Thursday, April 10, 2014

good news!

well I did not see that coming, but I experienced a FIRST last week.  for the first time since diagnosis one year ago, I received GOOD news regarding my rheumatoid arthritis.  this kind of thing only happens in fairy tales!  so you could say I'm pretty much feeling like a Disney princess right now.

I went in for a regular check up with Dr. J, and he did is his regular check up moves, and I couldn't help but notice the lack of pain where there is usually lots of it.  then Dr. J casually slipped "I think we've done it" into the conversation.  say what?  back that truck up, Dr. J.  

I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say the conversation was a happy and hopeful one.  we need blood work to confirm, but it's looking like we've showed RA who is boss.  and it's me.  well, mostly Dr. J, but also a little me because I'm the one who has to take all the pills and all the shots.  and while I'll never be free of RA, I sure do look forward to the day when it's an afterthought, not a dominating, debilitating, and defining presence in my life.

so now all I have to say is YAHOOOO!

if this disease has taught me anything, it's that the unexpected and disappointing can always be right around the corner, so I haven't started planning a remission party quite yet.  but more importantly, God's  faithfulness, sovereignty, and provision have been so evident in my life as I stumble along this path before me.  even when I'm not looking for Him, he's there.  what a comfort, what a joy.  and more than anything, I will celebrate this gift of good news that HE has given me.

// the over-use of caps lock and exclamation points in this post will not be apologized for.  




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

anniversary

I've always been one who enjoys anniversaries. Who doesn't love a reason to celebrate? Of course I was that over zealous girlfriend who pointed out the mark of every month John and I had been together - happy 51 month anniversary, honey!

But today marks the one year anniversary of my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, and I am not reaching for the champagne or planning a special night out. This anniversary is not something I feel even the slightest inclination to celebrate. RA hasn't done anything in the past year to make me feel lovey dovey. In fact, I'm still very angry at this disease that has become my lifelong companion.

So while I may not be picking up a greeting card while I'm out today, I am pausing to reflect. And that reflection has led to more feelings of gratitude than I expected. Instead to falling into a bitter rut that, I have to admit, I often feel very justified in, I am reminded of God's faithfulness and provision through it all.

This is not an easy road, but we were never promised easy. What I've come to realize in this past year is that I have a choice: I can be a whining, negative person whose favorite pastime is to complain about this plight I've been given to endure, or I can use this platform I've been given to be a light and I can rest assured that I do not walk alone.

I have been promised a plan that God Himself has ordained. How absolutely amazing is that? And yes, RA is part of it, as crazy as that seems to me some (most) days. This was not a fluke, an accident, a cruel joke. He knows the plans He has for me, and those plans involve hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). My heart is pounding as I read that passage again. What comfort! What a gift! What a challenge to rest in that even in times of struggle.

So here's to the next year, you crazy disease. I have high hopes for finding a medication regimen that makes you an afterthought and for finally making Dr. J laugh at one of my jokes.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

husband love

pardon me while I mush and gush over my husband, John.  last night he gave me yet another shot of Humira, and after the injection was given I just sat for a while and thought about what a great guy he is.  I think a lot about his support to me through this illness and in other areas of life.  he's just really wonderful.

I was in a relationship quite a few years ago and came down with a sinus infection to end all sinus infections.  it was miserable.  no amount of antibiotics, rest, and  fluids could kick this thing.  I had it for at least two months, and it really put a damper on things.  I didn't want to go out, I didn't want to stay up late, and I didn't want to do much of anything that didn't involve a couch and a pair of sweatpants.  what a drag.  well, my boyfriend at the time thought so too.  he actually told me one night that he was getting really sick of me.  he wanted his fun-loving, healthy girlfriend back.  he wanted to go to the bars and hang out with friends and not sit on the couch with a girl in sweatpants.  that moment is forever ingrained in my mind, for whatever reason.  I was so hurt and disappointed.

but here is John never complaining once about the way life has changed because of my diagnosis.  he listens to me complain and cry, he goes to appointments with my rheumatologist and asks thoughtful questions, he gives me shots, but he never ever complains.  he definitely has never said he's sick of me.  I've apologized for my fatigue, my medical bills, my tears, my bad attitude, but he has never made me feel like I have to.  he is just so outrageously wonderful, my husband.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

just spit-balling here, but I've been thinking a lot about disappointment recently.  having experienced a lot of said emotion these days, it's really been heavy on my heart, and I've been wrestling with how to approach it, acknowledge it, and work through it in a healthy way.

truth is, disappointment is all around us.  we can't escape it, so that sucks.  I've been disappointed with my health and lack of physical strength,  in my willpower and self-control, and in the way I've been treated by friends, family, colleagues, just to name a few areas of constant struggle for me.

but there is one Who has never disappointed me.  not even once.  not even for a second.  I haven't even felt tempted to be disappointed in Him.  I'm sure the use of capital letters has already made it clear that I'm talking about my God.

another truth for ya: this world is not our home.  we weren't created to get all comfortable here on earth and focus on how to make this a place where we can get settled.  we are created with a longing for something so much better.  there are times where this truth is really easy for me to embrace, and I'm deep in one of those times right now.  I'm pretty much over the crap that this earth and my sin has dealt out.  I'm ready to scream "Come soon, Lord Jesus!" at the top of my lungs and be really ecstatic when the clouds open up and His kingdom is brought here on earth as it is in heaven.  Come soon, Lord Jesus!

but then there are times when I cling to this world and all I have going on in it with white knuckles.  this is what I live for and this is what gives me joy and purpose.  this stuff here on earth.  this little kingdom I've created for myself.  yeah, I could get really comfortable here.

a constant strain and a constant push and pull internally.  how quickly my focus gets derailed by my sinful nature, and all I care about is possessions and popularity and accomplishments and what I can get from relationships.

my prayer is for tunnel vision.  Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, Lord Jesus.  come soon.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

victory is mine II

by the grace of God, something amazing happened last night.  it was time for my shot of Humira, and I had been praying all day that God would give me the strength to just take it.  no tears, no theatrics, no drama.  just take it.  John and I had gone out for a spur of the moment date night (such a blessing) and were now home sitting on the couch watching some of our favorite recording programs.  I had the ice pack on my leg for about 15 minutes in preparation, and then it was time.  I had told John about my goal earlier in the day to take the shot silently, and he was obviously on board.  without many words, he went through the steps of preparing my leg and the Humira pen and then he just did it.  did it hurt?  sure did.  but I felt this calmness about it.  and a strong sense of pride.  somehow my attention always goes back to myself.  classic.  still learning.

I know I'm tooting my horn a lot these days, but all glory must go to my Father in heaven.  He is the one who equips me to walk through the dark and difficult times and He is the one ordaining all these things for my good and, most importantly, His glory.  it's amazing, isn't it?


Monday, January 6, 2014

victory is mine

it's been 10 months since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and over a year and a half since I stopped running because of the pain, fear, and depression.  but yesterday I ran 3.1 miles and am half way to my goal of running a 10k in 2014.  for me, this is one way that I can take back what RA has stolen from me and work on refusing to let it dictate even one more minute of my life.