Reumapatientenbond: In Motion

In BewegingFellow superhero Ferhaan – from the Netherlands – was recently interviewed for the monthly publication of the Dutch Arthritis Foundation: “In Beweging” (“In Motion”). Starting this January, Ferhaan will be contributing a monthly column for this magazine.

Please join me in wishing Ferhaan the best as he embarks on this new endeavor!

In the meantime, you can visit him at Ferhaan’s Blog.

For more information on the Dutch Arthritis Foundation, please visit: http://www.reumabond.nl/.

If you are in the area, be sure to take a look at this December issue…I am told that Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is mentioned as well!

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A Sister’s Love

Sisters LoveRheumatoid Arthritis Guy’s sister, who arrives later this morning, is one of the persons who has provided him continuous support throughout his journey with rheumatoid arthritis. Even though we live thousands of miles apart, we are always only a phone call away…and I can’t even count the number of times she has picked up the telephone, only to hear me bawling away on the other end.

My sister got married about a month before I received my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. I remember being in town for the event, confused as all heck because I had no clue what was going on with my body. The pain was high and my energy levels were low. I struggled to get out of bed before noon rolled around, and I silently kicked myself for the brain fog that seemed to be hanging over me all the time.

My sister is a psychologist…and she married a psychologist…and both of them teach psychology…so needless to say, there were many psychologists present during the festivities. Even though all of us were confused with what was going on with my body, some of her friends and colleagues knew a little more or a little less about my situation. I will never forget one individual who started talking about the challenges that chronic pain can bring into one’s life. I was dumbstruck – I had been living with pain for years, but I had never thought of labeling it as “chronic pain”.

My partner and I were part of the wedding party. As we walked down the aisle, I used my new black cane. Only two weeks later I would be using crutches, and two weeks after that I would receive my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Since then, my sister has always provided me with a listening ear and with calming words of support, as I deal with the ups and downs of living with rheumatoid arthritis. She and her husband have helped my partner and I tremendously during this past year as we were piecing things back together, and for that we will be forever grateful.

As they are in town, along with my parents, I will be moving into “holiday mode”…I will still be blogging, but not on a daily basis. I want to make the most out of being surrounded with my loving family. I couldn’t have asked for anything better this Christmas!

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

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Sunday Break

Because there is no such thing as taking too many breaks!

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Christmas TreeYesterday afternoon at around 3:00 in the afternoon the worst of my flare finally broke, and we decided to put up the Christmas tree. We also set out the holiday decorations and candles.

During the evening, as we watched television, it was really nice to have the sparkling lights of the tree and the flames of the candles brightening up the living room.

The tree still does not have any ornaments – my sister and her husband are arriving in town tomorrow, so we decided that we would wait until we were all together to hang the ornaments.

This corner of the living room usually holds the toy chest of Oliver, our youngest dog (pug). It has since been transferred to the home office. Here’s hoping that he doesn’t confuse low-hanging tree ornaments for chew toys!

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My flare continues, although at slightly lower levels than yesterday. I did sleep in until 1:00 pm today…the extra rest was wonderful. My hands are slightly less red and inflamed than they were yesterday. I think all of this started this past Tuesday…and then on Thursday when I was at physical therapy I was told that my wrists were dislocated due to the inflammation. Here’s hoping that the worst has passed.

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Tomorrow it’s going to be an early morning! My sister and her husband arrive at the airport tomorrow at the break of dawn. Can’t wait for them to get here!

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If you have sent me an email or personal message in the past ten days, please know that I have fallen way behind in regards to responding…I appreciate your patience!

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Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

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Artistic Dreams

ArcimboldoRheumatoid Arthritis Guy’s hand are being attacked like never before.

This morning, I was not able to get out of bed until around 11:00 am. Even at that, the only thing that got me moving was knowing that if I wanted to get a Diclofenac injection today, I needed to be at the clinic by noon. My hands were the most swollen that they have ever been, and the skin was bright red. Normally, the right hand has always hurt more than the left hand…but not now – they are both hurting equally.

At the moment I am post-injection, doing a tad bit better (at least I am typing…yesterday in class I reached a point where I could not even hold my Dr. Grips pen), even though I know that I really won’t see results from the Diclofenac for another two or three days. I have something to look forward to, though, if my hands do indeed continue to worsen in the next 48 hours.

Two night ago I woke up in the middle of the night with a moment of panic. I had seen an image of myself where my body was rotting away like fruit. This dream startled me, and I woke up right away. Before my anxiety got any worse, I started focusing on my breath, and before I knew it I was back asleep.

Last night, I had a dream that I was organizing an art exhibition in one of the large old-style houses that are still found where I live – tall ceilings and hardwood floors. In my dream, I was having a blast as I connected the architectural space to the stories that were being told in the paintings. It was a very pleasant dream, and I have continued to think about is since I’ve been awake.

This morning I needed help taking a bath and getting dressed. I’ve needed help before, but not quite like today. For a while, I almost had no use of my hands. I was bathed and towel dried. I was helped to groom myself, and finally helped to dress myself.

So yes, maybe my body is moving in a direction opposite than what I wish would be the case. I do, however, continue to maintain control of my mind and my dreams, and I know that this will carry me far.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

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