In Memory of A Very Young Soul - Taken Much too Early from RA... May you forever be at Peace Ali...

It is with GREAT sorrow that we at IFAA report tonight that one of our volunteers, and RA patient, Ali McKenzie, passed yesterday from heart failure due to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Ali was not only a young lady, she was an intricate part of both World Autoimmune Arthritis Day 2013 and 2014, standing in without hesitation to run many of the live chats and ensure guests were well taken care of. Ali, we at IFAA are heartbroken tonight, and want you to know you are loved and will be sincerely missed.

Autoimmune Arthritis diseases are SERIOUS. Please learn more and choose to understand it's not the same as "arthritis".







This is just too difficult to believe. I had only gotten to know Ali for a few months, but with her living near my daughter in and around Corpus, we talked and got to know one another some. My heart just breaks as I find out she has passed away due to complications from RA that caused heart failure. This young woman had so much to contribute and was a talented lady of graphics, and of these illnesses and so much more. The world will "miss" her, especially "our world" of the IFAA, and all of us that she had touched during the time we have known her.

May you rest in peace Ali, and know you are so greatly missed by many. Rhia

Life, Lupus, Symptoms, RA, and Coping... (My Own Pretense Portion 1)

(Portion 1) I began this weeks ago. So, I've decided to post it, some at a time, rather than one huge post... Maybe I, can find some "reasoning" for things that I have questioned through my own writing.... so here it is .... the first portion....



Even though the "title" of this only names "4" items, there are SO many more, that if I posted it all in my title would be as long or longer than my blog post.

Rather than bore myself and everyone else with some title, I much prefer to get right into the "meat", heart and soul of writing this. Many of you have followed my "trail" for a rather long time now. Well, before I had a great deal to so the Facebook, or truly decided to delve into the realms of blogging for a good reason.

As with life, and everyone else, I have underwent changes.... changes in illnesses, changes in life, changes in the way I feel about life, what I want to "accomplish" during the rest of my time here, and we ALL have lists and lists... and if you are anything like myself, I have another list to keep up with the lists. Humans are just that, humans. As I began this, my first portion said we all change our minds, we all have things we have to live with, tolerate, long for, debate, are stubborn about, will give in, and some things in our lives , we tend to have a firm stance, and like that tree with the larger trunk, than any other near it, nothing will move it - not until the heavens and Earth someday are moved.

I've gone through SO MANY "adaptations" since my RA/Lupus/
Sjogren's/Raynaud's.... and oh how the list tends to grow along this past 7 to 8 years. Blood work, physicians, specialists, MRI's, CT's, EMG's, NCS... and it seems those tests with the initials also go on forever. You finally come to realize you are thrilled with you type EMG or any one of the other numerous "initials" for tests that someone, everyone knows what you are talking about! Finally you have found somewhere you don't have to try to type out an entire 15 letter word for a diagnosis or test! Boy, though when you reach that place, sometimes it smacks you right back into thinking, damned this is seriously becoming a way of life. When I know as much about the tests (or at least what those initials mean) as the doctor does, or understand all I am reading about in an article online without having to flip back and forth to "Google" a word, you have reached the point of "Face it, You have one or MORE Autoimmune Illnesses"!

So, we put up with the poking, scanning, tiny little needle like electrodes being put into your muscles, injected, directed, and all types of waves going through you... to this place you think, okay, that has to be the "last one". The last test, the last diagnosis, the last new medication, and NOW finally I can go on with my "life" as I had planned it before all of these turns in the road took place. Guess what? Nope! Not yet! Although maybe, you reach just a couple of things, that need a couple of scans, and only 1 new medication for now.

My body feels like it is on its last "leg"... my mind feels like I have thought every thought that have a been thinking seems as if it leaves me with no other thought that would possibly be "different" or of my own.

I feel submerged in a "vat" of vastness, not knowing if I can breathe or not, do I actually "see" something, feeling something, taste or touch an item, hand, piece of fruit, a fork, spoon, or a human? I am just a wanderer now... wondering as I wander about, never knowing from one moment to the next how to think, what to feel, whether I should "act" normal, or sometimes act as crazy as I have felt in the past two months.

I wished I knew more answers to so many questions that I have "backed up" in my mind. There is this place that seems to be over wrought with all kinds of questions, from things about the wreck, to things about my Advocacy and Ambassador in the Arthritis Foundation.... to my own illnesses... my teeth just seeming to fall out of my mouth due to Sjogren's, and the $8,000.00 it takes to get them fixed.

Even with insurance the BEST I can get would be 60 percent of it paid. Yet, that means trips to Dallas, multiple trips... whereas I already have enough trips there due to the Lupus and RA. There are all of these "new" symptoms, yet I have not been able to be given "why" they are here... why am I so terribly weak, why do I find myself more stiff, and feel as if I can't walk very far without falling... why are all of those happening...

Then there are the brain issues, the forgetfulness, the fogginess, the ability not to spell correctly, and the problems typing that I never seemed to have found out as to why... and I fall asleep all the time... I can be having a conversation and I fall asleep.. I try to watch a movie and I fall asleep... I have found myself just standing on the front porch or deep in thought in the yard and I have literally stood there and basically fell asleep standing. It makes no sense... some seem to think it is lack of sleep for me, but I get more sleep now than I have in a very long time. So, I cannot fathom it being a "lack of sleep".






























                                                             

"Empowerment" When All of Life "Strength" that had Sustained You - Suddenly is Gone - as I Thief in the Night

Honestly, I am here to write, yet I am not sure the words shall even come. The other day I had posted on Facebook and one of my friends there mentioned "I wished I had the knowledge and know how to write things, and say things as you do, Rhia".
I have given thought to that over the past week, and tried to also allow that place, that suddenly was so engrained in me, to be jerked right out from underneath me. The very core of my world was shaken on March 26th 2014.
As many of us, we have events that come into our world "that shake us down into that deep dark cavern" of where we just don't really heed was is going on or not. As the days have gone by, and I have tried to reach into my very soul, and pull out all of the things that are so precious to me, and I mean within myself, I realized even more so that a happening such as the catastrophe like my husbands car crash, not only shook me off my foundation, it has left me in a place of "shock" that I have yet to come out of, I am not sure that anyone else "caught it" or not, but his accident fell exactly one day before my Dad passed away in 2005. If my memory serves me right ( and I cannot say that is does at all) I believe Dad passed away on Easter Sunday, March 27th 2005. It hit me that very evening when we first arrived at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, that it was almost 9 years to the day of these two things happening. In a way, and maybe they also remembered but chose to not say anything either due to the circumstances that were happening at that moment. thus some of my family may have recalled it also. I just have not brought it up, for why at this time pour salt into an open wound, as the saying goes.
In such a very short span of time SO MANY things can change. Until you are thrown into the situation yourself, whatever the circumstances might be, you really cannot imagine ALL of the complexities something like this causes. From me not having my head on straight, and accidentally moving more money from an account than I intended to, so I did not realize that one of my bills that goes through bill pay had not cleared. So, here I was thinking things were fine, then I find out I did too much of a transfer into an account, and then that bill payment came through that I thought already had, so I overdrew my acct. by $.21... I felt so ashamed I was just going to bite the bullet and let it stay and me make it up, but one of the sweetest ladies there happen to have seen it, and asked me what happened. And as I told her, just all of that going on, and I took some money thinking I was good, and put it over into an acct... yet it was more than I really wanted to move, then the bill comes through I thought had been paid days and days before. She as she is, she went to the bank manager and got it reversed for me. But, still, you just don't realize how many things in your life are totally "wrecked" within the wreck I guess you could say, I catch myself looking for my car to go wash it, or now I have a very hard time sitting her at the computer. I was so used to him and I being here across from one another. Even though we may not utter a word to each other for hours, it was just the fact, we were here together. I find myself wandering through this tiny house, and wandering around in the yard, thinking I should just mow it myself. I should be able to mow those basically weeds down... and I need to spread the granules out for the fleas, and spray around the porches, and put ot fire bait, and now I have our bedroom, the ridiculous bathroom, and more over that stupid back room junk catch all room is all going to go. I am going to pitch about 90 percent of it out in trash can bags. I have stuff back there that I will NEVER use what so ever... and I know just from cleaning the windows and laundering the curtains in the other rooms, it just looked and smelled so much more fresh this morning. So, I know allow that pile of crap to go out of there, will again, give me a "new" lease on life.

I just can tell there are some thing that my brain is not quite comprehending... or if I don't have a note or a list (which was already an issue for me) then I am just not on "target".


May 1st, 2014


Ah, the "sounds", Sights", smells, and renewed feelings that come with the rebirth of Spring. The trees opening up their green leaves, as the wildflowers start to pop open. Of course the birds where we are and all of their "voices".... just an amazing sound on a Spring morning just as dawn breaks... and like a silent whisper into a rather loud victory march, the sun comes forth to warm us up once more. Assuredly we can't say that weather has been "odd".... odd, hell, down right insane. I had golf ball sized hail just last week pounding down up us, and you have to wonder are they all practicing with balls of ice for "T-Ball" season... they can absolutely do damage,that is for sure.

although just as quickly as that "rogue" storm marched in, it left us, only to leave a path of destruction from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. Yet, on the other side of the nation, California dealing with their the Santa Anna winds and the driving force in fires that burn thousands of acres and hundreds of homes... and they have just barely started.

I've I had tough go of it this past two weeks once again. I have felt lousy and not quite myself, since before I left for DC the last of March. And even half joked about us all going to have pneumonia on the Tuesday we went to the Capitol. It was snowing huge, very wet flakes and it was cold.... even with an umbrella, coat and wrap it was not very pleasant weather to say the least.

What was to follow on that fated trip... came as a shock wave... a tidal of disbelief, and every kind of emotion you could be possibly dream of. I have tried my best to not question, "why"... because if I need to know then it will be revealed to me. I still believe we have the "will" to take our own paths, yet we are somewhat predestend as to what those paths are. I have began to already realize things about me, that I did not know existed, until that day of the accident. And I also realized for the 1st time in my life, it was okay to say "no", I can't. I never thought about me ever "refusing" to help someone, or do something for someone, but I have to had to make those choices these past weeks. I can't be in three places at once, I cannot run on 3 hours of sleep for long, I have to have time to decompress, or I will and am ill. You can throw in the Lupus, Sjogren's, RA, and all of the other issues physically but the point it that I allowed myself to say, yes, yes, yes when I should have been politely saying not this time, but on the next go round I hope to have some sanity back in my life. I continue to find it difficult to even write here... even though I have a billion things to talk about... my new car, which is awesome, the progress Jim has made which is fantastic, Spring coming out, and hopefully getting an oral surgeon closer to begin the journey about my teeth. I can say eventually I will have the prettiest smile I've ever had for sure. I am wide awake, yet I honestly don't want to do this either, and coming from me that is terrible.... I once again have misplaced that inner voice, that keeps me coming back to write over and over again... it has hidden itself now for awhile, and when it finally reveals itself it will have much to do to make up on.

May 26th 2014

It has been awhile... too long really. I've not even truly been here but glad I have come in to see that many people had been following along on my blog lately. I am not sure if they is due to the horrible accident, my wanting to go and then enjoying DC so very much (and I apologize) I WILL talk about it soon. I've just not had the strength to "face" that very last hour or so of that fateful day. Thus trying to tell about ALL of the very incredible things I learned in DC and moreover how many wondrous people I met... it has truly been one of the greatest trips in my life. I surely hope I get "picked" or get into the "platinum status" for Ambassador before next Summit, so I maybe able to go again. I certainly will if the chance arises again.

I've been trying mentally and emotionally with my "reasoning" behind why I am having suck a difficult time of putting words and sentences together.... I am so embarrassed by it, that I have almost am in fear to post anything I write, because my fear is it will not make much sense. I know when I had the pneumonia, I had not been able to type anything that made any sense what so ever. I was terrified the day that happened. That is one say that I was probably more in fear for what was going on with me then any other day I can think of as far as my own self. I was trying to type out an email... I continued over and over to misspell, to type incorrectly, to use the wrong words for what I was trying to say... and as I stood up and realized I was hallucinating so badly... I felt faint but I was hearing things and seeing things. that were not there... I was just walking around the house like a crazy person! I just could not imagine what was happening to me. I had not taken any new meds, I had felt lousy, but I had been fighting a kind of like sore throat thing off and on and felt so drained of energy, but what was causing this so extremely unusual feeling... like I my faint, dizzy, my brain just not "working".... my first thought was to take myself to the Urgent Care Clinic across town. So, Happened Mom had her car that day back so she could go to church that morning, so I called her and let her know something was not right... Thus she came and got me and took me to Urgent Care... Thank goodness, the doctor that saw me happened to also be one of our ER physicians, so that worked out well. He was concerned enough to really send me to ER but then after we saw the lung XRays and he knew I really did not feel like going to ER and further being poked, stuck, blood drawn etc put through another battery of tests, the sent home with probably the say thing he gave me... high powered antibiotics, cough medication, an inhaler, and other pills for my breathing... so fortunately I got home, got on the sofa with my meds and the puppies and we were there all except for the very necessary done... all other stuff was put off until I felt better. Then both my cardiac doctor and my PCP BOTH still here the pneumonia in my lungs. So, I had another round of antibiotics, also my 2nd infusion of Rituxan has been postponed until my lungs are completely clear on an X-ray.... and in the mean time I am hurting like hell due to the lack of a biologic...I t has been a very rouogh 3 or 4 days... Jim is home and he is of course working much harder not having the wheelchair and relying solely on the cane... and me just trying to get used to all of the things that are different now as he takes over a new "home" and new ways to discover how to do things. So, we are "okay" he does to Outpatient Therapy on Wednesday, tomorrow... in Waxahachie..... and for me I am working on getting these teeth all pulled and the "mini implants" put in ... along with insurance to hopefully pay 60 percent of it! Again we take a step forward daily and learn to adapt to this new course... this new pathway of life.....