‘Tis The Season

RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy

caneI’ll let you in on a little secret…I just found *the perfect* excuse for any extra pounds I might put on during the holiday season. This afternoon, I started a prednisone push. It’ll be my first (and obviously my last) prednisone push of 2010. Seriously though, I’m not too concerned about gaining weight, since my eating habits really don’t change much over Christmas and New Years Day…and even though I haven’t been to the gym in the last month, I have managed to not undergo any major weight fluctuation. Plus, I have my own little proven method of dealing with the insatiable hunger pangs that appear when I’m on prednisone: jello…lots and lots of jello! (Okay, and maybe some Pringles here and there…)

This evening, I attended a concert at the local symphony hall. There’s always something very pleasant about listening to a live piano duo, or a violin playing along with a cello…even if I’m squirming around my seat in pain. As luck would have it, there was no seat immediately in front of me, which gave me all the room I needed to stretch and move my legs…if I were on an airplane, I would have definitely been charged some additional fee for such a ‘privilege’. Lesson that I continue to learn: if I’m going to be in pain, I might as well be doing something that I enjoy.

I have four more work days, which will be followed by a five-week break. (If you hear someone shouting in happiness on the afternoon of Tuesday the 21st, yes that would be me!) The finish line for this semester, strangely enough, is simultaneously getting so close yet so far away. I’ve never worked full-time during a flare of this magnitude…the grip hold that fatigue has on my body continues to tighten. Case in point: I basically slept straight through the end of yesterday’s classes and the beginning of today’s classes. When I pulled out my folder in class this afternoon so that I could return my students’ exams, only then did I realize that I had not even graded them. I told my students as much, and promised that I would return them tomorrow.

My rheumatoid arthritis is no longer an unknown to my students…everything is on full display for them to see. Yesterday, I wasn’t even able to take my backpack off my shoulders. Without a moment’s hesitation, I asked one of my students to please help me remove my backpack. I really appreciate the words of support that they continue to offer me. Some of them express their feelings and wishes for my improved health in an eloquent manner, while others are a little more…let’s just say…clumsy. Their intentions, no matter how the words ultimately come out, are always good…and that I like.

During this busy last month of the year, when it’s all too easy to take on too much and stress ourselves out, I find some solace in the fact that I’m forced on a daily basis to prioritize all of the items on my to-do list. Low priority? Scratch it off immediately. Medium priority? Must it be done today? No, scratch it off and reschedule it. Yes? Keep it on my list…but if push comes to shove, cross it off as well. High priority? Okay, I’ve cut my list down to one third…I should be able to manage at least these items. And if not, there’s always tomorrow.

So even though my body is doing quite a number on me at the moment, my spirits remain high. I have gotten through this before, and I have no doubt that I will get through this again.

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