Advocacy, Ambassador, Activist, Volunteer - All out of a Desire, Passion and Compassion to help others... and the heart of my own dilemma this Annual Arthritis Summit 2015

I have something to share with my dear "Online" and "Off Line" Friends. Each of you have been and continue to be a true inspiration to me. Whether it is about something I write, my books, poetry, my blog, my pursuits as a patient with several chronic illnesses and chronic pain issues, wife, now also a caretaker for Jim after the accident, that will be a year ago March 26th. It seems impossible but most of you recall I was actually at the Arthritis Foundation's Summit on Capitol Hill last year, when I got the "call" that everyone dreads... an accident, all the way back in Dallas, my husband. Basically, "ran over" by an 18--wheel tractor trailer from behind. I am STILL and always WILL BE EXTREMELY THANKFUL for the Kindness, the compassion, the friendship, and the honor that all of the ones there at the Summit, as well as those in the Foundation who helped me get aboard a plane in DC just hours later, headed back to Dallas, to Baylor Hospital. The outcome I was not sure of, and I was so very blessed by those who directly helped me that fateful day. Chris Nieto​ was and still is an angel. He helped me with everything from taking all of the information down from the Emergency Room Trauma doctors, to making sure Laura helped to get me board the plane, and he happened to have been flying back to Dallas himself, so he, Serena, and others from the Summit gave me such a "foundation" to stand upon, as my entire world literally crashed down around me. I look back, and I crumbled to the floor as my daughter told me about the wreck, and Chris began to read off the "numerous" injuries Jim sustained. From almost EVERY RIB broken, to his back basically "broken in two" - - from C-7 through T-7 back surgery done within hours of the accident. A concussion, fracture of the shoulder, possibly a leg, a "nick" in the aorta, and the list just read on and on.... Anyway, all of 2014, we spent either with him in the hospital and the rehab hospital over 3 months. Then several more months of going back and forth several times weekly for rehab... and just a score of doctors visits... plus of course all of the "red tape" that yet has not been settled...

So, moving forward... I was HONORED to be given such an incredible title in my advocacy work, as "Platinum Ambassador" for the Arthritis Foundation. I spent time when I was not either ill myself, or having all of my teeth pulled, and replaced, or any number of other things, to be able to attend the "conference" meetings, make some relationships with some of our Congress People, and do all I could with a true passion to HELP ALL of those out there like myself, suffering from these dreadful diseases....

After my DC visit in 2014, I was so totally elated and felt so privileged to perform one of my "long time" dreams, and that is to "stand on the White house steps" and TELL MY STORY! Well, that dream came true last year in March, 2014. My plans were also to BE BACK  this year in just two weeks, and again be able to STAND with such an INCREDIBLE Foundation as the Arthritis Foundation, and be a part of their wonderful advocates!. When I found out at the very end of 2014 in December or so, that I WOULD BE ABLE TO GO back to DC I was on "cloud ninety nine"!  Of course, my health has waxed and waned, I still have yet to COMPLETE my entire ordeal of these "mini dental pins" in my bottom dentures... due to all kinds of complications, including an "oral-maxillary communication" in other words a "hole" between my mouth and my sinus cavity... and infections etc... yet, I had bought new boots, had all of my clothes lined up, my "ducks in a row" all ready to go back to DC in two weeks!!!

Well, these illnesses "don't care"... they don't care if YOU have PLANS... they don't care if you have to "miss" something you so want to do, they don't care what else is going on in your life...  if "they" decide you will be sick, then sick it is... YES, you can try and push through it, you can try to ignore a flare, or not deal with medications, or not rest, and just do as you wish. But, when it is time for a chronic illness/pain issue arises, it WILL put you DOWN... and you have no choice... you cancel parties, plans, dinners, you don't celebrate holidays when you should, or you miss birthday plans... as we speak of often in the "spoon theory"... you have so many, and you can "borrow" a few... but when there are none, there are none.... thus... due to my own personal bout with several health issues due to the RA, Lupus, Sjogren's, and so forth, my "health" has been not so great, and I've been trying my best to "ignore" the ugly truth... but much to my disappointment... I am still not well, I probably am going to go through some major medication changes, now I am FINALLY going to have the bottom dentures pinned... after all these months of waiting... and not being able to eat much, or if I talk much, the bottom ones slip and slide around thus, I have heck even keeping the top ones from slipping also... my pain level has jumped through the roof. We are not sure if it is lower back disc compression fractures due to the osteoporosis, the RA and my hips, other leg, nerve issues, or what... plus I have just all of a sudden soared in having several Lupus Migraines... they have gotten so bad... and with Jim not able to drive, and his own medical issues with the  Paraplegia causing bad balance problems, where he can't bend forward, or he would fall, he can't go down stairs without help, there are just many things we take for granted daily, that after something like his accident, are things that are just not possible, no matter how small they may seem. He is not able to get things if they are pushed back far into the Fridge, or in a cabinet. He can't climb up to get things out of our very top cabinets... and so that makes it also very difficult for me to be gone for several days... we thought we had that all taken care of, and that person now is having some other family medical issues, thus I don't have them to come and help him out while I am gone, as we thought. So, between all of the "little things", the big "elephant" in the room of course is... I with very deep sorrow and disappointment, must bow down and not go physically to the Arthritis Summit this year. It took me over a week of crying, kicking myself, feeling guilty, being mad, sad, and all of the other billion emotions wrapped around this for me to just have to admit that I am just not physically able, and with family things also, to go this year. I will of course be ON BOARD 500% as and "E-Summit" Attendee... and PLEASE ALL OF YOU take a moment, and go to the link I have provided several times and send in your letter. They WILL BE HAND DELIVERED to YOUR Representative. So, it is vital you get to say your own personal things about these dreadful and unacceptable diseases. I hope to be able to "pinch" myself, and wake up from this nightmare... but no - not a nightmare... it is just the truth and I had to face it... one thing I have "gleaned" (honestly many) but one thing that I have learned about my personal advocacy, activist, volunteer and ambassador work, is that it comes from A VERY DEEP PASSION AND DRIVE and it just as important if not MORE IMPORTANT than a "regular job" People that do this type of thing do it from their hearts, minds and spirits.... we "live" to help others... no "glory"... no "personal gain" honestly... but out of the sheer passion of knowing WE HELPED - WE GAVE VOICE to a patient, or patients... that is WHY MOST of us do this... out of the desire, love and compassion to help others feel better, and live a better quality of life....


Rhia

Please see this URL to SEND IN YOUR LETTERS!!!

http://www.arthritis.org/advocate/advocacy-summit/virtual-summit/letters.php?utm_source=LetterWriter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Advocacy&utm_content=body&utm_campaign=031115
 
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