Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Don't Allow Your Defects To Define You

Years ago I saw a little sign at a craft fair that said, "Don't allow your defects to define you."  It's a good attitude to live by.

My Green Vermont is one of my favorite blogs.  I enjoy Lali's writing and look forward to her posts. The writer has chronic fatigue syndrome, something she rarely mentions.  CFS can be overwhelmingly disabling when it strikes, and as with most auto-immune disorders, it can knock Lali flat on her back.  She never knows when it will attack; it may sap every ounce of strength she has this afternoon, it could lay low until the morning of her next hair appointment, or it may never ever bother Lali again.

Rheumatoid arthritis has erratic timing like CFS.  RA has interrupted my health for most of my childhood and my entire adult life.  Who could count the thousands of medications and treatments I've endured?  Damaged hands and feet always hurt and there's always some mild to moderate pain that settles in a different place(s) every single day of my life.  I go and do and stand up straight and smile and my days are happy and fulfilling.  It is important my pace myself, avoid stress and get plenty of rest, or I'll pay for overdoing things the next day.  The resulting flare can be a day or weeks or years of intense pain for me.  Healthy people should all read the Spoon Theory to understand this.  These are the good times and I try to make hay while the sun shines.

The Spoon Theory writer talks about the many energy saving choices that she has to make every day that normal people take for granted.  In addition to the regular discomforts, my wrists and shoulder hurt today.  Here are a few of my pain saving choices I had to make just getting ready this morning:  Lift (ouch) the washcloths until I reached a lightweight one because wet washcloths are heavy.  Chose a smaller towel for same reason.  Needed both hands to turn on the shower.  T-shirts don't have buttons.  Opened moisturizer and the toothpaste with my teeth.  Used my toothbrush with the fat handle and, because faucets are really hard for me to turn on and off, I wastefully left the water running while brushing.  Pony-tailed my hair instead of styling it. I am so blessed that my husband makes the bed every morning.  To save my wrist from an awkward angle, I used the speaker phone to call Mark and thank him.  Gosh, it sounds like I have the suckiest life on earth!  The reality of it all is, I'm so used to compensating, I do this stuff without thinking.  I actually had to sit here and walk myself through my morning to recall the whats and whys of it all.

Each RA flare varies in intensity and can occur regardless of how stress free and well-paced my life might be, however overdoing it and stress are pretty much a pain guarantee.  When arthritis is unbearable, I lay low and work on being comfortable.  Sometimes I can't even think of how and somebody (thank you Patty, many times over) will show up and hand me the right meds or a blanket or whatever.  Of course nobody wants to be sick, but a bad arthritis flare doesn't destroy my being, because I know the sun will come out sooner or later. (Insert barfy Annie song here.)

Lali said she writes less when CFS takes over, and doesn't post in Twitter because, "everybody knows that birds don't tweet when they're feeling sad."  How awful for her.  I feel bad on a daily basis, some days worse than most, but very rarely do I feel sad.

Last week's Apopka Chief had had an article about a community garden and I cannot wait to be a part of this!  16-by-4 foot raised beds are available for $20 a year.  I love growing things, but the deer and bears and other critter won't leave my back yard farming attempts alone.  There are rules, and one is, if I don't start the bed within 45 days, I will lose my deposit.  I feel pretty good today and will hurry to the courthouse and seal the deal, then go to Hall's Feed & Seed to start planning.  Oh goodie!!  This is one example of how I will make hay while the sun shines today.

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