I have a really bad cold and if you have RA or an autoimmune disease you know having anything that will further compromise your immune system is a disaster. I woke up feeling like crap. I thought to myself: “What is this?” It’s not RA. It’s not Fibromyalgia either. “What the—-?” One minute I felt chills and the next minute I was hot. I hope it’s not the flu. It wasn’t. It is a cold. A nasty, disgusting, cold.
Well, today my fever stayed away and I had some strength. I decided to cook. I didn’t cook yesterday. Chic fil A it was and whatever one could find if they got hungry later. When you have RA you strategically cook. You want it quick and you want it delicious. So here is the quick meal I threw together in 30 minutes.
I cooked steaks on an electric grill (the old George Foreman) and stir fried some veggies. My daughter wanted rice and the complete meal was done in less than 30 minutes. I was not on my feet long. Only for the stir frying (3-4 minutes) and when I seasoned the steaks. The grill did the hard work and I sat down. I didn’t eat much of my steak but I ate all of my veggies. My appetite comes and goes with this cold. However, leftover steaks and veggies become and omelet in the morning. 🙂
I can’t because I have RA, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Osteoarthritis…etc…etc…etc…
Okay, first of all (and yes, I am doing that sassy rolling the neck thing with my hand on the hip), you can’t tell me I don’t understand because to some degree I do. So not to offend the sensitive soul of one with an autoimmune disease, let me talk to myself for a second.
Nikki: You can’t or you won’t? You can’t or does it hurt? You can’t but what can you do and don’t say nothing because you can do something. You can’t or are you afraid? You can’t or you feel as though “they” may be “looking at you funny?”
Well, Nikki (YOU), you have to change your attitude first of all. Yes, I know you went through or may be going through the “why me phase” or experiencing “B.A. nostalgia” (Before Autoimmune). But, listen, you have to become the very thing mentally you were before and that is a fighter or warrior. If you never were that then you must become one or you will speed up the process of the toil it takes on your body. Nikki (YOU), you can not or will not go out without a fight! You are the ROCKY of your illness.
So how can you improve your attitude?
Prayer works miracles
Meditation works wonders
Positive quotes on the mirror or your nightstand that relate to attitude, inspiration, etc
Instead of always searching for the bad things about your illness or disease search for people who are living successfully with it and draw from their ideas and perspective
List or say five things you are grateful for every day morning or night
Drink more water (just thought I would throw that in there)
Eat healthier because you will feel better physically and it will help you feel better mentally
Face your fears about your illness or disease and think more about what you can do than what you can’t do and be forever grateful for that
Try it again and again and again. Try something new. Create an exercise of your own.
Cherish the good moments, spurts of energy and use them to your advantage. Don’t worry about “I will hurt later” because what I have found is you are probably going to hurt later anyways.
If you read any of the first two blogs about Zeal, you would know that I lost my zeal for church but, not for God or Spiritual things. If you know how to “eat the fish and spit out the bones” you can apply what I am about to tell you to ALMOST anything if you have lost your zeal for it.
Take a break. Taking some time off and retreat to a quiet place or turn you attention to other things. This can give your mind and emotions time to settle. I was throwing everything but the kitchen sink trying to figure out “why” or “what” was wrong. It was very exhausting mentally. Maybe go on a nature walk. Attend your nephew’s baseball games or do some activities with friends or your family. Sometimes you need to get out and in touch with nature and people (other than the people you are normally around). People can inspire you and nature can answer you.
(I am going to do this next time I am out on a nature walk)
2. Prayer and Meditation. Not on the why or what you can do but just simple prayer and meditation on whatever you are lead to pray about or meditate on.
3. Read. If you are a Christian, you may want to reconnect with your Bible and if you are not, you may want to reconnect with the book of your religion or pick up a positive book. This helps you to redirect your energy on your core beliefs or discover some new ones!
4. Do something different. Let’s say I was a baker and I lost my zeal for baking. Perhaps, I would travel to Italy and learn something new about baking Italian desserts. Maybe, I could refresh my skills or take a class at the local university. Perhaps, lending yourself to other charities and volunteering outside of the church would bring back the spark and allow you to reconnect.
5. Face the truth. Perhaps you have outgrown where you are or this phase of your gift. Maybe it is time to move on to something different. I would think of it as an adventure or a new phase in your life. Some people outgrow their church, outgrow their job, career or business. It just may be time to move on.
Today is Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day and I must admit for the last 5 years I have not really publicly displayed anything on this day. Sure from time to time I would share a post about RA but, really I didn’t want anyone to know I had it. And when I did talk about it, it was as if I were just as invisible as the autoimmune disease itself. This is my first year fully, okay, 85% embracing this day.
I decided to see it as a day to say HEY, WE ARE HERE. EVERYWHERE. LIKE…ALIENS THAT LOOK JUST LIKE YOU working in your office, at your schools, etc. ( YOU KNOW THE WHOLE “BUT YOU DON’T LOOK SICK” COMMENT WE GET 🙂 BUT NO 🙂 ). And by aliens I mean this foreign illness has invaded our bodies without warning or permission. Straight from the “OTHERLAND” (MOTHERLAND).
It’s a day to explain to you it’s not “JUST ARTHRITIS” and it affects more than your bones. It can affect your heart and lungs and rarely, the brain. It also likes to bring along with it Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Diabetes and a “party of five” of other things. It interferes with friendships and every type of relationship there is.
It’s a day for others to learn a little bit more about what I go through daily.
So, last night I was going to go a bonfire, earlier this week I was suppose to go to an open mic poetry night, I also was asked to attend a business meeting but, as you can guess, none of that happened. I noticed last night that not much of anything has been happening even with careful planning. It hit me this morning “like a ton of bricks” (as I heard an old man say frequently and often thought that could be painful), maybe how you use to manage your pain is not working anymore. Your plan (manual) needs to be updated to match the increase of activities in your life or the slowing down of activities in your life. Those of us in this community know how much energy it takes to do the daily basics, keep a clean house and clothes, take care of a family and self, plus work and then other things outside of that. Even with all of the careful planning sometimes Dr. Evil (that is what I call RA) has other plans for you! (Muah ha ha ha….NOT FUNNY) and so you have to work around it or go to sleep! It is a juggling act with no applause and sometimes you feel like you are waking up to a circus of what to do now and what to next and what not to do. So, today I will take some time and see where it is I am going wrong and how can I not only manage the pain or fatigue (physically) but, manage the illness itself (mentally)….better.
Parenting: Last night I told my daughter to get ready for bed. She said she was putting her hair up and was already dressed for bed. Well when she walked into my room her hair was in five or six gigantic knots (wrapped around). I began to giggle because she looked like an alien from a sci-fi movie. But then my giggle turned into deep side aching laughter because at that moment I realized she is the same child that dressed herself with mixed match clothes. The same child that gravitates towards the unusual necklace and 8 bracelets on one arm. The same child that insists on wearing socks that don’t match. I thought I was loosing her as she is turning into a teen but, I realized she is still there and will always be in some shape, form or fashion or hairstyle. In the midst of hormones and attitudes which some times makes a parent wonder “Who is this person?” I see the little girl is still there. The core of who she is still there. Here uniqueness and funny ways remain. She is still there. What a relief.
Sunday Morning Musing: In the winter you don’t think of anything growing. But, the Flowering Quince is a flower that loses it’s leaves in the fall and shows out with its red blooms and thorny branch in the Winter. It’s a flower that is great for a natural fence. Well, this morning I had to give a long overdue apology to someone of great status in my eyes. I am usually quick to apologize but, in this case I was intimidated because I saw myself as the student and I was worried about how I failed to be consistent. This GROWTH in the WINTER, along with two other lessons I have learned is like the Flowering Quince. It has made me bloom and it’s thorny branches are like my defense. It has made me stronger as a leader, grew me up in the area of responsibility even more therefore preparing me to be a better ME as I walk my destiny out. -Nicole Jackson