LiveLoveLaughRA

Wow it’s been awhile. I feel like time moves so fast but seems so slow at the same time. This semester is coming to an end and fast approaching as with all Fall semesters are the many finals to study for, papers to write, holidays to consider, shopping for gifts, planning travel, actually traveling and trying to please family and friends without looking ungrateful, rude and selfish. I’m try to be none of those things but this darn RA sneaks up on me and sometimes just gets the best of me.
Well anyways, the whirlwind of this time of year makes me really feel what I have up against me…RA/fibro/cfs/etc. I am counting down the days until this semester is over leaving me with (I hope) only one semester left (yay!). However last week I saw a dermatologist and was told I have the “best” type of skin cancer (pending the biopsy results coming any day now). This news comes while sitting in a crowded, stuffy Drs office after working all day and dealing with a terribly busy day at work and learning (at that very same moment) that a good friend just miscarried that morning. She was so excited, her first pregnancy! I was excited for her and her husband an even felt myself getting a little “baby-fever” as well. That day was draining. There were so many other details I won’t bore you with or care to relive. Have you ever had one of those days…no, one of those weeks everything seems to work against you? That was last week for me. But thanksgiving was apart of that week bringing some family and friends together making me pull myself out of that slump and push forward. As I am seemingly reminded of often, life waits for no one, no matter how fast or slow it seems to go by.

My first night of classes for my last fall semester. Did that make sense? I don’t know but can you tell I’m excited to get this degree done with??? Honestly I really really really loved undergraduate school. Had a blast! Graduate school?? Not so much. I don’t know if it’s the type of degree (MSW…I choose this path obvi) or what, but I am just not into it. My undergrad is in Psychology so the learning is along the same line but I just don’t EVER look forward to coming to school. Maybe because I’m a little older…a little “wiser” now than I was then? Maybe.

Regardless…the end is in sight. Kind of. I will be more excited to start the Spring semester in January because that will be my LAST semester (well…it better be!). I’m doing the full-time thing again this semester but it hopefully won’t be as grueling as this past summer semester. I only have classes 6p-9p on Tuesday nights and 6p-10:10p on Thursday nights…and of course that nagging internship class. Luckily I am allowed to do it at my current job so that should knock out a ton of stress due to travel time.

Gosh. I feel like I’ve been complaining this whole time. I don’t mean to be. I feel blessed to be able to go and complete a Master’s degree. There are so many people who cannot due to illness and/or financial reasons. I may be exhausted and broke because of this degree but I am doing it and I will be so proud once it’s complete. Family and friends call me “crazy,” “amazing,” “super-smart,” “a nut-case” for working and going to school full-time while living with RA and all my other illnesses…including chroinc fatigue. I swear if I don’t sleep for a week straight after graduation this May I might believe them.

In other news…I’m like 99% sure I’m hiring a part-time wedding planner. I just can’t be stressed on the day of the wedding so I would prefer to hire someone to make sure everything runs smoothly that day. Again, I have been called crazy for doing this but the price is honestly worth the peace of mind.

Happy September!

I’m getting married in one year from today!  8.18.12 I can’t believe we actually set a date. I mean after dating for 6 1/2 years and being engaged for the past 5 years I think it’s about time. I am looking forward to it but I just hate being the center of attention. The next year is going to be crazy! Graduating from grad school in May 2012 and planning this wedding…I just hope I have it in me to do my best in all I need to get done.

I have been feeling pretty fine the past couple of days. I mean, the typical aches and pains and fatigue but I took some great yoga classes in the beginning of this week and felt great. I felt sore but in a GOOD way. Exercise is good its just really hard for me to get going.

Taking it one day at a time.

I did it! I did it! I finished my summer classes…full-time summer classes while working a full time job. Ok, I know it doesn’t sound like much but for me it is. I apologize to my fiance and co-workers, family and friends. I was a little miserable (little being an understatement of course) and not so easy to be around the past 10+ weeks. But here it is: my summer…already been to a few yoga classes, some walks, shopping and a whole lotta catching up on my DVR!

Is it weird that with all this new found “time” (and by time I mean the about 4 hours I have after work before I go to bed) I feel lazy? I don’t want to be lazy, but after working in my not so un-stressful job all I want to do is SLEEP, NAP, and SIT ON THE COUCH. Bad bad bad. I know. I force myself to yoga a couple of evenings. But when I don’t have a class to go to I feel like I want to suck up all my free time and not do a damn thing. Here in lies the reason I lose my closer friends, because I just don’t have the energy to say “hey, lets grab dinner after work” or to sit on the phone yapping all night when I could very well be watching crappy reality TV.

That makes it sound like I don’t value my friends and interpersonal relationships…which couldn’t be further from the truth. But, and this seems like a reoccurring theme in my posts, I seriously don’t have the energy and talking on the phone physically hurts me. Literally. It hurts. I don’t know why but it does.

Ok, enough. I have about 3 weeks left of my LAST summer vacation. And good things are planned! Trip to CT to visit my mom this week, friends birthday party in the city one weekend, a visit from some friends from CT another weekend and some day trip activities on some other days! And, we just bought BIKES!!! Yippie! I got a super cute cruiser that hopefully continues to be feel as comfortable as when I tested it out in the store. This actually excites me the most. I feel like a kid on christmas again! The bikes were ordered online and should be here in a few days. I can’t wait to get on it and just cruise around!!

The R Wines 2007 Bitch Grenache

Image via Wikipedia

Okay. Today wasn’t too bad, relatively speaking. I mean it’s not over yet, still waiting on class to start for this evening, but beside some RLS symptoms, aches in my hips, knees and ankles, I didn’t have any breakdowns.

People at my job tend to get on my nerves a lot lately, but I have been empowering myself to not think about their negativity, off-beat comments and overall drama and to just think about positive things. And ya know what? It has been working. I don’t stress about it, I let things go and move on. Due to the RA and many other chronic illnesses and symptoms I have throughout my days and life, I have noticed that I end up being a doormat for most people’s’ harsh and just down-right mean antics. I have had to fight through people thinking I am a snotty brat because I happen to walk around with what appears to be a stick up my behind. However, I learned a few years ago that I do in fact walk around like that BUT it’s not because I do have that stick lodged up there it’s because I have constant joint stiffness, RA symptoms, scoliosis and chronic pain and fatigue. Frankly, I’m lucky that I’m walking around any which way (since my parents were told that I would be in a wheelchair by age 6).

I’ve recently learned (mostly the hard way) that I can’t hold normal friendships. I mean, this has been true my whole life but I convinced myself that it was just “them” and not me. unfortunately, like most people with chronic INVISIBLE illnesses I look normal upon the first meeting and because in my head I passed that initial meeting, I feel the need to continue trying to act normal. It’s not that I don’t tell me I have RA, it’s just not something that needs to be stated upon initial (usually painful) handshake.

Anyway, point! I have been working at my current job for 4 1/2 years (ugh) and the place really does have excellent employee retention, therefore these people I share my 40 hours a week with have known me for that long. You’d think they’d all know about the RA, I mean I do talk about, it has been of conflict at one point (that’s another story), I do take time off for Dr’s appts and infusions…but yet of the 18 other individuals I see daily (and some after work to hang out) not all of them know or even seem to understand and care that I am in constant pain and exhausted 99.9% of the time.

Doormat. Sure, I do what I can to stay up on office gossip and take time for chit-chat and regular banter, but lately I just can’t do it and my exhaustion and symptomatic body comes across as me being a snotty, stick-up her bum, b-i-t-c-h. I don’t have the energy to defend myself anymore so I let it fly. I just let people talk behind my back, say how socially awkward I can be at times or how royally bitchy I am because I know the truth and hope one day they understand.

Believe me, I am not using RA as a “free pass” to act a fool and actually be a snot but that seems to be what is thought. And here, again is where forcing myself to think positively works. I smile (usually on the inside because my jaw hurts) and think that things can change in the future and for right now, I have a man who loves me, understanding and empowering family members and some good friends that do accept me…stick up the booty and all. Really? Can you ask for much more…well beside a cure for these crappy chronic illnesses?

Boy oh boy! What a summer it has been. I started this blog a few months ago with all intentions of entering something at least once a week, if not more so (I know, that’s what every new blogger says). But this summer has proved to be quite trying for me. I mentioned before that I enrolled to take full-time classes for the entire summer semester (10+ weeks) while continuing to work full-time…and plan a wedding (Save the Date 8/18/12!!) and well, ya know, try to stay as healthy as possible with RA, CFS, fibro, scoliosis….

Here I am half way thru week 9 of the semester. I try not to think about it because I honestly don’t have an answer as to how I made it thus far. I apologize to those close to me, especially my fiance because these 9 weeks have brought out my not-so-pretty side. I really only cried about twice, mostly because I don’t have the energy to breathe let alone actually create tears and cry them out!

I like to hope that it will be worth it in the end, by maybe getting a great job with less hours, less travel and less stress…but I think I choose the wrong degree to pursue. Oh well, once this summer semester from hell is over (and I do have to remind myself about 50x a day that it WILL be over soon) I will graduate May 2012, get married in August 2012 and *hopefully* get to begin our lives together.

Sounds kinda like a fairytale though, right? Education, marriage, family, happiness. I have to constantly wonder…can all of this be attainable with a chronic illness? And by attainable I mean as comfortable as possible with as little flares, breakdowns, stress, and tears. Days like this I find it very hard to believe that it is. For one, I plan my month around my orencia infusion. Today, after going to an 8:30 am meeting for work, running into the office to get as much work done as possible for a few hours, taking my vacation time to get to my infusion appointment, drive in 95 degree weather into the city (which is my nightmare) with just enough time for the infusion before class to be told that they must have messed up the schedule and they can’t see me today. BUT I can come back Friday. Really? Because Friday doesn’t work for me, I have a job and school work and other responsibilities that giving up more vacation time at my stressful busy job is just not in the cards for another day. Technically I could have waited 3.5 hours for them to fit me in at the end of the night…but alas I have my one and only in-class final exam tonight at that time. Boooooo.

I left. I fought back tears. Paid the parking lot attendant and headed downtown to school. I wanted to kick and scream and cry because it’s not fair…but I don’t have the energy. And seeing how I’m already 2 weeks late on the infusion…I don’t want to send myself into a flare in the 97 degree weather with a heat index of 105. Just then…the fatigue hits me like a mac-truck. And to walk six blocks to take a test now.

I’m sorry. I had to vent. On top of that I get to deal with co-workers brushing off the severity of my illness to talk about how bad they are doing. Can I just live on a pain-free deserted island please? Can you tell that this is seriously my summer from hell? Moody and miserable is pretty much my daily status. Hopefully that will change soon. Again, I apologize as this entry really didn’t promote health or inspiration…but as superhuman as I try to be, I am still just human at times.

This is an amazing story that I felt I needed to share. Beautiful and said perfectly.

The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino.

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