if I'm not up for something! I don't ask for pity, I ask for understanding. I'm happy to talk about it as much as I can, but also understand I am still learning about this so I may not know the answer. Anyway that's that and as always I appreciate your prayers! 


Heather Valee said...

I always love the sweet honesty of your words. You are often in thought in prayer. Please continue to keep us posted!

Tarren and Erin said...

Thank you for sharing this, Katie. I appreciate your honesty as well. We love you no matter what!

tricia said...

I have a family member going through a diagnosis of RA right now and I know its been really hard on him. I can only imagine how tough this is for you Katie, but you are in my prayers and I hope that the "good" days outweigh the bad. Also, if you come across tips/tricks that help please share so I can pass on! xoxo

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear this Katie. You will definitely be in my prayers. I know we aren't as close as we use to be, but please know I am ALWAYS here for you! Love you!


Michelle said...

Love you friend! I think it's good to post this, the more people praying for you the better. Also it's been ages since I've seen you, which is just not acceptable.....we need to get together! Miss you!

AM said...

Nothing negative about this at all! I'm glad you shared. I am happy to help with Olivia or anything you need if you need help. You give so much to others! I will continue praying.

The Moores said...

You are an awesome mother, Katie! Olivia is so blessed to have someone so strong in her life. Someone who is able to teach her so many wonderful things about God's grace and having faith in Him no matter what life's circumstance bring.
We love you very much and wish we lived closer so we could help out!

kmom said...

You are so good at hiding your physical and emotional hurts. I'm glad you shared your pain with others. It is easier to receive comfort and help if others know about your problems. I will keep praying for you. Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Amen Amen Amen to all the above blogs. I too wish I lived closer so I could be of more help. Thank you for sharing so honestly. We'll continue to pray in the days and months and years to come. Love ya much, Mom I

Anonymous said...

I love you...good days and bad!


devon lorraine ... said...

i always appreciate your honesty,and constantly learn from YOU!

Jennifer said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post and shared what you have been dealing with. You and your sweet family will be in our prayers, and if I were a bit closer to Oklahoma, you know I would help you however you needed.

Erin said...

I love you! Thanks for sharing this with me the other day too. I think and pray for you a lot.

Shawn and Becky said...

You will be in my prayers. It's hard to see the blessings in the pain but I'm so glad you can and am so thankful you shared . . . Wishing I lived closer so I could do something to help. And I'd let you bring me dinner :)

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