Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do you think my kids are a bit religious?

This afternoon, Sebastian and Vibiana were organizing themselves for playing house. I hear discussion on Vibiana being the sister and Sebastian being the dad. Then, I hear Sebastian say that Ari (the dog) can be Jesus.

At first, I am more than a bit horrified that they felt the dog was a suitable Jesus.

Then I decided instead that it was pretty great that they felt the need to include Jesus in their pretend home.

Then I peek around the corner and see the dog passed out asleep. Sebastian says, "Ari will make a great statue!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


"Only the stupid are obstinate: the very stupid are very obstinate."
- St. Josemaria, The Furrow #274

Though I have been doing my best not to be stupid, I fear that instead I have, in part, been very stupid.

I have been in the midst of one of my worst RA flares since early Saturday, although looking back, it probably really started around Ash Wednesday. On Saturday morning my pain was bad so I took some pain meds and, deciding this really was a flare, increased my dreaded prednisone. Then I felt a bit better and decided to do housework. I had been planning on getting this housework done all week, and finally I was home to do it so I was going to do it. I swept, mopped, and even vacuumed. Obviously, this was a mistake.

Sunday, I could not get out of bed with severe pain. I needed my cane to walk, and every step was exruciating. Jason had to go down to the Cathedral in LA and Darian had a birthday party to go to. I sent them on their way and stayed home with the three younger kids. Jason offered to stay home and my friend who was taking Darian to the party offered to take all the kids, but I refused both. Because, of course, I CAN DO IT!

By Sunday evening, everything hurts. Every part of my body aches, every joint is painful to move (and swollen) and the costochondritis makes it hard to breathe. My frustration is increasing with every moment - I had things I wanted to get done this weekend and I hadn't accomplished any of them! All I had been able to do was sit around. Jason came home with Darian and an admonishment from my friend that she WAS going to help me this week. So, with much difficulty, I gave in. I made arrangements for Jason to drop the school kids at her house early in the morning with plans for her to also take them home with her and then bring them to Jason at the evening mass. The little ones and I would stay home and take it easy. In my mind, I am thinking that by Monday afternoon, the prednisone would be working and I will be feeling better.

Long story short, today is Wednesday and I am still not feeling great. I am still using my cane, although each step doesn't bring the intense pain I was having. I am so resistant to asking for help, but, thankfully, help has been forced upon me. Jason took the week off of work to stay home with me and my friend Suzanne is helping with the school kids. I am always so stubborn about A) recognizing the beginnings of a flare and therefore starting meds soon enough, especially pain meds and B) asking for help. I always want to do it all. I get so frustrated at not being able to do simple things - laundry, dishes, make beds, cook meals. This flare has helped me realize that not only can I not do this alone, but I need to not hesitate to admit when my body is failing me. It will happen. It will continue to happen. Instead of cursing the disease, I need to change my reaction to the disease. The disease is what it is. It's my actions that will either make it a miserable experience or a fruitful one.

"When our vision is clouded, when our eyes have lost their clarity, we need to go to the light. And Jesus Christ has told us that he is the Light of the world and that he has come to heal the sick.
That is why your weaknesses and your falls - when God allows them - should not separate you from Christ, but rather draw you closer to him."
- St. Josemaria, The Forge #158

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Feeling a bit tired?

One of the most debilitating of my RA complications is fatigue. It can sometimes be very frustrating when most people don't understand what fatigue is and how it differs from simply feeling tired due to lack of sleep. One of my Facebook RA friends found this article and I strongly encourage everyone to read it.

Mastering the Impact of Fatigue

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brace yourself

for another bout of my whining.

For the last few days, I have been having chest pain. Not quite like a heart attack (although I can't say for sure since I have never had a heart attack) but more like a "bone" pain in my sternum/rib area. It is mostly a dull ache, unless I sneeze, cough, or breathe deep, in which case it is a painful stabbing sensation. I have quite a few online "friends" from the Rheumatoid Arthritis groups who have had similar symptoms, so I reached out to them and tentatively self-diagnosed costochondritis - inflammation in the cartilage between the ribs and sternum.

Today, I spoke to my rheumatologist on the phone and he confirmed my diagnosis. The usual course of treatment is high doses of steroid (I am already on a low dose and hate it) and rest (haha!) but he agreed that I could just leave it untreated for the time being as long as the pain is tolerable and the symptoms don't get worse. At this point, it is uncomfortable, but I really really don't want to increase my prednisone (steroid). The prednisone tends to make me hungry for sweets (not good for Lent), upsets my stomach, and makes me really moody (yes, more moody than normal). I will go see my doc in two weeks and we will re-evaluate the situation then. If I haven't improved then he will put me on a high dose of the prednisone for a few weeks. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that.

In the meantime, I will be avoiding all strenuous activity and just relax. Yeah, right.