Pushing a car up a hill

Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curse it and it will curse you…If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you, and even if it is troublesome for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it.
–Emmet Fox

I have this problem with superhero tendencies. I like to help people. I mean, reallyreally like to help people.

A friend calls & says they can’t make it somewhere because she’s lacking car seats? I’ll drive 40 minutes to her house, pick her & her kids up, drive back into town, do whatever they need to do, then take them back home.  Even though more than 30 minutes driving kills me.  Because she needs to go out so she won’t go crazy.  I’ve been there and I know what a blessing it is to have someone just take the time to be with me when I’m in that mood.

A teacher needs help organizing her new classroom in the new school building? I am there all day long: bending, carrying heavy things, kneeling. All those things that require pain therapy afterward.  I can be a blessing behind the scenes and also get a preview of the new school.

A committee (or two or three) needs someone to fill a hole in next years roster? I’m the secretary or the librarian or the historian or the community coach (all of those and more).  I answer the call, do the work, am happy to help.  I can be a blessing just by showing up.

Kids church school needs phone calls made and results tallied? Someone to sing with the kids? Costumes made at the last minute? That’s all stuff I do, too.  It’s not just that I’m the SAHM; they all know that I will do what it takes to make the program work.  We all do, but I have more time than the others because I do not work outside the home (hahaha).  I can bless the kids and at the same time show them how to be a blessing to others.

So when the car in front of me yesterday started spinning its wheels trying to get up and around the curved hill horseshoe where we pick up the kids every day, naturally I got out of my van to help. The woman inside was panicking and didn’t know what to do. I had her put the car in neutral while I pushed. Yes, there were other people in other cars who could have helped, but they weren’t getting out of their cars. Yes, we could have all backed up enough for her to go into neutral & back down the hill that way, but that would have required 40 cars to back up first and who would have been the one walking along asking all those cars to move (go ahead, you know the answer).

So yesterday I pushed a car up a hill. And today (and last night) I’m paying for it. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I like to help people now, while I’m still able. I don’t want to wait until the pain is gone (it’ll never be gone) to start. I don’t want to worry about the consequences and say no because there may be more pain afterward.  I want to do all that I can while I can. I want to be a blessing to others now.

Thoughts about the Olympics

There has never been a great athlete who died not knowing what pain is.
–Bill Bradley

Our household, like many others, is addicted to the Olympics right now. Every day, every moment, all of it. My husband loves all the different sports, all the stats. He can tell you anything you want to know about any of it, going back years.  (Oh, how I wish my memory worked like that!)  My sons love learning about all those sports out there that we, in our warm southern climate, never get to see or experience. But most of all, we love hearing the stories of defeat and the attending triumph when the athlete overcomes & surpasses him/herself. We love watching them try and try again when that triumph doesn’t come so easily.

(I am constantly compartmentalizing myself and what I think.  I don’t know if you do this, but I do.)

As a regular person, I am constantly amazed to hear about the athletes and the broken bones and torn tendons and sliced faces that they endure.  And not just once, but over and over again.  That they keep on getting up and working again, harder and faster, to be the best that they can.

As a mother of small boys, I watch and am alarmed by all the danger that these athletes put themselves in day after day.  When I applaud, I’m not just applauding the athlete, but their parents, too.  It is so hard to stand by and watch your child be injured even just once, but to endure the whole process of broken bones & broken hearts each season.  I just can’t imagine having that kind of personal strength.

As a part-time disabled person (my RA will go into remission for months at a time, only to come back full force for a month or so and then go back into remission), I am …I don’t want to say envious, because it’s not that intense of a feeling, but just so thoughtful of how strong these people are, how much physical energy they have, how much they are able to do that I can’t even dream of doing.  Not that I was ever really interested in sports growing up, but just that now, even if I wanted to be, it’s really not an option.  I mean, I spent all day yesterday doing boring, regular work at the computer and in the kitchen and today my knees are needing to be iced because they hurt that badly…from just a generic day in the life of someone with RA (although technically, I’m in a remission right now).

Anyway, we feel so inspired by the Olympics. The kids are looking around them and seeing that there are other sports they can aspire to besides the usual football and soccer.  The spouse can stretch his brain around yet another round of stats.   The time and dedication the athletes put into their sports remind me that it’s time to take a look around and see what areas of my life can use some time and dedication. We’re going to end this Olympic season like the athletes: doing our best.

More about me…

…cause it’s all about me.  😉  Just kidding, but I thought you’d like to know a bit more about me than I put on my About Me page.

On the RA front, I was diagnosed with RA five years ago after dealing with various symptoms for the last 10 years (numbness & tingling?  check.  six trillion cases of bursitis, tendinitis, etc? check.  Jaw pain when chewing?  Check.  Mysterious chest pain neither heart related nor lung related? check.).  I’ve tried various combinations of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), methotextrate (Rheumatrex), etanercept (Enbrel), celecoxib (Celebrex), prednisone, and golimumab (Simponi).  I usually last about a year on one of the big drugs before having to add in something else and eventually giving up on it, as my system ends up getting immune to stuff fairly quickly.  I’m currently taking methotextrate, Celebrex, & Simponi (along with a daily woman’s multi-vitamin, omega-3 with DHA, fiber pills, and folic acid).  I spend about four months (not concurrently) of the year needing extra support, like wrist & finger & knee & ankle braces, etc, while the rest of the year I can get by with just the usual adjustments (ergonomic kitchen tools, extra stools throughout the house for legs & feet, pumped shampoos & soaps, special keyboard & mouse & pens, etc).

In regular life, I am technically called a stay at home mom (hereon referred to as SAHM).  That being said, I am a regular volunteer at my older children’s school, on the substitute list for my youngest child’s Mother’s Day Out (hereon referred to as MDO), on the steering team of my local Mothers of Preschoolers (hereon referred to as MOPS), a member of a monthly book club (no longer running it, yay!), and I help out with the kids Sabbath School every week or so (whenever they have it).  All of which is a long way of saying that I don’t actually get home a whole lot  unless we’re sick.

I have a husband, who’s an engineer in the petroleum industry, & three boy children.  The husband is awesome.  He’s like a superhero who takes care of a sick wife & the kids when the wife is sick & still manages to do great at work & try to save the environment in his spare time.  The kids are awesome, too.  The oldest is a third grader who’s obsessed with all things Star Wars and math/science.  The middle one is a kindergartener who loves everything and everyone and is constantly making presents for everybody.  The youngest is three and has hit that hysterically funny stage and will climb anything at all, no fear.

I’m also a scrapbooker, an avid reader, a jewelry designer (when I get commissions), and an aspiring novelist (these days I write YA Fantasy; I also write poetry & short fiction).  So, when I am home, I am busy there as well.  I don’t really have time to really think a whole lot about my RA.  Who really has time for a chronic disease, though?

Hello world!

For a very long time I’ve blogged about my regular daily life at another blog, but here I’m planning on writing about my life with rheumatoid arthritis.  I want to write more freely about the joys and pains and doctor’s visits and thoughts that go through my head about this crazy life I lead while dealing with a chronic illness.