Tag Archives: life

Totaled

Last Tuesday I had a bad day. It wasn’t an RA flare, or just being in a bad mood, and I know that attitude really effects how we perceive things. But I think this counts as a genuine bad day; not that I don’t see a few positives. I will get there, just bear with me for a bit. But let me tell you what happened:

 First, I set my alarm clock one hour late on accident. I plead that when I set it after 11pm the night before I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing. As far as why I was up that late the night before- that is a longer story but suffice it to say my schedule right now is pretty rough. Sometimes I think we get cosmic foreshadowing of things to come. Perhaps my having all of 2 minutes to get dressed and out the door to have any prayer of getting to work on time (I usually leave before my alarm even went off that day) should have been a good clue that staying in bed that day would have been the better choice.

Miraculously, I made it to work on time and work though less than fun went as well as it usually does- nothing remarkable there. I managed to leave nearly on time for my dentist appointment that afternoon. It was a bright sunny day, I was just heading in for a cleaning, and really things were going well after such a rough start. Until I went to get on the interstate. For those of you that aren’t familiar,Coloradohas relatively speedy interstates. The speed limit in many sections is 75mph, but many people go 80mph and merging can be interesting since often drivers are less than kind about allowing people in. I was driving on an on ramp with a tight curve, and to my awareness, I was suddenly swerving out of control; every correction I made to try to gain control just made the situation worse. I hadn’t been going very fast, since I drive that on ramp all the time and know the turn is tight, but I slammed on the brakes and pulled my car into a skid away from traffic. Good idea, right? Well it was until the skid took me into a pole sideways. Ears ringing and vision returning after the side airbag deployed, I sat there in disbelief. I have never been in a real car accident (that is qualified by the term real because I did have a minor one once but someone essentially backed in to me from a stop because they took their foot of their brake), and at the time I couldn’t figure out what had happened to cause it. I was dazed and shaken but otherwise ok. I got out of my car and glanced over it. It looked remarkably fine considering, and seeing the interstate a few feet away made me grateful that the situation hadn’t been worse. A driver that had been behind me stopped and made sure I was ok and I took a minute and gathered myself. I looked at the time, well, I still had plenty of time to make it to the dentist, even if I went slowly.

I eased onto the interstate and my car felt a little odd but ok considering, or so I thought. I got about a mile down the road when it swerved a little again and then I heard a distinctive sound. I admit my first thought wasn’t particularly printable. I pulled over, and got out and started attempting to change my tire which was rather flat. I was beyond shaken at this point so I really wasn’t making good progress. I had the jack out but couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to put it together all of a sudden. So, I am fiddling with pieces of the jack when a Colorado Department of Transportation truck pulls up. The two CDOT guys were amazing. They had the tire changed so quickly I hardly knew what was happening. Thankful for my full size spare, I was on my way again, if rather slowly, since by this time I was quite terrified to drive. I got off the interstate at the next exit and took a back way to the dentist’s office. I made it just in time for my appointment somehow, so I was lucky enough to find out I need more dental work done. (I have major jaw problems so though not surprising the vast amount of dental work I have had and how much trouble it is for me makes it an ordeal.)

 So, I readily and hastily submit that I am grateful that I wasn’t hurt beyond a bruise from the airbag deployment. I also am rather glad I had switched insurance companies a few months ago and have much better insurance than I used to have. Bythe next afternoon I had a rental car, covered by insurance, and my husband was steadily working through the insurance claim process. So it was pretty bad as far as days go, but it seems like things are working out. Unfortunately, per the insurance company, my bug is squashed, or rather, totaled. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. One point of relief though, was that even in a rental car, Strider still comes up to the pasture fence when I drive up. Don’t ask me how he knows its me, and believe me, I have asked other people if he does that when they drive up and they assure me he doesn’t (so I either have friends that want me to feel flattered by my horse or a horse that is pretty wonderful. Or both.). 

Unfortunately that means that this week will be devoted to dental work, a rheumatologist appointment, and car shopping. I think those are three of my top five most dreaded activities. I am hoping for riding as many days as I can and a knitting night to ease the pain. So far I am at least on track with riding, even if I did mostly stretchy work with Strider last night. We have no more shows this season (I know, we really only had one: between EHV-1 and finances it has been a good season for me to focus on training), though I will get to groom at one, so it is nice to just ride and try to keep improving.

I guess all that to say, I think we all have truly bad days, thankfully, a day only lasts 24 hours and even seasons have to change someday. And horse time usually helps. Well, until next time, RAWR!!!

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Frigid Ramblings

Today I can’t seem to get warm which makes my body ache all over. But I am learning ways to cope. One of my favorites (that I can actually do at work- can’t go see Strider or Matt or pet the dog at work, and though I can sometimes knit it depends on the moment) is to look at the mountains. I am certainly lucky to live in a state with such awesome beauty. This morning the mountains are of course snow capped, giving the craggy peaks a frosted look. Then, the clouds above them were tinged in pale oranges and pinks against a light blue background. Below that though, a steely grey element is softened by light grey clouds wrapping the lower portions so only the tops of the peaks poke out. With a view like that it is hard not to feel a little better.

 The irony of it all is that I might not even notice the beauty I live with if it weren’t for pain or frustration pushing me to find an escape hatch. Odd that. Why is it that we seem to need a catalyst to notice the constant beauty? I know I can’t write a decent poem when everything in my life is going perfectly. I just can’t find any inspiration when nothing is out of place. But when there is an irritation I must find something, anything to escape the source of the irritation, even if that escape is just creatively focusing on that irritation and pretending it is happening to someone else. So I guess I am just a really good escape artist when it comes down it- a coward if I am honest though.  So I would never really be much of an artist if I wasn’t an escape artist. And though I don’t want to suggest an answer that is too easy to a problem that is far from it, perhaps there can at least be some solace in pain or frustration, or whatever it is that pokes and prods us into finally venting what becomes art.

 OK…rambling over. In the news: I am trying a new treatment. So far I have no clue if it helps. The first infusion made me tired beyond imagination, but other than that I have no assessment. I did get to joke around with an x-ray tech who was on temporary infusion patient baby sitting duty about the weird side effects of prednisone though and that was actually entertaining. It made the longer infusion time seem not very long at all. I love when medical people are honest and don’t look at you like a freak when you tell them about your experiences, so having her joke around with us about prednisone psychosis was really fun.

I have also started trailer shopping. I admit it makes me cringe to think about spending so much money but it will be so nice to not have to ask someone else when I want to take Strider or Vanya somewhere. Though I hope most of my showing this year will be with my barn, it will still be a load of my mind. Then we just need to get Matt a car so we aren’t putting miles on truck….one thing at a time.

It has been positively frigid here lately so I ride when it is warm enough and when I can’t ride I get the odd sensation of choosing what I will do with my time. I read a few books (they were amazing and gripping; I could hardly put them down. I love reading), have gotten a few knitting projects done, used our wii once or twice, and even seen Matt once or twice when we were both awake. I have to say the guilt of not riding eats away at me though making it harder to really enjoy. I need to be exercising more too but again…one thing at a time. Until next time….RAWR!!!!

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Guilty as Charged- Ambiguous

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”   -Winnie the Pooh

Please read this blog post from the Owl City blog entitled, “You are Braver than You Believe.” I have read it at least four times; I keep coming back to it because each time it catches me in a number of ways. Some are too hard for me to put into words, and some are probably nonsense, but after a rough few weeks…make that months….years….oh heck, I think if we are honest most of us don’t really have easy lifetimes at least in certain respects, it hits home every single time I read it.

First: the Winnie the Pooh quote. Don’t we all want a friend like that? A friend who is so close to us in spirit and in thought that they can see the words we need and speak them and even when they are apart, they are with us in our thoughts, memories, etc. by virtue of being such a part of us. I don’t want this to be a spiritual debate but I feel that if you have faith then of course this should be very much how faith is as well. Recently, upon realizing that a person I had very much counted as a friend really wasn’t one anymore, made me really think on friendship and how it should be. Shouldn’t our friends respect and honor us? Support us but be willing to tell us when we aren’t behaving as we should? No friend will ever be perfect; I know that, but I think at least sometimes we all need someone who sees us better than we can see ourselves to give us a reality check and someone who can cheer us on without condemnation when we are losing perspective. I hope I am that friend to my friends…

The rest of the post is where I become rather convicted. I know that there are so many things in my life right now I am struggling to change, to fix, to improve. I get impatient with my situation; I get tired of fighting battles that, when I am honest about it, I know will not end or if they will, it won’t be soon. I get tired of pain and struggle. And before I know it, I am wishing things were different. It is so easy to lose sight of the opportunities I do have, and the blessings and the reasons for hope. One thought acts like a spark in the middle of a field of dry grass- it is rapidly out of control. And yet it is a waste of energy I am ridiculously short on in the first place and often such thoughts pull me into not wanting to try- to just give up. I know- not a pretty picture.

So what does it come down to? I don’t have a perfect solution unfortunately; I wish I did. But I keep coming back to this blog post- how preposterous is it for me to wish for things to be the way I want rather than the way they are? Who am I to think I have a right to these things I don’t have? What should I focus on? What should I do? What do I actually have the power to control? Why would I have been better off if things were different? How can I presume that?

I won’t say it is easy- I will readily admit that if someone told me that there was a moment in life that tipped the scales as it were and made me get RA, or that I could prevent the accident that changed my sister’s life forever, or any number of other moments, and gave me the chance to go back and make everything different, I probably would jump at the chance. Even though I know it wouldn’t really make me content. But I guess all that is to say that peace, hope, and contentment- they all come when I embrace the life I have instead of fighting it. I just wish I could remember that more often.

So….today here are some things that are blessings for me- to remind me why things shouldn’t be different. In no particular order:

-My husband: and not just because I am married to him and think I need to put him on the list. There are too many reasons to list.

-My true Friend: because there are so few people who get so much about me and don’t think I’m bonkers (or if she thinks I’m bonkers she still seems to like me anyway lol)

-My Family: I include really all my family in this (it is a rather funky and odd family believe me…) as they have either supported me in the past or are supporting me and cheering me on now.

-My Horses: I can’t believe I have TWO still and they are both the best ever. Vanya was my companion growing up and Strider…well…hard to put into word but I will just say he is amazing.

-My Cat and Dog: because when I am not able to do much at all they can still make me smile and feel a tiny bit better.

-Knitting and spinning: few other activities can hold my attention as well, make me patient, and somehow produce something anyone else would want to use! And there is something therapeutic about fiber that can make even the worst pain or stress fade…

-Faith: I am blessed to have a Savior who cares about me, forgives my failures, and shows me by example how it’s done.

-Good Doctors: I have some amazing doctors working to reduce pain, prevent damage, etc. They also take the time to listen to me and make sure we are working towards the same goals.

 I know this was a bit of a deviation from the usual more news type of post, but it had been swimming in my head for a while and finally I decided I should just post it already. Well, until next time…..RAWR!!!

 

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Grooming and RA

This weekend I got to do one of my favorite things- I groomed at a horse show. I absolutely love being involved in horse shows and helping people, being around the horses and seeing them perform, all without the mental stress of my actually being in the show. I still love showing, but grooming gives me a different kind of joy and thrill; one that I don’t want to give up. But I am paying for my weekend in the currency of pain today; I always do, but it is so incredibly worth it!

I also usually end up answering questions from people who don’t know me as well- things like: “Are you ok? You are walking funny,” or “What do you mean you have arthritis? You are too young for that.” In short, not only do I get reminded that I have RA but other people often can tell too and they ask questions. That can be a good thing but I know I fall short in answering people sometimes. I often minimize my symptoms or disease because I don’t want people to think I can’t do things or that I need help. I also see the attitudes of others who do know me towards my disease. Some horse people I am around want to treat me differently and help me out, tell me what I should and shouldn’t do, what might help, in short they go into what I think of as the bubble mode. Some people want to keep me from experiencing my disease by trying to cure me and prevent me from doing things. Others minimize the disease saying I can do anything, I don’t look sick, it is all in my head, if I would just change my attitude, be more positive, etc. everything would be fine. I think of this attitude as the minimization mode; these people want to prevent me from experiencing the disease by trying to make it disappear. I honestly find both sets of attitudes frustrating even though I know they both come from people who just don’t know what to do with chronic disease and want to help. And really I will admit I don’t know what to do with the reality of disease any better than they do, but I feel that by being matter of fact about the reality of it I am at least not fooling myself. It isn’t negative attitude, it is simply truth. But what I don’t know how to do is help others see that, help others to be matter of fact about it, and help others to allow me to feel things out. I don’t want to hide that I have a disease, and let’s face it, I couldn’t if I wanted to- my bag with a dozen or so prescriptions in it (I leave a couple at home ha-ha) and my morning stiffness would be a dead giveaway to anyone with ears and eyes. So, I guess all of that is to say- I hope all the horsey people bear with me on this- I will me patient too, and hopefully someday I can explain things so we can all understand. Until then though, if you know someone with a chronic disease or disability, my best thought on how to react to it is this: the person isn’t the disease so you can talk to them about it openly- really. And when it is uncomfortable because the person admits they have pain or embarrassing difficulties it is ok to just admit you don’t know what to say or do. Honesty is always good. I am sure there are thousands of opinions on this, but….my .02.

One thing I did find very inspiring this weekend though was watching a para-equestrian compete! She was a grade II and an absolutely beautiful rider. Talk about humbling and inspiring to see her lifted onto her horse and then go out there and ride movements I can only dream of with my horse! She really is amazing and it was a privilege to get to see her ride.

Next Saturday I have another schooling show. Strider has had a lot of time off lately (for him… for some horses it wouldn’t be considered much time off but he normally gets no more than two consecutive days off…) but I am hoping it will be good for him. It will be our last schooling show before we submit scores for CSDA year end awards and before Strider and I get a bunch of lessons with an amazing trainer. I can hardly wait for the lessons as I am dreaming of someday doing 1st level with Strider and really doing well at it. This year we have done all training level and I am not sure who is more desperate to move on- Strider or me! But neither of us is ready, so we keep working at it….someday….and before that someday hits I have to find reins that I can consistently hold. That has been my struggle this whole year; right now I have electrical tape blobs on my reins but that probably won’t be allowed at any USEF recognized shows without a dispensation so I need to figure something else out. Not to mention that the blobs are NOT at all unobtrusive. So….things to work on over the winter.

Matt gets home from training tomorrow. I can’t wait! Not sure how long he will be home but I will enjoy it while I can. Hopefully that will give me more time to blog again even! So, until next time- RAWR!!!

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I’m Back Again….Again.

I know….I’m a really bad blogger. I have my excuses, but really they can be summed up in three words: Life and Rheumatoid arthritis. Bad excuses I know, but they are real enough to me.

As far as life goes I have just been really busy. I have given up for good on amateur status- it was just too hard to try to maintain- and started teaching riding lessons again.  Just beginners as I know I am not a world-class trainer, and I know some would probably argue I am not even good enough to teach beginners, but, I suggest that the laws of supply and demand will work. If I am an awful teacher and don’t do a good job people will not want to pay me to teach. Right now that is not that case. Therefore I will do it and appreciate that it makes affording my horses easier. I also am riding another person’s horse for her, for a total of four horses to try to keep in shape (yikes!) on top of my forty plus hour office job. I am really wishing the office job had fewer hours for a number of reasons, scheduling being only a small one.

As far as rheumatoid….well…I don’t want to be depressing and am trying to stay positive. Here are the facts. I had to up my methotrexate does, add an anti inflammatory and I’m still struggling. My rheumatologist keeps threatening prednisone again and I dread that. Honestly taking a vicodin at night along with all the other things seems to help a lot but I don’t know if that is advisable long term. We are already playing with fire given that my liver enzymes have not been consistent and we are increasing the methotrexate. I am doing everything to keep every hair I have on my head. I braid it at the barn, carefully detangle and avoid messing with it as much as possible and it still comes out alarmingly quickly. I am taking my folic acid like I should plus a multi vitamin when I remember(my personal favorites are the vita-lea ocean wonders…yummy chewables and I notice that I have a bit more energy when I take them. Placebo effect maybe but I’ll take placebo effect over no effect!). I have really struggled with sleep though. I hardly ever sleep through a whole night and that is getting pretty exhausting. Probably about time I called the rheumatologist but I dread it. I know he can help but I don’t want to hear that my last resort is prednisone. If I hide my head in the dirt the problems will go away right? Ha ha.

On a brighter note, I have resumed the ever so domestic hobby of knitting. I actually finished two projects, a felted coffee mug sleeve and a key hole scarf. I am presently working on a scarf for Matt that will be felted after I finish knitting it, which will take me eons since it needs to be wider and longer than I want the finished product since the felting will shrink it a bit. I am enjoying it though and I am about a third of the way done I think. After that I hope to embark on mittens for the first time. After several years of knitting on and off I have never made mittens and I think it is high time I did! I have discovered I have quite the yarn addiction though. I can’t resist a soft pretty colored yarn! Sometimes it is harder than others to knit because of pain or stiffness in my fingers but if I can force myself to do it I find it can help. It certainly distracts me.

That is all for now. unfortunately I have not been making the time to run. I keep hoping that soon I will get in a settled enough schedule to get back into it but it hasn’t happened yet. Sigh. One of theses days. Until then I ride tons and love my horses and my family! They are awesome! Until next time…RAWR!

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