I’d like a reality show please.

Standard

Watching Betty White’s Off Their Rockers leads me to think that we as patients need a similar concept show.

The sick punking the healthy! Calling hilarious attention to all the things we deal with that they simply just don’t get.

After all, I’ve been punked by my immune system. It would be a shame not to pass that sh*t along.

I’ve been outlining my sure to be awkward and cringe inducing reality show concept.

Should it be a vote off like Survivor? The tribe has spoken: you clearly couldn’t hack it like we can. Or a single decision like The Bachelor? I only have one remaining rose and I will be giving it to…me. Because you get to watch and laugh but I am the one who gets to go home with it. I assure you that earns me a rose.

But not to steal anyone’s sparkle (who saw that? Have some dignity! OMG!), I much prefer a good old gag show. Why? Because I’d like karma to point out and fix what I consider are injustices of this disease by making us laugh.

Track with me here.

Pet peeve: athletes. Runners specifically. Because I miss it. How about we commandeer a 5K course and rough it up a bit? Not a mud run with visible obstacles. Better.Make people sprint through a field of cow pies with hidden holes, invisible tree roots and uneven terrain. That is what running is like for me now. A flat surface is scary and unknown…and this one time I twisted my bad ankle because I slipped on a nice wet pile of crap. That really added something to the experience of the ankle twisting.

Pet peeve: RA pharma reps who come in the office wearing sky high heels. Taunting me. How about we install some grated flooring in the lobby and watch them get stuck? Because that’s what high heels are now. I put them on and then can’t go anywhere.

Pet peeve: ‘just take a pill for that.’ Ok, I am obviously not going to recommend drugging anyone. But to understand that feeling of helplessness and frustration and anger, let’s get a gaggle of three year olds. Gaggle defined as 6-10, whatever the mandate is for safe class/daycare size. That should be plenty! We’ll treat them to a lunch of cotton candy and Mountain Dew and let them skip their nap. Then we will hand deliver them to the person who suggests ‘taking an Advil’ to watch for a couple of hours. We’ll pop in to offer helpful, know it all, busy body advice from time after time. ‘You just need to calm them down.’ ‘Its just a child, why can’t you just read them a story?’ And my favorite that I overheard at Target recently ‘Lady, your kid needs to stop crying.’ Throw in some condescending and judgy judgy looks. Maybe a surprise clown or two. I think that would be a fair comparison!

I think I’m onto to something. Now it just needs a name.

When a pet is more than a pet

Standard

Ten years ago on Feb 2nd, the cutest little two pound ragamuffin decided to allow me to adopt her. I had no idea what her name was so I resorted to calling various names out to see if she’d respond. I finally called out ‘Molly’ and she turned and nodded to acknowledge that I’d figured it out.

Ten years later, I can tell you that they vastly undercharged for the adoption fee. $65 was a steal…and if you offered me billions for her, I’d give you the stink eye.

This little companion of mine…

20130130-183022.jpg

Well, she has cuddled her cute little self up to me through so many serious times. Four job changes, three moves, two broken hearts, one deployment, one family suicide, and the aches and pains that come with learning who you are fresh out of college and new to the workforce. All of that would be a lot for one little cat to comfort, right?

Then top that off with one chronic illness, the loss of several beloved hobbies, the fear and temporary loss of identity, and the aches and pains that come with pulling yourself out of this.

I may laugh about how badly she can behave, but she really is a very good girl.

20130130-183839.jpg

The little (very unhappy) pumpkin knows my emotions better than I do. When I flared so badly several years ago and every time I’m sick or upset, she is in whatever room I’m in. I’m in bed, she’s in bed. I’m on the couch, she’s on the couch. I’m in the shower, she sits between the curtain and liner and hisses at the water. If I cry, she follows me around crying until I sit and she can crawl in my lap.

Her presence is calming and her antics are adorable.

She’s even tough on guys who come by.

20130130-184236.jpg

Well, that picture was her posture for the cable guy who was a stranger but still. Guy = protective. And unlike my dad and brother, she has claws and teeth.

I’ve noticed many patients rely on their pets for comfort. I’ve read literature that states pets are good for longevity, blood pressure, and happiness.

These are all things that are true at my house.

Happy 10th Birthday, Molly cat! I love you to pieces!

Healthy Lunch Success!

Standard

I don’t know about you guys but I struggle with healthy lunches. Sundays are my self proclaimed ‘cook for the week’ days which means that I start with the best of intentions of cooking healthy lunches for a whole week and then quickly lose interest/motivation.

By the time I finish my slicing and dicing and can opening and baking, I am beyond over it. And the thought of doling all the portions of (let’s be quite honest here) lackluster tasting nutrition due to chef incompetence into five Tupperware containers? I have been known to occasionally say screw it and instead eat somewhere healthy like Chipotle.

I particularly struggle with vegetables. To get 5 days worth of veggies prepared is like 15 ziplock bags and I just have no time for that nonsense.

Last week, I realized how much money I was spending on eating out for meals I had sitting in my fridge awaiting the trash can. I feel terribly wasteful even admitting that. So I am no longer allowed to do this.

Sunday night, I cut up two big bunches of broccoli, a bunch of carrots and a whole thing of celery. As I threw the last few pieces in the bowl, I already felt annoyed at the prospect of having to bag them up. So I didn’t.

20130129-162835.jpg

Yes, that is a week worth of veggies on my desk. There is also a whole container of homemade black bean cakes in the fridge. And yes, I am being teased mercilessly.

But you know what? It made things just a little bit easier and I feel good about sticking to the healthier side of life for once!

7 Year Diagnosiversary

Standard

So you break a mirror, you get 7 years of bad luck, right?

Happy 7th RA Diagnosiversary to me!

If my RA was a human child, the little Satan spawn would be a first grader. Perfecting how to read, starting to get sassy, developing a sense of humor, playing all the requisite 7 year old games. Heck, it may even have its own Facebook page. All in all, it would be growing more independent of me and preparing to leave my house in 11 short years.

In reality, RA itself is very much like that kid. Except my RA specifically is Doogie Howser. Let’s check off some milestones, shall we?

Learning how to read: while it certainly can’t read aloud to me in bed from my Nook (which would be pretty stellar for it to do by the way, maybe consider it a type of body rent?), it can certainly ‘read’ when it would be inconvenient to show up and have a temper fit. My RA needs to be strong armed to the restaurant bathroom for an attitude adjustment, in my opinion. So reading, at a very high abstract level: check.

Sassy. Sense of humor. Playing games…these are all very similar and detailing all of these is…well…part of the point of this blog. Read back some and I think the evidence speaks for itself. Check, check, and check.

Having its own Facebook page? Duh. It got that in 5k. It is well connected via social media. Check.

Preparing to leave my house in 11 short years? I sure as hell hope. I sure as hell am working *diligently* to make that happen. Diligently I say! I would be thrilled to lose custody early. But just in case, Orencia boarding enrollment is completed and right now, it’s parent day at orientation. I hope to soon see your teary red face in the rearview mirror. Partial very faint check.

I’m still not sure if I broke a mirror or if I just have some sort of blood sucking demon attached to me. Seven years of bad luck…I’m curious to see what the next seven bring.

Happy Diagnosiversary RA! Mama’s gonna go have some wine and hope CPS removes you soon enough!

Note: I would NEVER EVER have these emotions toward a real human child.

Happy New Year!

Standard

20130102-150907.jpg

This is the only picture of me that exists from my annual New Years Eve celebration. THIS is what ‘I have bronchitis and am only interested in being asleep in bed a good two hours ago yet you made me sit here and drink a huge cup of coffee I don’t want and wear a stupid hat’ looks like. A regular Mary Sunshine!

Yet as unthrilled as I was to have to interact with other human beings, as coughy and sneezy and sleepy as I was, having a cold or bronchitis is actually thrilling for me because until I’m better, my RA symptoms drastically reduce.

It’s the best feeling (minus the plague symptoms) to wake up warm in bed, stretch, and feel…different. Sure- my hair may be slobbered to my cheek because I’m mouth breathing due to congestion. Sure- the movement of stretching may unleash a maelstrom of coughing. Sure- the wheezing is quite attractive with the comfortable sweat pants you should’ve thrown away years ago but they’re just oh so broken in.

But there’s a calmness in my body too. Because for that day, that’s all that’s really emergently wrong and to be frank, it’s not all that emergent after the doctor confirms its not the flu.

So while I’m not enjoying late night forced socializing, I’m enjoying a nice respite of symptoms to usher in a new year.

Happy Festivus!

Standard

In lieu of a Tuesday post, we are going to have a brief Festivus celebration.

If you aren’t familiar with my favorite holiday, Wikipedia is your friend. If you dislike Festivus and/or Seinfeld, the lovely red x in the upper right hand corner…see it…click it. :)

I will now air an abbreviated version of my grievances for your viewing pleasure.

Left ankle: your lack of cooperation in the healing process disappoints me. Don’t call my bluff on not following doctors orders. To that I say IRRELEVANT. I cloth you in the finest socks and shoes that money can buy are sold at Target or that I have a coupon for. Orders followed or not, this is my house so we go with my rules.

Wrists: Didn’t Heath Ledger say ‘I can’t quit you?’ Learn that phrase, love that phrase, LIVE that phrase. This resistance to forward flexion will cease; it is your decision if it will be on your terms or mine. You have let me down in hurtful and malicious ways. I will concede that you are useful in getting me out of things I don’t want to do. BUT. That is to be my decision and not yours moving forward.

Blue Cross Blue Shield: The language to describe my disappointment in you doesn’t exist. Take the most vile thing you can think of, multiply that times infinity and then take that and cube it. I’m not a math person so I can’t give you what that exact quantity of grievance would be but you should know that it is a whole lot. Grievous disappointment.

RA: Did you see my standing ovation and hear my boisterous cheers of BRAVO? Oh, you didn’t? Oh right. I didn’t give you one. Because you suck. You are on notice. See notes to wrists and ankles. MY house, MY rules. YOUR way vs MINE. I don’t see any ‘RA’ in ‘your’ but I sure as hell see ‘me’ and ‘I’ in ‘mine.’ And that means that I’m the boss of you.

I am bound and determined that by next Festivus, we will not be airing these same grievances. That is a threat and a promise.

Happy Holidays and determined wishes for the healthiest 2013! I am excited and quite determined to regain control of my health, and very thankful that changes I’ve made in 2012 have finally allowed me the time and clarity to actually follow through.