Hi guys! It's been a while! I took a long break from blogging through the Holidays, and now I'm back with something that has been on my mind lately. I'd like to discuss the topic of Celebrations. There are many kinds of Celebrations that we as sick people have to learn new ways of navigating.
The first kind of Celebration I'd like to address is: The Family Gathering. With the Holidays just behind us, there is no doubt that most of us have been to one or two of these celebrations recently. I did, and I realized how I have become so different over the course of my illness. There are positives and negatives for me. I personally LOVE my family. I love the way the house feels alive when all my nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters etc. are all together. It's complete blissful chaos. I love the way the young ones are excited to show and tell me their latest news. I love joking around with siblings. The food, the smiles, the interest in my well being are all super awesome. However, I don't know if this is just me, but there are brief moments in between the smiles, and hugs where I feel like I am only a fraction of the person I once was. In family gatherings past I was the fun auntie that was right at the bottom of the kid pile. I was the one outside playing games, and braiding long strands of hair. I remember loving to play. This year I was so low on energy, and I just felt so sick it was all I could do to just sit in my wheelchair. I just felt so so tired, drained even. It makes me sad to wonder if these little ones will remember me the way I was. I miss being so close to them. I'd be a liar if I said it doesn't make me sad. Even with the occasional small times of sadly missing the past, my family knows how to snap me back to the present. All it takes is an innocent hug from the kids, a joke from my bro, or an offer to help from my sisters, and I am back and grateful for the life I have now. It's not ideal, but boy am I lucky to have a huge group of people that want to help me through it.
The second kind of Celebrations I'd like to write about are: Personal Celebrations. The kind that are just for you. Let me explain. My RA symptoms started for me 4 years ago now, and A LOT of not so great things seemed to be happening one after another. It felt like I was getting bad news every few days for years straight. I literally felt like every path I took to get help or get better turned into a dead end. I spent the last year bedridden waiting and praying in the deepest feeling of desperation for someone, something , or any way to relieve the pain I was feeling so I could get a piece of my life back. I couldn't participate in a lot of family gatherings. I couldn't be the wife or mommy I wanted to be either which was actually the worst part for me than anything else. I completely lost my ability to walk or even get dressed on my own. Then one ordinary day, I got a call from Social Security that changed my life. I was finally awarded insurance. This call didn't automatically change my lifestyle... I have done A LOT of hard work, visited numerous doctors, and am still fighting this disease, but I can honestly say things are getting better for me. I am finding and trying new RA treatments,tweaking nutrition, and I am getting help. The me today is in a much better place than I was this time last year, and for that I should be CELEBRATING! ...Right?! Well I am here to say it's not so simple. Try as I might, I am finding it hard to let myself be excited or happy even. Gosh I don't want to sound ungrateful because I'm really not. Like I have said before... Being sick messes with your head. I have lived so long in a state of being so unsure about everything. I have been fighting for so long, and crying for so long. Now, these small personal victories I am experiencing seem well, kind of scary. It can be hard to allow yourself to let go and celebrate. It can be hard to trust the positivity, after a long time of feeling defeated. I realized I was doing this when I started to loose weight. I am down 23 pounds now, and each time I got on the scale and showed a loss... I didn't get excited. I was just eh. Whatever. WHAT?! What was I doing? I thought I'd be jumping ( or in my case bouncing in my chair) for joy. So I went and said a prayer, and cried to my Heavenly Father. I felt so confused. Then when I was done, I looked up and realized that this is life. Sometimes things are going to be really crappy. Sometimes things are going to be wonderful. What is important is that we learn from the bad days, and ALLOW ourselves to CELEBRATE and be happy on the good ones. I could wake up tomorrow morning and have a massive painful flair, and not be able to leave my bed for weeks. So why not allow myself to enjoy these good ones? What could be the harm? I can't let myself be brought down by the fear I have of my RA. So YAAAY!!!! I've lost 23 pounds, and I'm going to loose more! I am feeling good, and I am on my way to walking! I'm going to stop writing now, and I'm going to celebrate! Find something you can celebrate too!