Living Life

Congratulations to all those who participated in IAAM’s blog carnival on Monday in honor of IAAM’s first birthday.

Lately it seems I have 40 hours worth of work to cram into every 24-hour day.  I thought I’d share a few of the things I’m trying to do to make life easier.

Shop Online – Life is busy.  Traipsing all over town is exhausting.  Don’t do it.
My oldest child will graduate from high school in one month, and we’ve been taking care of all the details needed so he can head to college in August.  I’ve had no luck finding extra-long sheets for his dorm bed, so was very happy to discover that I can buy everything online via the point-and-click method.

Make Time to Exercise – Exercising releases chemicals that help you feel better.  Even though it seems like it would use up your limited supply of energy, in fact exercising gives you more energy.  It’s not necessary to run a marathon – even simple stretches and strengthening exercises prescribed by a physical therapist will help.

It’s easy to get busy and make excuses to postpone/ignore things that are tedious, but the cost is too great. I feel better when I exercise, and always regret it when I stop.  For some reason, when life gets busy, I forget that simple truth.  Last time I stopped doing my PT exercises, my shoulder got worse – again.  It was very painful, and took two cortisone injections and $400 to make it possible for me to lift my arm.  Learn from my mistake – do those exercises every day.

Be Realistic – RA affects everything.
Our cows are finally dropping the rest of their calves.  I am no longer strong enough to pull calves out when the mother has problems.  Usually we have to pull one or two a year, but this year over half have had to be pulled.  It’s frustrating to need help, or stand and watch while others do the work.  Reading about the loss of strength that can accompany RA is nothing like actually experiencing it.  It’s hard.  Sulking about it won’t help, though, so we make whatever accommodations are needed and move on with our lives.

Prioritize – Family is important.  Let them know that.
For too long, I’ve arranged life around my doctor’s appointments.  Unfortunately, this has my children feeling neglected, and resenting the way my dr appts interfere with their lives.  I’m trying to change that.  I want them to know that they are important to me in practice – not just in theory.

One recent example:  My second child will be taking some dual-enrollment classes next year, so there have been extra things to do so that she’ll be able to take those classes.  I’d thought that fall enrollment occurred in the fall, and was shocked to discover (in the middle of April) that she had to take her placement tests in April so that she could register in May for classes that begin at the end of September.  The test time that worked best for everyone’s schedule was, unfortunately, at the same time as my follow-up dermatology appointment.  Daughter looked disappointed, but I just picked up the phone, dialed, and said, “I need to reschedule my appointment.”  Daughter was very surprised, but I hugged her and told her that I knew the test was important to her, and I was happy to take her.

Another example:  My two youngest children woke up sick last Friday, which meant they had to stay home.  Not the end of the world, usually, but I had an appointment with my rheumatologist.  Ideally, one of the older kids would babysit so I could keep the appointment, but they all had commitments.  Someone had to reschedule.  For the past few years, it’s always been the kids – my doctor appointments have taken priority (because it’s my health ).  This time, I called and rescheduled my appointment, and it was amazing to see the difference in everyone’s attitude.

I don’t intend to make a habit of changing appointments once they’ve been scheduled, but in these cases it was the right thing to do.  My family needed me more than I needed to see the doctor right then.

Education – Learn about RA (or whichever type of arthritis you have).  One tool for this is the upcoming World Autoimmune Arthritis Day.  This will be an on-line event – a virtual convention.  Registration is free.  See the WAAD website for details.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Take time to appreciate your loved ones every day.

Carving out special time for special people can be tough.  Everyone is busy.  Valentine’s Day is just a little reminder – a way for people to make a pointed effort to do something special for their loved one.

Do you have any special ways that you celebrate?

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Thanksgiving

“What are some things you’re thankful for?”  That was the question Sunday, and people took turns telling of how blessed they are, in spite of a variety of difficulties.

I sat there – not quite sulking, but almost – miffed at how crummy this year has been.  Poor me.  I was having quite a pity party, when it dawned on me that I needed a major attitude adjustment.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself for needing 28 doctor appointments, I can be grateful that medical help is so easily obtained.

Instead of grumbling that I haven’t been able to spend as much time with my horse as I’d planned, I can be thankful that I have my own horse.  I actually, really and truly finally got a horse – the exact kind I’ve always wanted.  How cool is that!

We still have an income – significantly smaller than a few years ago, but enough to pay the bills.  We still have medical insurance.  We have a nice warm house to live in.  We have land to raise our own organic vegetables and chemical-free beef. 

No more sulking.  By then I truly was thankful.  God has blessed me greatly.  I have much to be thankful for.

And then I remembered hangers.

When our children were small, my husband would tuck the toddlers into bed while I nursed the baby to sleep.  He would pray with the children, then they would lay in bed and say, “Thank you, God, for …”  The kids would take turns naming things for which they were thankful.  Once the baby was asleep, I loved to eavesdrop to see what they’d come up with.  They didn’t just name the same things night after night, but were creative.

One night, my son said, “Thank you, God, for hangers.”  Hangers????   I didn’t think that was suitable.  What about more noble things, like, family, or peace, or good neighbors?

God nudged me.  You’re NOT thankful for hangers?  I could arrange for you to not have any.  How would that be?  

I pondered for a moment life without hangers – or life without the need for hangers.  I decided that my son had the right idea.  I, too, am thankful for hangers.

It’s easy for me to get complacent, and sometimes I need a reminder of how very much I have to be thankful for – hangers and all.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.