Friday, April 15, 2011

Going for a visit to see my Doctor

I sat in the Doctor's office, I forgot my book and looked through the magazines for something to occupy my time. Golf Digest, Retirement magazine from AARP, nothing to read. I sat down and began to rub my inflamed wrists that ache. The door opened and in walks the next patient in line. The woman, once very beautiful somewhere around 50 years old hobbled in with her cane and big glasses, she signed in and sat sat with a whoosh. She too rubbed her hands to try and alleviate her discomfort. I couldn't help but begin to wonder if the women in front of me was my future, a cane to keep steady on inflamed or possibly disfigured joints. She looked like once she had been graceful and full of life and now she was hurting and on her face you could see all that the pain had done to her. They call my name and I try to pop up to fast, ouch. The women said slow and steady wins the race, I laughed and continued to walk slowly towards the nurses voice.

I had decided that today I would talk to the Doctor about my pain level.Lately I have thought about going on disability because I do not have the stamina and physical health needed to do my job. My pain is so high that it is affecting my work, this disease has showed no signs of slowing down. It is funny, I was raised never to ask for help or admit that you can't handle something, I actually have to make a conscious decision that I am going to ask for help, to be completely honest with the Doctor. The doctor came in, she reviewed my latest labs and we talked about my symptoms, I was honest with her. She responded better than I thought she would, she prescribed several different medications, some to alleviate pain immediately and some to slow down the progression of RA. I told her about the lady in the waiting room and how I was scared that in 10 years that could be me. She told me that many of the patients she has now did not have access to the treatments being used now to treat the disease, the disease was allowed to run ramped in their joints, causing crippling damage. She told me that if I was willing to fight, then she would supply the arsenal to fight RA.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eye on the road

My husband and I have been across the country several times. When we were younger our favorite thing was to drive across the country and see different areas. We enjoyed the different landscapes, weather and people. When we did those trips our most trusted tool was our map. Before we set off on an adventure we would plot our course on the map, settling on a route based on time restraints and over all beauty of the trip. On one particular trip we decided rather than drive through southern California which is both hazy, full of traffic and very ugly we would cut up through other states not previously visited and bypass Los Angelas. On the map this looked like a safe and reasonable route into the Bay Area. The ride was breath taking until....The road changed and suddenly we could see that the terrain was different, we started our decent into the unknown.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. matthew 7:14

When we got the bottom or our decent we saw the most amazing, most terrifying sights. We had landed in one of the most unlikely of places, the desert. We passed signs that read that we could be in danger from the heat, that our car might overheat and we would be stranded because there is no one living there. We saw nothing living there, no people, no bugs, no birds just sand. We even passed the infamous Area 51.Our perfect route was not looking so perfect anymore, it looked like it was full of peril. You see when you lay out a route or a plan it may look good on paper but you have to take in to account the unknown. The desert was the unknown, it wasn't on the map. On the map it looked like a road that would take us where we wanted to go. We kept our eyes on the road and drove carefully through the desert, windows down and temperatures above one hundred. The car made hot wind against our faces.
When we reached the end we could see the mountains looming ahead of us and we sighed a relief.We then began our assent out of the desert which would prove to me more treacherous. Death Valley California is below sea level.The road cut back and forth, no guardrail on our side of the road, sharp cliffs, narrow road. I have never seen my husband get nervous driving. He has driven in all kinds of conditions but this road was making him nervous. We thought we must be starting the assent up the mountain but the mountains looked to far away for that. When we finished the trip upward we finally reached sea level with the Sierra Nevada mountains looming in front of us.

With everything that has happened in the last year I am remembering this trip. We had plans, had bought a home, moved our family, we had our map guiding us where we thought we needed to be. Our best laid plans don't always end up the way we planned them. We followed the map and the road and yet the conditions along it were full of peril.

Acts 2:25-28

‘I always see the Lord in front of me. I cannot be moved because he is by my side. That is why my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. My body also rests securely because you do not abandon my soul to the grave or allow your holy one to decay. You make the path of life known to me. In your presence there is complete joy.’

Even on the road God is with us. He does not ever let us tremble in fear or abandon us on our own. He gives us a strength that can not be broken, a joy that can not be explained, a hope for all eternity. A lot of people would rebuke this saying, "Why do we have to go through all this discomfort and pain? Why would God do that?" My thoughts are that God does not like us in pain but he does want us in a constant state of metamorphosis, he is always asking us to grow and to change, to become better than we are. I am thinking about childbirth, it is painful, uncomfortable and sometime unpleasant but the end result is you change from women to mother, from fetus to child. Is it not worth the pain involved?