Posted in Chronic illness, hope

When did I become such a “Worry some self”

I used to never be like “This”, and always lived by the motto that whatever comes will come. I never worried about the things that are not within my control, and I always thought that I would deal with them when within my reality. Well they are here, and it seems that the actual moments are a little bit different than anticipated.

So “This” what is “This”, and what does it mean? When did “This” become so pronounced and overpowering? I’ve noticed the change since Germany and never before was it so obvious how helpless we are with the things that we can’t change. Whether it was with issues in Germany, with Mom or the things I experienced. Especially when it comes to our own health, and it is true what they say that if you lose your health, you truly have nothing.

There have been so many horror stories since my initial fight with RA, and it always made me aware but somehow passed me by. The consequences such as deformity and organ failure seemed so far away, none of my reality just yet. It wasn’t until now that all those stories caught up with me. Why now? Perhaps I am not ready to let things unfold in a negative manner to me. I’m not ready to sit back and accept this as my truth. I don’t see the rest of my life filled with pain, and there is still so much good that needs to be experienced. But is it within my control? Is this where the saying “Life isn’t fair” comes in. You see the torment within my statements. The struggle between positivity and the darkness that constantly tries to claw it’s way back in.

There is ailment every day, and different pain levels allow me to have decent day, as well as others that are filled with darkness. After my short good day just a few days back, I got sick with the flu in the evening which added to my overall state of being. For days I had a pain in my lower left back, and noticed that I have to get up several times a night to use the bathroom. I’ve never had that before, and would always sleep through, but instead of excepting it as getting older, my mind and ego had other plans for me. I don’t know how it unfolds, but there it was, tucked away in the distant memory of hearing about Organ failure. The thought enters my mind, wanting me to believe that perhaps I have kidney failure. In the evening my temperature dropped very low to 95.9 Fahrenheit. “Dr. Google” further worries me about my body temperatures reaching too low levels, and resulting in hyperthermia and death. I’m not too far off, as this is suppose to happen if your temperature reaches below 95 and mine is been hovering in the 95 range with 95.5 being the lowest yet. Next I search what can cause low body temperature and there it is again, kidney failure smacks me in the face in bold letters.

I don’t know what happened, and when I became such a worry some person. Where is my bravery hiding? Have I become a worrier instead of a warrior? When exactly did the scale tip, and when couldn’t I see things for simpler natures anymore? Couldn’t it be that I was just having a cold and therefore other symptoms because of it? Questions over questions appeared, and deep down I know it is not that easy as the whole bathroom thing and getting up several times at night has started in Germany already, and without a cold. I know stress plays a big role in our overall well being, and for sure have I seen my fair share of it. Being in pain all the time does a number on you, and has left me assuming the worst. I think sometimes it’s better not knowing, and doing your own research will most likely leave you feeling as if you have some terminal disease and that you are short of dying. My feelings and thoughts process remains the same as ever, to let things unfold as they may, to stay positive as you manifest your reality, and to believe that everything has a silver lining. But man oh man, pain is a tough contender and definitely knows how to chip away at your strengths by forcing you to your knees.

My heart and love is with you. You who is facing this reality every day. I can only say to capitalize on the decent days, to breathe in all that hope and love, to carry you through the rough spots, and to never forget that you are not alone.

Posted in Chronic illness, hope, Inspiration

Short lived Euphoria

Sorry for the poor quality photo shot through a screen and dirty window.

It was my WordPress sister Colette who commented the other day by saying that it seemed like my pain-free euphoria had disappeared completely. She was correct and it’s easy to be motivated and inspired when you are felling half way decent. You think anything is possible, and it is during the dark moments and the pain, when your sanity dwindles away and leaves you in misery.

My life had always been somewhat of a constant rollercoaster. Born on the day of ups and downs, and reminded of it to be normal, more times that I cared for. 2018, for me goes down as one of my most challenging years, as well as one of the most growing, emotional years of my life. There is so much to celebrate and shout from the majestic mountain tops, and yet so much to mourn through The Valley of Loss in general.

Pain had found its way back into my life, and when it comes to the pain management, it did appear as if Euphoria was short-lived. About two weeks ago I went to the doctor and had an Angel take a look and order blood work. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t function anymore. My posts were reflecting my peaks and valleys, one moment euphoric and one moment in tears and downright depressive. I had to overcome the status of my self sufficiency and accept help. Help that was given freely and without any cost to me. It was more of putting myself out there, and to be vulnerable, even though I usually are not afraid of doing so. But I had to realize that I couldn’t fend for myself anymore. I needed help and there have only been a few times that I couldn’t take care of myself. Believe me when I say that it has nothing to do with foolish pride, but everything with learning to be responsible. I always had to be and for me it was a matter of survival. Now it was in the hands of someone else. Scary.

I thought that I was dealing with a rheumatoid Arthritis flare, and after a shot and some meds, I was on my way. Pain that intense had only been experienced during prior flares, an ectopic pregnancy and an infection in my stomach. I ruled out the later, so a flare up it had to be. I could feel the shot working almost immediately and I was flying high above the valleys on my way to the mountain top. Relief was given and the swelling stopped. My hands calmed down and the shaking subsided. Amazing how much your overall well being is affected when you feel good. Good enough to function and enjoy some quality of life. Your posts are positive again, and you finally feel strong enough to master all your chores. It appears to come easy and there is no major struggle. Nothing is weighing you down. You forget about the pain and you breathe deeply. It has been too long when you experienced a pain free day and all you remember is how much the nagging pain is affecting your life. You are grateful for the break and wish it could stay like this forever. What a blessing life used to be. Something so simple and so often overlooked, our health is everything and here is your reminder that it is not a given, not something that is always going to be there.

Less then a week later the shot was wearing off and I could feel the pain return. Little by little, more and more intense it crept back in. Saturday and Sunday night were the worst days, and I’d be back to cringing and crying, sleepless nights and screaming in pain. I still believed that I had a flare, that what I ate caused the inflammation, toppled with the allergies that were present in my body. Monday I went back to the doctor to go over my blood work once more. I learned that the inflammation is from the RA in part but not from a flare up. Diet and stress are also key players, but finding out what I was allergic to didn’t seem to be on top of the agenda. Especially since I don’t have any symptoms such as itchy eyes etc. Perhaps mine came in the form of inflammation that translated to pain. I got some medication to calm my mind, antidepressants if you will to help me sleep. I tried the first night and it was awful. While it did knock me out more, it also caused more pain and longer periods of not moving my muscles, which I really shouldn’t have to while I sleep, but I do. I was rusting away while I was resting. There was no healing lotion other then to keep in motion. I wasn’t depressed and it wasn’t that I couldn’t sleep, facing insomnia. It was the pain that didn’t let me come to rest. It was manageable throughout the day, but the nights were something else. I’d cry before bed, afraid to lay down, being so tired and wanting nothing more then a good nights rest. Was this a thing of the past…history? It would barely be light outside and I would get up, just to get out of bed and to move a little to ease the pain.

It was Monday after the doctor and while visiting Mom. I felt overwhelmed and could hardly hold back the tears looking at Mom. Sunday night had been the worst. She was just sitting there and I felt vulnerable, hurt, sad, emotional, and everything else under the sky. For sure signs of someone entering depression. At one point I truly thought that I had arrived at the gates of uncertainty, perhaps Hell. Another soul fighting depression, feeling lost. Mom knew that something was wrong and she could barely look at me. I know she knew that I struggled, but she was afraid to ask what was wrong. Surely it would involve her and I knew she was scared. That itself caused more tears wanting to come forward, and more sadness pumped through my veins. I didn’t hold it against her not to ask me and I knew it wasn’t a matter because she didn’t care. She remained silent and so did I. I carried her pain that day and mine. I choose not to talk about having to go back to the states to take care of things. I choose not to tell her that my rent had increased yet again. I choose to deal with it alone. How much more could I carry on these shoulders, what else could I deal with? No wonder I was in so much pain. I was carrying the world and my knees were buckling.

Through the pain and tear filled eyes, I looked outside. Waiving my short lived euphoria goodbye and missing it already. Shortly after that, the sky literally opened up and showed me a tiny window where the sun was shining. Through it were the colors of a rainbow reminding me that beautiful things are born out of darkness and hardship.

Rainbow….A symbol of magical blessings. The promise that the troubles of today will surely come to pass. Hold strong in your faith and vision and the rainbow will bring fresh beginnings and prosperity. The celts also associated the meaning of the rainbow with the promise of new life provided by the divine feminine. In Christianity it is no different. A symbol of promise, we see evidence in Genesis, 9:13 “I have set my (rain)bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” Lastly I love that rainbow is also a extraordinary symbol of following our hearts desire and purpose…to get to the end of the rainbow is a symbol for the celebration of that fulfillment. The end of the rainbow signifies a pot of gold and the magic that surrounds your dreams coming true.

Sometimes we need something, anything, to believe and to motivate ourselves. It could be anything, and for me it was a sign. I needed to see it right then and there. A little magic from the divine to stay the course, to trust that all will find it’s way. I hope that when pain gets unbearable and strikes again, that I will remember that moment of hope in the sky. That I can remember the promise of a new life, and be courageous to fight another day.

Posted in Chronic illness, hope, Inspiration

“I need you to be around”

It has been roughly twelve years since the RA surfaced. Quickly and with little warning it took over and debilitated my body, one limb at a time. I will never forget how frightening it was to lose basic day to day functions, such as dressing yourself, combing your hair, or brushing your teeth. All while not knowing what was going on and feeling helpless throughout. There was no control, despite that I’m not much of a control freak, but it was strange to find yourself at the mercy of whatever that stripped your daily life from underneath your feet. Add unimaginable pain levels that never took a break on top of it, mixed with sleepless nights, and you have a recipe for sure destruction and despair.

Thinking back to how it all started, I believe that already then, it was my two swords of faith and love that pulled me through the darkness. Although faith was a hard thing to come by when your mind is ravaged from the pain, I still think that it never left me. But there was love in various forms, including my once again, but newfound love for Mother Nature and hiking. The hiking would come a bit later, after six life altering words that I will never forget. Six words that were the turning point as my end destination was coming in sight, and I had lost hope to go on. For what should I go on….for another day of pain I said back then, unaware that in a moments time my life would turn around. There was no light, only darkness and gray skies that offered little change. I was so tired and the months that I endured this pain, seemed like an eternity. “I need you to be around”, I still hear these words over a decade later. Words spoken with sincerity and love, words I couldn’t ignore and words that changed and saved my life. It was time to dig deeper and be even stronger. Somehow, unknown to me, I found the strengths to fight back. A miracle happened and the RA got better, the bout eased enough to introduce light exercise through hiking and the disease went into remission. It was out in Mother Nature that my hunger grew and I first felt at peace. Peace, which replaced all the stress in my life. I was craving that feeling, and it became a priority to support. Further lifestyle choices aligned with my well being such as a career change leaving the heavy duty physical work of wholesale and moving steel beams and pallet merchandising behind. I think the only thing I missed over the years was driving the forklift. I was fearless and determined to be great at it. I’m not sure if I’d be that fearless today, and it’s weird how life makes us doubt ourselves and become more contemplative about it. It wasn’t even worth a thought back then and I’d mastered slotting pallets in and out of high steel during opening times. I was a fast and efficient driver, just like I though that I ought to be. What can I say, I’ve always been a little bit of a tomboy, not that I’m implying that driving a stand up forklift is mainly man’s work. I think those times are long over. Perhaps back then I thought I still had “something” to prove. I hope I managed to do so and that driving the forklift efficiently would tell one all about me and my character traits. Silliness really.

But back to the current times. Over the past twelve years, I would have occasional flare ups of the RA. I’d always forecast the weather and sometimes it was crippling painful. However it never reached levels quite as bad as the original onset. It was last year that it flared badly and I got to a point I just didn’t care if I took the poisonous pill to make it all go away. It luckily went away after a few month, and I managed once more and stopped the damaging meds.

Germany however had become a challenger for most of the year. The beginning was fine, but soon it was the humidity that weighted down my joints as if in iron shackles. It became first noticeable in my feet and I didn’t know how to walk without cringing my teeth. Then the calves and the rests my of legs were affected, with a burning as if they were on fire. Some days I didn’t know how to get out of bed and each step became pure torture. Then I got to experience something new and my hips for the first time felt the ravage of the RA. Back to my shoulders, arms and hands, the affected areas luckily alternated and the pain was concentrated in only one area of my body vs. being everywhere, completely crippling me. I somehow managed, although each day became a drag, until a few weeks ago. The pain settled in my upper body, shoulders and hands. I thought it was from playing the ukulele, so I stopped. Nothing happened in the sense of relief and my hands became swollen. Things got worse, so much worse that it reminded me of the original onset twelve years ago. I struggled to dress and perform basic day to day functions. I was miserable throughout most of the day, but continued to see Mom and walk over there in my “Movement for life” effort. Then came the nights and by Monday of last week I wasn’t sleeping much anymore. Riddled from pain I was unable to find rest and get comfortable. Every turn, every move hurt. My arms and hands would fall asleep as if my circulation was cut off and I have to move my hands and overcome the stabbing pains so I could try and fall asleep for another ten minutes. It felt strange as if my arms and hands no longer belonged to me. It was hard to do what my mind wanted my hands to do, and sometimes it require one hand and one arm to move the other. Wednesday night was hell and Thursday was even worse. I’d scream in pain and my high tolerance to pain melted away like butter over fire. I was afraid of going to bed and the 400mg of ibuprofen had long stopped working. I even doubled the dose….nothing. The pills may have managed the days to some extend, but the nights belonged to the devil and the darkness, to unrest and evil.

It was Wednesday evening that my girlfriend Angie texted me and told me that she had arranged for me to see a relative who is a doctor. That he’d agreed to see me on Friday. I starred at her words and immediately got emotional. I was so touched and grateful and you might not follow as to why this was such a big deal. Imagine yourself away from your normal home for the past six month. Your bills continue at your home, but your income has ceased. You lost your job during the duration of the past six month because your employer went out of business. Therefore you lost your healthcare insurance which is pretty frightening by itself. You pray that nothing bad happens during your time of not being insured, but you know that it is mostly during those times that tragedy strikes. After all you have been a good citizen and always carried health insurance. You always were able to fend for yourself, to pay your way and be responsible. Never have you felt more vulnerable and helpless. Faith and love….you tell yourself, hoping that by your mission of doing the right thing (for Mom), you’d miraculously be taken care of somehow. Naive…perhaps. Further you are not planning on staying in Germany permanently, so it’s tough, nearly impossible to get insured here within your means.

So the message comes through that someone, a doctor is willing to see you beyond the dollar signs. He doesn’t care how much money he can squeeze out of you, and it’s far from being the priority because he has taken an oath to help and save lives. He becomes your savior. He becomes everything you place your hope and love into, and you are beyond grateful although nothing has changed just yet, and your pain levels are the same. You realize that you have become an emotional mess and that nearly everything brings you to tears these days. Yet you fight on, each day, to carry on with your mission to bring light and help of transition to someone other then yourself. But then comes this message, your glimmer of hope that can make a difference just like the six little words did some twelve years ago, and you believe once more that anything is possible. I bet you’d be emotional as well.

To be continued…