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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What has RA taken from you?

I have recently suffered yet another loss due to RA..   I can't even speak about it yet except in therapy...  I was dx'd a year ago in July.  I had lost a few parts of my life to due to the pain and swelling in my knees and hands.  I didn't know what it was.  I had to slow down, and take a leave of absence from my dispatcher job.  I couldn't walk, or concentrate.  I was a 911 dispatcher.  I had to leave that job ultimately because the pain and process of finding out what was wrong with me was a full time job in itself.  It wasn't easy, as I needed that job.  I was the only income at the time and we were having a hard time paying our electric bill, let alone a mortgage.  After a few months I got dx'd and well...more loss was to come.  ..  Friends, Jobs, Family, Activity, Multi-tasking, Hair, shoes, memory, focus, confidence, self esteem... I lost myself..my healthy self. 

I lost two jobs within a week of my diagnosis.  I couldn't return to dispatching, and my other job decided to let me go because I was sick.  My boss actually said..." My best friends mother lost her life to RA"...  two days later I was laid off, but not before I trained my replacement who was supposed to be my assistant.   Friends I thought I had for a couple of years, left my life because " they couldn't handle me being sick".  "they didn't know how to deal with a sick person".   Some extended family was upset because I couldn't come to family functions any longer.  I was called out on Face Book by one of them.  I used to ride horses for a living and for fun..  that activity was taken away for both reasons.  I used to do 5 things at once, but now I can only remember to do one thing at a time.  I started taking MTX and lost some of my hair.  I had to give up my cute shoes and go to comfy ones.  I can't remember much unless I write it down.  I can't focus as well as I used to.  My mind wanders... I had a strong sense of self...and that was taken away.  I am going through a re-birthing process...by going to Therapy once a week.  My health has gotten worse in the last few weeks and more loss and change is coming or has already arrived. 

Its not all doom and gloom.  I am learning new things about myself and RA today and each day.  There are bright moments in each day...and I am a new journey.  The road is unpaved at the moment, but I expect that I will smooth out the speed bumps one at a time.  Gifts come to me each day, the laughter in my kids, the smile on my husbands face.  My friends who have supported and loved me during this hard time...which will be the rest of my life.  I have learned that self care and self love have become key to my life.  I used to do for others first...but now I put myself first.  I only learned this a few days ago...I mean really learned it.  It took the flare from hell to realize that I have to take care of me, and then others...and in that order.  I haven't hurt anybody's feelings by doing this... they actually all understand.  if they don't understand there is no room in my life for them.  I have made new friends and created a support group called Squeaky Joints.  You can join it ...click the link at the top of my blog page on Face Book.  Its private and full of love and support.  I lean on the lessons I have learned and the ones I am learning right now as I type this to get me through.   What have you lost?  What have you learned?

Know you are loved by me and don't forget to love yourself first.