Showing posts with label life's up's downs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life's up's downs. Show all posts

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dealing with Aging, Chronic Illness and Another Birthday today!

All of us have to deal with aging. It is just a fact of life. If we are here on this Earth, we naturally are a tad bit older each day.

I am dealing with my 55th birthday tomorrow, Sunday the 15th (almost a Valentine's Baby). I always have a difficult time dealing with how quickly these birthdays seem to come around. It feels like I just celebrated one, and here is another one popping up.

When you have a chronic illness (es) and/or are living with chronic pain, I feel you have more of a feeling of "desperation" as the days go by. It is of course a known fact, if you are chronically ill, with just about any type of disease, that can lessen your life span depending on which illness, and how well it can be managed.

So, with someone such as myself, dealing with Lupus, RA, Sjogren's, already having two heart attacks, etc. the possibility of me living my life out to my 90's or less can be something that you have to admit may not happen. No one wants to think about growing older, and then passing away. We have so much LIFE to live, none of us want to check out of the life hotel, before we have completed all of the things we want to. Maybe it is to see your kids, grandkids, and great grand children grow up. Maybe you have things like myself, a blog, a book to write, people to see, family that you of course don't want to leave, and hobbies, activism, volunteer work, traveling, just the daily parts of life such as they are. with Autoimmune Illnesses, days may not be the greatest. You have some that are full of pain, and you would prefer not to deal with. Yet, you usually would rather deal with the pitfalls of chronic illness, than the opposite, which would be to pass onto another life.

I didn't get to finish this post yesterday, so I will finish it off for now with what I have written on Facebook this morning. I am so fortunate to have so many people around the globe that lift me up in faith, hope, and prayer... and I want all of them to know how much they mean to me.

This has been such a wonderful day so far. Other than waking up early this morning with a freaking horrid headache, that then upset my stomach as usual, I am having an incredible birthday! I went yesterday and got 3 shirts and a purse at Beall's for less than the price of the purse itself! I had a gift card from them for my birthday, plus some other good coupons. Then Mom and I stopped at the Dairy Queen and got burgers and fries. I brought ours home, so that was Jim and I's Valentine Day special. :):) Mom gave me a beautiful card, and what she wrote in it brought tears to my eyes. She has always been here for myself and for Jim, especially after the accident. Then Jim's Mom also sent me a card, and money! :) I had ordered something on Amazon that usually I never would have even tried, but it came in yesterday and they fit perfectly! I got 5 new bra's in the colors I needed for like 25.00! Plus Jim gave me a beautiful new robe this morning!!! I needed it so badly. I was ashamed to even wear my old one, it was definitely worn out.... then I got a call from Amanda Batson- Matheny​ and a bit later from my son Jason Harber​ which made my day to hear their voices and have them call was a wonderful treat... I also went and got us "no-no's" as I call donuts... we have a place just a few blocks away, and I could sit there and make myself sick, eating them. They are so good!!! :):) We were supposed to head to Winstar today. But, the weather is supposed to begin getting lousy today, and it is already really cloudy, and we are expecting a high chance of rain today and tomorrow, plus colder temperatures. So, we decided to wait to go the the Casino when the weather is a bit better. Driving in rain does not bother me if it is not too far away, but being with the idiots going through Dallas in the pouring rain, is not my biggest thrilling adventure! So, the rest of my day will probably be just relaxing with the pups and Jim. Probably going to watch a movie or two, and other than that, try and put all of the "everyday" worries aside today and not think about all there is to do, errands, running here, there and yonder... but just have a day of peace with these 3 I have so much joy with ... the pups can make us laugh no matter how lousy we feel, or how badly the day goes. Bubba Gump will raise up on his hind legs, with his front paws down in front of his face... and those big eyes just saying Mommy, rub my tummy... or the way he loves to watch television and movies. Tazzy, bless her heart, can still do some things to make me laugh... but she is really beginning to get a bit "feeble" in so many ways. She is I believe 11 years old. Jim gave her to me as a Christmas present while we were living in Seattle. That was the Christmas of 2004, because she was a year old when we got to TX. So, time has also flown by with her. It seems just yesterday, I was visiting her, with her brothers and sisters, trying to decide which puppy I wanted. She came running to me, not bigger than my hand... then ran over to Jim and began to give him kisses. From there we knew she was the one!!!! :):) She was not even old enough for me to bring home. I had to wait a week, and she got her last puppy shots, then we picked her up the next Friday night, just before Xmas. Life has just passed by so extremely fast. Day will have passed away 10 years ago on the 27th of March. Mom will be 80 in August. And Jim and I have been together now for 12 years, and will be married in April 10 years. I would not have missed one moment ever so far in my life, and I am so very fortunate to have family, a spouse, two pups, and so many friends to keep me from going insane at times. You each bring something special to my life, and even if we never were to meet in person, which of course many of us might not, you are still as much a part of my life, as if you were right next door... thank you... each and every one of you, for giving me strength, courage, hope, faith, and on the right path in life... I am blessed and overflowing... Rhia

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Good, The Great, The Days you feel like NO ONE Gets IT!!!! I CANNOT BREATHE

I've just about had it with everything. I cannot stand when someone wants ME to be at their beckon call. But, when I do not hear a word and am suddenly "cut off" it seems, I cannot just hop up and fly off for 3 or 4 days for an event. I am really upset, hurt and pissed that I am "used" when they want me. Then they get me all hyped up to make another trip that is supposed to be the first part of December. Now I cannot get a response by email at all. It is like I am a "stranger" and Don't Exist... but if they need me in the future it will be expected for me to "jump" up and do exactly what they want and when, and fore go the thought that I am chronically ill, and I can't just take off at a moment's notice. And if I find out ANY of my "SO-CALLED" friends have had a thing to do with it, I will really be peeved.... but I can see a couple of them "climbing" the ladder of "fame"... by running over others to do so... anyway, I am just about finished with it all. I am going to take all of next year, or ever how much it takes, which maybe a year, less or a bit more, and write my book. I am sick of putting it off for "trivial" pursuits that now seem like it does not matter much what the hell I bent over backwards to do and help out with. I am no more than someone that is taken advantage of due to the fact of my passion about helping others. Then I am scooped up and heaved in a corner when they are "through" using me. I have been having horrid, night terrors, now for about 2 months or more... and last night really told it all. It was so bad, I was screaming and crying so much, I woke Jim up and he had to come out of the bedroom to check on me. Then it took me almost a half hour to truly settle down and figure out it was a night terror and not real. Yet, it did finally get through to me, when in my nights sleep, I am being put down, picked on, cast away to the sides, and everyone ignoring me, treating me like dirt, so badly that I could not even breathe... which woke me up, because I felt I was literally suffocating... and could not breathe... I am being "drowned" by the very thing I loved to do the most... well 2nd to my writing and blog... and that is my volunteer work... so I am bowing out for the most part, to allow those who choose to cram their "high heels" in my back as they walk all over me... (I saw this when I worked for a woman boss)... petty jealousy, wanting to take over and get credit for everything, taking someone's else hard work and saying it is theirs, and the subject matter goes on and on... well, I am pulling those damned "heels" out of my back, I am going back to write my 3rd book, keep up my blog, and keep to myself... so I may not show up or say as much here especially after the holidays are over. I feel I've been "used and abused" enough, and I am freaking sick of being tortured during my waking hours and it causing me to having horrid night terrors... it is time to get out of that "ladder climbing" crap....

Some of you may wonder why I get "caught up" in all of this. Well, for one thing I take my "advocacy", "Activism", my "Volunteering", my writing, blogging, and being An Ambassador, as well as a "general spokesperson" for those with illnesses, chronic in nature, those that we know will NEVER go away more than likely in our lifetimes, and so my dream is to "build a bridge" to future generations where they WILL have answers, as to why, what, how, when, where... and possibly a way to just say NO, to some horrid, chronically painful, life shattering chronic pain and illnesses. So, whether I am writing a blog post, or posting something in Facebook, or reading someone posts... whether I am "helping" a group, or Foundation... whether I am trying to help several causes and Foundations by "lending my voice and own personal experiences to them, in order to get OUR POINTS across to Congress, to the nation, to our own communities, even to our family and friends, when I am doing any and all of that, then I am serious about my "job". I don't take being an advocate for others lightly. I take it as I am trying my very best to try those out there, that either can't step forward, due to family, illness, lack of funds, or any number of reasons some people can't "lend a volunteering hand". There are those that are "shy", or they are raising families, or they are just too ill, to be able to either go to a Congressman's office, or send an email, and for all sorts of reasons people sometimes are able to get involved in that realm.

I can totally understand, because being a "voice", being assertive, putting your heart and soul on the line to speak with a member of the House or the Senate, or to ask for money for research and development for those who are researchers and may have the golden key some day to unlock and unleash something powerful enough to STOP the pain and suffering of RA, Lupus, Sjogren's, Osteoarthritis, MS, FM, CFS, MCTD, and the other host of autoimmune illnesses, or Lyme Disease, Cat Scratch disease that now has entered as a possible "means" by which some of us "got" these illnesses .... whether that is true or not, we need the people, researchers, money. the backers with funds, the corporations and foundations... the CDC... gosh the list is endless.... but we also need YOU and MYSELF. We MUST put our voices out there... if they "squash" us and tell us to get out, then so be it.... There will be yet another person that may not dismiss our "calling" and is willing to watch, look, and listen... 

I have been contacting my Senators and Representative (Federally) to invite them to an "Arthritis 101" meeting in DC the first week in December. Some of these folks are new to Congress, and we desperately need to "inform" them of just how important our medications, such as biologics, our not being delayed in getting a diagnosis, of getting treatment, and how critical it is for all patients with these illnesses have a fair chance to try and either go into remission, face less flares, not have to wake up every morning of your life, with stiffness, miserable fatigue, pain, and yet another day's fight to see who will when in the end... Will the "illness" take over all our spoon and then some, or will WE remain victor that day, and have spoons left over for the next day.

Life is so very, very, very SHORT!!! Many of us by the time we are about 25 years old, begin to realize that "forever" is not all that long... the 10 years, 15 years, 30 years... it all goes by too fast. We go from completely helpless as an infant, turn around and we are crawling, walking, and running. Turn around again, and we are driving a car, dating, and in college... one more turn and we are parents, raising our kids, and in the next turn they are grown, with kids of their own, and we have been out of high school for decades. You then begin to see "classmates" that are in the obituaries, or their parents are. We see the grey hair where the dark brown, blonde and red was. The wrinkles seem to come on over night. And within a "breath's space". we are as our parents were, feeble, not able to do, go, visit, travel and see the world through those young eyes. Our sight is blurry, our steps softer, and maybe not so sure, and you may even find yourself fighting with illnesses and what they cause, things you never would have dreamed they would happen just a few short years ago. 

I know I've thought back just 7 years ago. Never would I have dreamed I would lose all of my teeth, and need complete dentures. I didn't know I would have all of these implanted joints, many more that are deteriorating quickly, and may need a new implanted one also. Life has just gone by within the vast light and the vast dark, I stood in the gray in between and never gave a thought that I could not wear that pleather mini skirt, or my pleather pants again. I thought I would be in those 6 inch platform heels for many years to come. Little did I know that none of those would be true. That now I try to find shoes that are "pretty", yet they have to be half way comfortable. I can no longer wear some of those mini skirts, and tight tops... and I would never have expected to have a huge bulge our of my right side, where I have an implanted pain pump.  I never would have thought I would awaken to stiffness, pain, and sometimes so fatigued I just can't really do all I want to in a day. I find myself wandering through my own home, through my lists and lists, and wondering how I will do the laundry, vacuum, cook, clean, wash the car, change the sheets, get myself showered, get the pups fed, watered and taken care of, help my Mom with her things, and still need more time to do more things. I have a very difficult time "giving up" anything. Even though, just like here on my blog, or in my new book, I am writing, I HAVE NO CHOICE, I HAVE TO FOR GO something in order to have the time, the stamina, the brain power, to do what I NEED to do and what I WANT to do... and something will have to be put aside. If I had my way, it would be like it was in the late 90's. I could go to college full time at night, write, work full time, take care of the kids, house, yard, bills, cleaning, cooking, sewing, going out on the weekends, studying, and I just never stopped. I had the energy of an atom I guess.... I was a never ending ball of go, go, go, and that included exercising EVERY DAY, walking, go to aerobics, you name it... now if I get the laundry done, have enough time and energy to shower, you can bet before I can finish ONE task, I am exhausted and ready for the sofa instead.... and IT SUCKS...   

TO BE CONTINUED


People Taking Advantage of those that are Ill, Injured, and Life's Ridiculous Ways

Believe me everywhere I turn I am getting "chastised" for the accident. I am so sick of the "rich" and I am speaking of the "filthy rich" and the "government" pressing every nickel that we DO NOT have out of us. I had another incident this morning, that made my blood pressure rise 50%!!!!! Why the hell do they always want to take away from the sick, the people that already are living BELOW POVERTY LEVEL by 300%???? Ifaa Autoimmune Arthritis-Anthony you had better believe and you know how I am I WILL NOT stand around and allow them to just push us over the damned ledge and sink us like a damned wounded ship. I've had enough of being used, abused and taken advantage of. Even the business about this "new" doctor.... I can already tell he is a scam artist and one in the worst way. The very sad thing is, that HE GETS BY with what he does and is getting rich off of people's misfortune!!!! I can guarantee he loves seeing patients walk in that have been injured at work, or hurt in some kind of an accident of any kind. He "acts like" he is your best friend when all the while he has his fingers crammed in your pockets while he stabs you in the back. I don't care what anyone says, I can smell one of them, further than I can throw them... I have been more than once "used" even by the medical profession. The things I tell people sometimes, they just cannot fathom they happened, but they have. That entire ordeal about this stuff I went through due to the double vision, with that "specialist" in Dallas was no more than a freaking scam artist. He was literally running 50 to 80 PATIENTS A DAY through his office!!!! He had like 50 EMPLOYEES and took up an entire FLOOR OF A HUGE OFFICE BUILDING. Then he did a damned "surgical biopsy" on about every patient who came in. Plus he frigged up the nerve in the side of my head AND left a scar, which there should NOT have been one. Then to stand in that OR that morning, with me still on the operating table, and BLOCK out everyone to SHOUT, SCREAM, and THREATEN the nurse that was supposed to be taking care of me, it was literally insanity!!!!! If it had not been that so happened the anesthesiologists was still trying to awaken me, so he was with me. I would have been in that OR ALONE with that raving lunatic... and they even called security on him and he punched one of them in the face!!! So, did I sue??? Hell no... but I did report his butt to the Texas State Board of Doctors, and it went on for over a year... and the Board continued to update me, they even took my statement and I had to have it notarized... and they even asked me if I wanted I could have went to the hearing in Austin, but I was too ill at the time to make that trip. So, I am not one to just call out the hounds, and go for the throat when things happen... BUT I ALSO WON'T STAND AROUND AND BE STOMPED AND TREAD ON LIKE THIS EITHER... I just am so damned mad I could spit... I cannot fathom the audacity of some of this crap. And then people stand around and LIE to save their own skin. I've had 3 or 4 occasions in my life, I probably should have brought in the hounds, in other words, sued for what was wrong and unjust, BUT I DO NOT and still don't believe in doing something like that unless it is truly something like what is absolutely wrong.. if I walk into "Wendy's" and drink hot coffee and burn my mouth, well it is my own crap and not the fault of who served it, but when someone else is truly in the wrong, and they have forever altered not just the one person's life, BUT EVERYONE AROUND, mine, my Mom, his Mom, my family, friends, our marriage, MY HEALTH, then things need to be made "right", yet still we are being put through a meat grinder and ground up like WE did something wrong... that is what just burns me up... rather than feeling like the "victim" I feel like the "criminal".... sorry guys and gals, I've just had way, way, way MORE pressure and emotional drama, and mental drama, and physical drama than I can stand this week... I am sick and tired of feeling freaking abused. I am a person who believes for standing up for people. If I didn't then I would not be an activist, a voice out here in the nation, doing advocacy work, and being an Ambassador. I would not being writing letters to Congress, to the government, to those who represent us as people and giving them so much of my time, my brain power or what I have left of it, and all that I encompass. I do ALL of it because I believe in what is just and right. I believe all of us deserve a "qualify of life". I believe we deserve to live without these illnesses eating us alive every day, with pain, with stiffness, with fatigue beyond what anyone can believe, beyond the ability that most of us cannot even leave the house and go to the market, or shopping, or vacation that we don't suffer for days or weeks because of these illnesses. I WISHED I would have had the foresight to go into research or into the medical field in some way, before I got ill myself. I feel my "calling" has always been in the realms of medicine somewhere, yet I never really got that opportunity to live out that thing I felt should have been my life... a calling to help find a cure, medications, to help people feel better, or to be free of pain and suffering.... I had two other times that I should have "done something" ... and I didn't... the first was when I had the 4 wheeler accident... that was absolutely the fault of the manufacturer that the throttle stuck wide open and I had no "kill-switch" at the time, or no way to break it, once it stuck wide open. I was 26 years old. I lost most of my top lip, I lost a part of a front tooth, I was battered and bruised, and had to have two plastic surgeries. After that I was always and still am very self conscious over the scar on my top lip. I 've lived through that nightmare over and over again.. we should have went after the manufacturer of that damned thing, and at the time, just didn't really understand at 26 years old that I could have. I didn't die, and I was "wounded" which did take its toll on my "emotions" for a long time. For years I would hyperventilate when I got in the car. If I drove I was okay, but if someone else was driving I would have flash backs of the accident. The next time was in 2010 when the hospital ER almost sent me home, finally "admitted" me, and took out my gallbladder.... within 24 hours I was so ill, they thought I was going to die honestly. They rushed me to Dallas at Methodist, where I underwent I am not sure, at least 3 or 4 surgeries, for a "nick" in a bile duct. The "bile" and poison from my body was actually leaking into my abdomen, and into my blood stream... they went in 2 or 3 times to try and "fix" it... finally the 3rd or 4th time they did repair the place it was leaking into my abdomen and stopped the poison that was pouring into my body... but I had tubes running out of me for weeks and weeks. I came home with them still in... for several weeks. In all, I spent over 6 weeks in 2 hospitals, then had a heart attack the day I was supposed to come home from Methodist. I stayed another several days and had to go through all of those tests. Fortunately, my heart doctor said it was almost like what they call "broken heart syndrome".... all of the time I was ill, and many times feared I might die, took its toll on my heart, plus I gravely feared coming home because I was still so sick, I had not eaten one bite of food for 5 weeks!!!! They had something like 7 IV's going into me the entire time, and one of them was a special mixture of nutrients they gave me because I literally could not eat a bite of anything. I didn't even drink at all. The first thing I drank was some Coca-Cola a couple of days before I was to go home. From there I came home and had lost like 30 pounds, and I could not stand the smell of food at all. I went another couple of weeks living on drinking coke, and I didn't eat much of anything. Jim even brought home a load of "honey wheat" bread and I could not stand the smell of it, much less eat any... Anyway, come to find out that "NICK" in my bile duct happened when the surgeon took out my gallbladder!!!! LET'S JUST SAY HE WAS LET GO VERY QUICKLY, and very quietly. Even my own PCP has mentioned it since then on several occasions they felt I would not live, and at first they had no clue what was wrong with me. Even the issue of taking out my "gallbladder' may not have had anything to do with why I was ill... there was something very wrong, and the surgeon went for the gallbladder first, but no one has really ever came out and said why I got so gravely ill so fast, that I had to call 911 and be taken via ambulance to the hospital, and then why I was just totally "out of it" I was in so much severe pain, and so sick... then only to "seemingly" get better after the gallbladder came out, only to become almost gravely ill 24 hours later... it is a mystery that no one may ever solve and I should have racked the doctor over the coals on that one, because he DID NICK that bile duct... BUT at the time I was so terribly sick, no one thought about any of that... until months later after I got home, and very slowly got back on my feet... it was truly almost insanity.... so when I say I tell my stories and people are just thrown back by what has happened to me, they are all true, all happened, and now at times I may act like those things don't haunt me, but they do... my way of dealing with all of it, is to help others, be the writer that I am, blog, and try to stand up for those who are going through some of the same things or other things also... I realize even though I try NOT to think about it much, that my chances are much higher of passing away than some... I've had two heart attacks, I have RA and Lupus, osteoporosis, Sjogren's.... and so forth... so for all of those my chances weigh much more in the realms of not "making it" to a ripe old age, than some... all of us that suffer from these horrid autoimmune illnesses have a much graver risk than others.... Love you guys and gals... Rhia   

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Talk About News to Make You Shout! You must read this and be sure to go to all of the links!!!!


I was so blown over by this announcement from the Lupus Research Foundation I had to rub my eyes, blink and look again to make sure I saw what I saw Correctly!!! This is such phenomenal news I was just taken aback.

And further not only do we owe the NIH hats off to this incredible research opportunity, but everyone below along with all of the researchers individually, those folks that are on board for activism, Ambassadorship, Volunteers... everyone who tries their very best to stand up and say that what we have now as far as help for these illnesses are simply NOT acceptable, as the Arthritis Foundation puts it. Hats off to all that have been and will go back to the "Hill" in D.C. to open up and tell their stories, or the stories of those loved ones hit by the horrific illnesses. People like myself that try their best to live a "normal" life when there is never any sense of "normal" when you have a chronic illness/pain and especially when it comes to an autoimmune type of illness. I am so thrilled to put this on my blog and share it with my readers!!!! Be sure you go to ALL of the links and see what is being said about this incredible Undertaking... the FIRST EVER of ITS KIND to do something to stomp Lupus and RA, along with many other AI Illnesses into the ground.... Again I am just totally almost speechless.

AMP Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus:

The partners

http://www.arthritis.org/
Government

  • NIH
Industry

  • AbbVie
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Merck
  • Pfizer
  • Sanofi
  • Takeda
Non-Profit Organizations

  • Arthritis Foundation
  • Foundation for the NIH
  • Lupus Foundation of America
  • Lupus Research Institute/Alliance for Lupus Research
  • Rheumatology Research Foundation


http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2014/9_24.asp

 

 

 

http://www.rheumatology.org/ 

 

 

I will be posting more about this tomorrow and also more "Kudo's" to everyone participating om this historic event for RA and Lupus!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More on RA- Critical News when it comes to how it Systemically Effects the Body...

There are several great links, article and information that is critical to know about  RA and how it can Systemically Effect the Body. Many people think of "Rheumatoid Arthritis" as "arthritis", which is TOTALLY WRONG!  "RA:(Rheumatoid Arthritis) can effect just about every part of the body... starting at the joints sometimes. Yet, it can cause horrible fatigue, heart problems, liver and kidney problems, problems with the brain, with they eyes, with the ears... and so much more. That is why you see so many of us trying to "get the word out" and spread the news these are serious illnesses that when you delve into them, you find they can be "deadly". Lupus, which is another Autoimmune Arthritis,  can even be worse, damaging skin, bones, the heart, liver, the lungs, causing severe fatigue, brain fog, and leading to heart problems and stroke problems. Women and/or men with RA have a 50 percent chance HIGHER in have a heart attack or stroke.

When I saw these a moment ago, I wanted to post them. They go along with the WAAD14 and all of the information, research, and activist roles we are in with the IFAA, the Arthritis Foundation, WEGO  and many others out there trying to get better research that would lead to a earlier diagnosis, earlier treatment, less sign effects & catch these illness BEFORE they do GARVE Damage as they have on many of us.                          


http://www.medpagetoday.com/resource-center/rheumatoid-arthritis/expert-interview/a/44104


http://www.medpagetoday.com/resource-center/rheumatoid-arthritis/early-diagnosis/a/44107



http://www.medpagetoday.com/resource-center/rheumatoid-arthritis/



http://www.medpagetoday.com/resource-center/rheumatoid-arthritis/Infographic/i/38228?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2014-03-17&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyHeadlines&utm_source=WC&eun=g773630d0r&userid=773630&email=rhia@ravishingrhia.com&mu_id=5952786

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blogging My "Real" Life as an Autoimmune Arthritis "Victim"

Some May find my "Blog" a bit Different, so I want to give more of "me" to you... 



I realize that my blog may be a bit "rough around the edges" at times. I would much rather tell it like it is daily in my life. I prefer not to "sugar coat" daily living with autoimmune arthritis, chronic pain, and health issues that almost control my every waking minute!

So, rather than try to sit here, and find ways to give people a look at what myself and my family go through in reality. Doing that to me, is giving you, as another victim of these horrid illnesses a chance to know it is "okay" to be angry, upset, have bad days, say what you feel, not sugar coat your own reality, not have to try and hide the fact that your life is also just a mess at times because these illnesses overtake every step you make.

When you have a flare, nothing is "nice". Everything "sucks". Life is truly Hell! So, I could write about my medications, or find anything else to sit here and say, but that would not be what I need to give those who are following me a "false sense" of the days when you feel like you've been run over my a train! Times when you are on your sofa, or in bed, wishing you could have a break from pain, fatigue, shingles, mouth ulcers, rashes, stomach issues, kidney problems, medications that cause side effects, and this list goes on and on.

When these Autoimmune Diseases decide to enter your life, nothing, and I mean NOTHING is the same!!! You have to "adjust" your life in all ways. There are things you can't do sometimes. Like go out with the girls shopping, or meet the guys after work for a beer. Family get togethers, may find you smack middle in a horrible flare, or worn down from a new infusion, thus you feel guilty yet you feel like you will just have to sit this one out, (probably more like lay this one out). Your "normal" routine of life is completely turned upside down. Often you wake up with pain, and stiffness, that makes you have to take additional time to get up and get going. You find yourself slower at everything. It once took me about half an hour to get dressed to go somewhere. Now I better start at the very LEAST 2 hours ahead of time. Sometimes more than that, depending how I feel that day. You may not have the strength to do laundry, vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom, and make a fabulous dinner. More than likely if you get a couple of things done, and a meal on the table, that is a "good day". Shopping becomes a living nightmare. If you have a huge market or are going to a large store such as "Wally World" by the time you get in from the parking lot, you feel as if you walked a mile. Then if you are truly shopping with an entire list of things, that means "hours" of going through that humongous store!!! Then if no one is with you, that means taking that entire basket full to your vehicle, loading your purchase into your vehicle, and then trying to put a basket somewhere hoping one of their places for baskets is close!!! Plus, I bet many of you have this happen... I have a "disabled parking" plackard. My orthopedic surgeon wanted me to have one when I went through all of those knee replacements, then just all of the other illnesses, shoulder replacement, neck surgery... so I have one.
If you are not absolutely limping, have a crutch, or in some way look "disabled" boy are there the "looks" that you get from others!!! Thus the business about you do not look "disabled" or sick! Now I am one that uses mine sometimes, and at other times I park in a regular spot. If I am alone, and I am there to buy a large bill of groceries, or I am in a flare, not well, weather truly bad, I use mine. But if my husband's with me, or I am feeling okay etc... and especially if there is only one left, then I just ry to park in a normal spot so someone else can use it.

There are so many ways our lives are different. Some of those differences are just almost too difficult to deal with. Vacations you may miss, your hobbies that you used to love. I have a dear friend who loves sports. She used to play baseball, softball, and loved so many sports, yet RA has damaged her wrist and hand, thus that ended her ever playing ball, or other sports she so loves again. I hear story after story. For me, things such as running, snow skiing, mowing my lawn and doing yard work is out of the question. Bless my neighbors heart, he sees I've bought plants, or need to weed the flower beds, or mow, and he insists on doing all of it, and never wants to take a dime for helping. But I know he and his wife and two kids have a difficult time making ends meet, so I always give him money and tell him it is "for the kids"... LOL Then he will take it. :)

Sometimes we see family and friends all but disappear from our lives. It could be for several reasons. One might be there are those that just don't do well around someone who is "chronically" ill. Not in a bad way, but they can't take watching you in pain and suffering. So, they tend to not be around as much as they may have been. Others are just "busy". Since you have "slowed" down, and they are still in that "run, run run" mode, they don't want to be slowed down due to your illness. It sounds horrible but I know it's true. Others just fear the entire ordeal. Either they "fear" it is contagious (sounds ridiculous, but I had someone ask me if it was), or they fear it will cause them to be in a "mental anguish" if they see you in a state of illness. Some are in disbelief that you are that sick. Some family and friends are in "denial". They feel you are making all of it up. They feel it is just like, okay so your knees hurt, or your wrists hurt, well others have "arthritis" & they are up and doing fine. Some think you are a hypochondriac. And that if you would just stop all of those "harmful medications" and take vitamins, eat "right, exercise,  you would "feel better". Or there are those that every thing they see online or on the Television they think it is what you need! My Mom is bad about that? She doesn't sleep, so she watches those stupid "info-mericals" all night. Then when I go over to her house, she has all of these names of rubs, pills, etc. that should "help me". So, I have to come home, get online, prove to her the stuff is pure "quackery" and let her know none of it will help me, nor anyone else! Bless her heart, she is still in that "zone" due to her age, that every thing she sees, hears, reads, she totally thinks it is the truth! She gets phone calls from sales telemarketers constantly. She used to listen to them6, and believe every word they said. I had to put a "no solicitors" sign on her front door. Again she was constantly bombarded with people trying to "pave her driveway", or "insurance her water pipes", or "save her money on her Electric bill".

Speaking of my Mom. I am here to help her. I am an only child, thus I feel it is my responsibility since my Dad passed away in 2005 from complications of a knee replacement. She was and still is in many ways completely clueless about the world. Even small things like using a "debit" card, or putting gas in her car, calling in a prescription refill & putting it in the "automated system". She would not even learn how to use a DVD player we bought her. Dad did it all. Bill paying, handling money and investments, from putting gas in the car, to mowing the lawn, or taking care of just about any and everything. Which was great, BUT he NEVER taught Mom how to do any of it!!! So, when he passed away, it was total chaos here. We did move here, from Seattle, so we both would be close enough to help her. Of course I was already in need of several surgeries, so my first couple of years here were spent in the operating room and recovering. I helped her until I finally got my total disability rewarded, then it I could finally get to the doctors I needed to get to. At the time though I had not gotten the "autoimmune arthritis" diagnosis. It became apparent as the orthopedic surgeon was in my knees, shoulders, and so forth that this was not some regular "osteoarthritis", there was much more there in damage than it could have done so quickly and so early in my life. It was not long after a couple of surgeries on my shoulder and both knees, that my PCP put it all together and diagnosed the "autoimmune arthritic" illnesses. I began to have all types of symptoms.

Back to Mom now that I've given you a bit of "history" about her. So, I also have to do many things for her. It is not usually a huge issue, but there are days, or even weeks that I am busy enough, or have a flare, that trying to take care of "me", and then trying to take care of the house, and then all of her things going on, becomes almost overwhelming. You would not believe the mess that I had to go through with her insurance and the surgery center to get her surgery bill paid correctly! I spent over 6 months trying to get the to "code" the surgery correctly so the insurance would pay. I was treated like trash, I was spoken to like I was an idiot, I was "lied" to, because for 3 months I was told the "supervisor" had to handle it, and she was "out" with surgery. It was all a bunch of bull. I even went out there face to face and they basically said I was wrong, and I needed to just leave. That was in front of all the people in the waiting area! Well, I knew that the orthopedic surgeon did have his own personal funds in the center. Several of our doctors got together and opened it, with another company's help. So. I went to the "big boys". I wrote a letter explaining ALL of it. I had names, dates, what they said, etc. and I told it all. I took it to my doctor's office. About 2 days later, not only did I get a call from my doctor, I got a call from the head gentleman over the entire center, with a HUGE apology!!!!! They were "grafling" at my feet, trying to make amends for the stupidity and ignorance of their "staff" the worked with filing insurance claims. Plus not only was Mom one of the patients that had the same insurance and they had tried to say they owed money that they didn't owe either. The point of me talking about this, IS because all of that took my time up, and lots of it. Even when I was home, ill and certainly not feeling like talking to those "morons", I did it, because it had to be done.

I realize that I certainly not the ONLY HUMAN on this Earth with some type of chronic illness/pain. I also have come to a real eye opener. That is we have a tremendous amount of our population all over the WORLD suffering from Autoimmune Arthritic Diseases!!! And in bringing those facts into the entire realm of this blog post, they also are subject to losing friends, relatives, not having a care taker, or they are a "care taker" for a family member or even possibly a close friend!

So, how do we "balance" the situations? We NEVER know when a flare or symptoms are going to pop up. We may feel great in the morning and have shingles, fatigue, pain, or any number of problems within hours. So, it is almost impossible to try and "estimate" how much or how little you will have the "physical" ability to do. The ONLY way I can do things, is try to make arrangements ahead of time. But, if somethings happens to me, or I am ill, I try to have an "alternative" plan ready. Fortunately, up until about 6 weeks ago, my husband can "step in" and take Mom to the doctor, or run an errand, or whatever she might need, he can handle it.

Of course as "Rhia's Law" might have it, my husband has been in terrible pain. Between going to a clinic and having a MRI, that shows the pain in his shoulder is coming from his neck. Well, I can certainly relate. Same Story with my last surgery. Almost my entire cervical spine was a mess. I had a 4 level discectomy, fusion and 2 replacement discs. So, I totally understand his situation. But, now my "caretaker" is out of pocket. I've had to basically "buck up" and pull not only My "Weight", but HIS and MOM'S also. Now he is in bed with some type of horrible flu, bronchitis or something. It happened suddenly night before last, and I pray I don't get it. I've disinfected everything in this house 10 times! And I am staying as far away as I can. I fear if I catch what he has, I'll be in the hospital with my immune system as it is. I've already been exposed to more than I care to think about having to be at clinics several times with my husband and Mom.

So, WE (WE - as in ALL of US with AUTOIMMUNE ARTHRITIC DISEASES) can and do have a great many "mountains" to climb. We also know about those deep valley's. They can take you in so quickly and put you right down at the foot of the mountain you just climbed up. Of course we also have "rewards" in the sense of the term when it comes to "us", "we" when the time comes for us to assist those like ourselves into a direction of wellness!!! When we use our voices, social media, writing, blogging, sharing, volunteering; ALL of those things are divine intervention that shall lead to better and quicker diagnosis, much more aggressive and earlier treatments, that then can HALT some or much of the damage these diseases do!!! It is "too late" for me. I have so much "damage" that even though we are trying to aggressively work on it, I already have most of my joints either replaced, and the others will probably have to be, hopefully not, but it is a good possibility I face that in my future.

BUT, until the moment I can no longer type (so I will find a program I can speak into and it will type for me), my heart, my soul, and my mind is set on the GOAL of HELPING others! Standing up with other like minded wonderful people that also share in my heart's goal!!! Through our struggle, and trepidations. we have found STRENGTH today and we stand United in our goals to change the face of Autoimmune Arthritis Diseases forever!

So, this is much of "my life"... day to day... and now the part here at the last is the very best. It is my new opportunity I've found with the IFAA, as an Active Volunteer. I've also been able to be able to give my own story to WEGO when I was invited to be on a panel. My blogging shall also continue to be not only here but on the IFAA's blog site. And with the upcoming WAAD14!!!! there shall be AMAZING THINGS FOR EVERYONE TO GET INTO THE Online CONVENTION in early 2014!!! There will be more upcoming information as we get closer to it! So, I'll post more when I know details... Take care of YOU!!!! Then you can help others....











Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday "Lost" Spirit & The Apparent Lack Of Giving of Self To Find Your Light

Taking The "Money" Out of the Holidays to find the true Reasons for This Wondrous Season




I usually have posted my "annual Christmas letter" by now. I decided this year to wait. I was not sure I even wanted to post it here and on my blog. I have first hand watched so many people that are dear to me, both "right here" and those that are my "FB Family", go through so much pain, suffering, fear, shock, and dreadful things especially within their health, that I find it very difficult to try and make this holiday season "Happy" and feel "Blessed". How do you feel "blessed" when it is like the entire universe has fallen in on you, and that black hole that the universe came from, has now swallowed you up in it, and pulled everything in on top of you??? I know, I know... Faith!!! I've lived in the footsteps of "faith", "hope", & trying to just "be". I have tried my best to "take all the bad" and try to see that positive side that is supposed to come from the resonating facts that it seems nothing lately is very good. In fact if anything, there is just too much "bad". I managed to write my Christmas Letter this year and I did put it in the Xmas cards I sent out. But, even as positive as I tried to be, I feel the ones who read it, will think I want them to "feel sorry" for us, or think I am griping and moaning. Or they will think "Wow" what a mess? I am holding on by my "fingertips" to the rope of faith that always in the past, has "sustained" me, no matter how bad things got. In my past life, things at one time or the other probably have been "worse" in many ways. But, as far as health wise, for myself, my family, and so many of you, it cannot get much worse! I hear it, I see it, I read it daily, everywhere you turn, people are hurting. I know in other ways we hurt also, but I am speaking more about the "physical" pain so many of us are dealing with. From all of the drama around autoimmune diseases, which seem to be running rampant in our world, to those I know that are so dear to me battling cancer, several with diabetes that have now had to begin having dialysis due to kidney failure. These are people in the prime of life! Many my age, and like myself, they are seriously ill in one way or the other. Yesterday, I open our tiny daily paper, and TWO guys 19 YEARS old, were in the "Obituary" column! I was just flabbergasted to say the least! I could not believe my eyes. And what makes it worse, it has been that way now for months. It seems like each day, I open our "Daily Paper" there are people who are in there early 50's and some much younger that are passing away! I realize Ellis County is not tiny, but it certainly is not some huge county with many large cities in it! We have no "cities", but more like towns. Even our county seat, Waxahachie, is not a huge city by any means. So, how can so many people, at such a young age, in a smaller community like this, be so very ill?? It seems like insanity! I had a talk with Jim after seeing the "evening news" yesterday, that all we hear on the news or read, is "bad". Nothing "good" is ever broadcasted. As we talked about it, he said it is because "good news" does NOT sell! In other words, our news is full of the "bad" because that is what brings readers and watchers in! How sad is that? As I began to repute his statement, I began to wonder if what he said is really true? Have we become a society so complacent, so weary, so looking for the dramatic and the shocking, that "good news" does not sell? I have to think he is probably quite right. Look around. Even with the "spirit" of what this season is all about... greed, money, more about "how much" you buy and give for gifts, how "pretty" your tree or decor is, how many gifts under the tree, how many parties you attend, with the latest dress and accessories on... along with how many toys the kids get, how much you spend on your kids, getting them the "latest and best" and most wanted toys on the market, not sparing what you spend at all. I've watched my "debit" card purchases lately be so slow in going through the system. I thought about it, and it is because SO MANY people are going DEEP into Debt, for the New Year that is not even here yet! Those credit card limits are moving to the max fast for many, because rather than being about the "pure" meaning of this holiday, the monetary portion has become number one! The part about the birth of Christ, and what His journey on this earth meant, until the day His "mortal" life was taken, so He could stand in the place of us for all of our many transgressions. I know that the "season of giving", pretty lights, and festive decor are a part of the celebration of His birth. But, we have become totally wrapped up in buying, spending, and thinking about the material things, that the spiritual has been thrown out the window, bath water, bucket, baby and all... as the old saying goes... Rather than getting "better", it seems to just get worse every year. I've witnessed it here my hometown for weeks!!! No matter WHEN I go to the market, or any store in town, no matter the time, the day, everyone is packed like sardines in the stores!!! I have to wonder how people are shopping constantly??? In the middle of the week during the early morning, and early afternoons, the stores are full! I told Jim it appears that people just stay in town, and it is vicious circle... they just drive and shop from one store to the other and must never go home! It sounds like a joke, but heck how can people afford to be in stores constantly??? I try MY BEST to STAY away from shopping!!! The longer I can remain at home, out of all the stores, the less money I am throwing out the window. I've found that "stuff" that I used to think was so necessary, I have come to not need nor miss at all. So, when I began to "make do" with what I have at home, I dramatically lowered our "cost of living" each month. Yet, even with all of the coupons, sales, free stuff, stock piling, and shopping as wisely as possible with always a list that I try my best to never swerve off of, we are basically in the hole monetarily like everyone else. Between the two of us, just the medical bills have been ridiculous the past month or two. Jim has no insurance, so when you are a "cash pay" patient, it does not take long for the "cash" to run out! And we have just about "cash paid" ourselves to be considered in the poor house. I am rambling on. I so wanted this to be about the "sunny" and positive light of the season. But, when every day you run into those that have the same horror stories in their own lives, it makes it difficult to find the "light" in that black hole of darkness. I still "stand" on my rock of faith. But, at times it feels like the waters of life have "broken" down that foundation some. I lately, have not felt as strong and sturdy on my faith's foundation as I usually do. Maybe all of us feel this way, but just don't want to admit it... So, call me a scrooge... or think I am crazy, maybe feel like I am giving myself a "pity party", but no this is not about "me" but about the "droves" of us all around, everywhere I look... I DO WISH YOU a Better Day, and beautiful warmth of family, friends, food, peace, understanding, good health & most of all love during this holiday season. I also pray with all my heart, we each find "our" foundation sturdy once again... As I try to cast my burdens off my shoulders, and give them over to my Higher Power, I pray we are all healed, mind, body, heart and soul.... Merry Christmas!!! Rhia





Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanks for, A Few Thoughts, & To Your and Yours....

I'm just "stringing" a couple of posts together from FB right now. As you shall see below fingers crossed my new computer is coming today. But, as you know that is an ALL DAY affair setting it up, getting my desk back in order, transferring my files onto it from the external drive and hoping I have not lost anything.... So, I shall post a couple of things I wrote in FB the past two days, and in the morning I hope to be ready to "shine" and "scream"... well my computer to "scream" with speed, LOL, not me!!!!

So here are the posts, and I wish you a wondrous holiday... be safe and hopefully as I said in one of these "flare and as pain-free" as possible... Rhia



I just thought of one thing that I was reminded of with it being Thanksgiving Week! Some of us will be with family, friends, some home with our pets. Some of us will be right here with out online friends and family. I am Thankful for the fact that I am so far NOT lying in the hospital as I was when I was 15. I spend 7 days during Thanksgiving holidays in High School having my right knee completely cut open and the meniscus taken out. I was in traction with my leg in a huge heavy cast that was from my bed as far as it could come up in my leg to my toes. I was in that thing 3 MONTHS! Then spend a very long time getting my muscles back to where they did not look like toothpicks. So, that day, my Dad, bless his soul, came to Dallas, and forgo his turkey dinner with Mom and all the family so I wouldn't be alone while I ate mine from that hospital bed. Right now as that memory floods over me, that was THE BEST Thanksgiving of my life! And right now I miss my Dad more than anyone could ever know. He would be 91 if he were still here with us.... May all of you find that one thing you are so Thankful for.... Be Blessed, Be Safe, and Know you are LOVED! 


I've had a couple of really BUMMED days! My computer that was supposed to be here yesterday didn't make it. FEDX had not updated anything on their site until later yesterday evening. So, all day I had no clue even where it was in the delivery. It left Sacramento on Friday, and after that all it said was it was to be delivered on the 26th. I am already SO aggravated with this old laptop. I just can't do much of anything on it. It is SO SLOW, it is worse that "dial up" days I think! So, that had really thrown my schedule off. I wanted to get Thanksgiving "Cards" online out, but I have all of my cards for Xmas to make out. Plus I have NOT even BEGAN my annual Christmas Letter. I have been sending a letter in with out Xmas cards now for years. I made it a tradition a long time ago. I don't believe I've missed very many.  But I don't really even have any "software" on this old thing to do it on. We wiped this drive fairly clean and began using this computer for our music. We had Garage Band on it, and did our clips, and all of our recording and so forth on here. Then Jim can bring it in and send it to his computer where he can actually put it all together for a song. So, things like "pages"(which is like Word) and so on have been off of here for a long time. And the music files have made it very slow, but we don't want to lose any of those. Thus, we cleaned everything off we could, and set this one up temporarily for me until mine can get here. FINALLY fairly late in the evening, yesterday, FEDEX, updated their website. My computer is in HUTCHINS!!!! (YEAH!!!) So, that means it is just down the "street" from me well almost, but it has arrived at the local hub and should be out for delivery TODAY!!!! Thank Goodness! I got up yesterday and was just not about to sit at this thing and be able to not do a thing productive! So, I made my "annual" fruitcake, did some cleaning, and watched some Xmas movies last night with my two puppies... Now if the computer gets here today, then that means all day getting it set up, my desk back in order and things have way back to whatever normal is around here. My thoughts and prayers are with ALL of YOU! 

 Please be safe! I realize many may be traveling or have family traveling and weather is very bad in many places around the nation. Enjoy family and friends, have a very warm, loving and hopefully flare and pain free as much as possible holiday! And Eat a little bit of everything!!!!! We are taking Mom over to Waxahachie tomorrow to a huge buffet over there for dinner (more like brunch).  So we don't have far to travel and right now our weather as far as traveling right here is good. May all of you be blessed and overflowing with all of the things we should be thankful of. Later in the day, whenever FEDEX delivers my new computer, (I think I am still in shock) LOL!!! I'll probably be away for a bit while we set it up. But I will be "screaming" with speed when the new one is here and ready!!! WOOOOHOOOO!! I can finally catch up hopefully! 



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