Earlier this week, if anyone had asked me what I wanted for Christmas, all I would have said was one thing: less pain. And while we’re still more than 24 hours away from Christmas Eve celebrations, for the moment at least, it seems like my wish is coming true.
True, I am still experiencing a considerable amount of pain, especially in my left leg, but at least my hands have not undergone any episodes of severe inflammation and pain in the past couple of days. In these days right before the holidays, having this extra strength in my hands really does seem like a nice gift. Walking around with my crutches is just a little bit easier…and this counts for a lot.
I went to campus on Tuesday and administered the final exams for my two classes and said goodbye to my students. (I’m now on vacation until the first week of February!) Later that evening, I went out to dinner and a movie. Yesterday, I attended the holiday bbq that was being given by the academic dean of my university. Earlier today, I went out to buy some Christmas presents for my husband. Since I can’t carry much while I am using my crutches, a friend was kind enough to accompany me and give me a helping hand (literally). On my way to shopping this morning, I bumped into my rheumatologist on the sidewalk. On my taxi ride home, I drove by my psychologist.
In general, it was a morning full of lots of little reminders of the wonderful personal and professional circle of support that has helped me and continues to help me when times are rough.
The little kid inside of me anxiously awaits the gifts that I will find underneath the tree tomorrow night. The adult inside of me, though, knows that true gifts are given each and every day.
My wonderful husband, who continues to be by my side…for better or for worse…and who knows all of the little secrets of how to help me get through my most difficult moments of pain and disability. My parents, who pray for me when I’m struggling with a flare. My sister, who continually calls and emails me to see how I am doing, and who patiently listens on the other side of the phone thousands of miles away while I cry out in pain. My friend, who for the first time this past weekend saw me at rock bottom (and in tears) and who consoled me, without skipping a beat. My department head, who accommodated all of my requests and missed classes over the past month, and who wished me improved health in the coming year. My rheumatologist, who cracked a joke, as usual, when we crossed paths this morning. My psychologist, who I know I can always turn to in a time of need.
And last but not least, all of my online friends, who know first-hand about the ups and downs that I write about here on my blog. Sometimes it’s just one email sent back and forth. (There are still some messages in my inbox that I received this week, and haven’t responded to yet…please know that your messages provided me a great amount of support just when I needed it the most.) Other times, it’s a friendship that has blossomed over the past couple of years. All of these friendships have one thing in common: they let me know that I am not alone, and that together we can continue to overcome the challenges of living with chronic illnesses.
So yes, this year I opened my presents a few days early…but can you blame me?
Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!