GOOD NEWS

July 16, 2014

Good, exciting things are starting to happen just recently! But I’m going to leave it at that until things are confirmed. One of those good things I will say right now is that I’m down to taking 10 mg of prednisone. I’ve been SLOWLY tapering down from 30 mg since April. This makes me very happy and I hope I can continue tapering each week until I’m off of this dreadful medication.

Hooray, 10 mg! Sometimes it’s slowly, step by step, that things get better. And I always must keep reminding myself of this, especially during those times when it feels like nothing will be better again.

Hold onto hope.

On the mend

July 10, 2014

So I’ve been M.I.A. on here for quite awhile, as you might have noticed. Unfortunately I’ve been dealing with all kinds of exhausting craziness: RA flare-up, additional health problems/illnesses, family stress. BUT! I’m finally feeling better and that I’m ready to get back to working on my writing and photography work (among other projects and things).

If you’re interested in reading more of an update (and more whining about health crap), here’s my recent post on RheumatoidArthritis.net: “Sick When Sick”

I’m happy to be on my way back!

Thanks for reading and sticking with me.

NOT invisible

April 28, 2014

You know what, I do have some good news to share–I’m not totally consumed with whining and venting about this miserable flare-up that’s going on now (thank God for that, right?).

THE GOOD NEWS: I recently got assigned to write another article for Arthritis Self-Management magazine! The topic is “invisible illnesses.” I’ll be interviewing people who have different kinds of invisible illnesses, not just RA, and how having such a disease affects their lives–and the lives of others around them (family, friends, coworkers, employers, etc.). This “invisible illness” topic is something that’s really important to me not only because it personally affects my life in huge ways, but I know that so many other people are stuck in difficult situations because of it too.

How do you get people to understand what you’re going through when you look “normal” on the outside? How do you avoid being discriminated against because of your illness if you do decide to open up about it with others? How do you find a balance that works? Either people don’t take you and your illness seriously enough, or they judge you because of it. It’s a fine line and I think that many people don’t know how to deal with it–neither the person with the disease nor the caregiver/friend/partner/family member.

For the past 16 years, my default mode has mostly been keeping my mouth shut about my disease while trying to continue pushing forward, and living as normal a life as possible. The danger with this approach is it can lead to intense feelings of isolation and frustration, which I often do feel. I don’t know. Despite living with RA for so many years, I don’t have the answers or feel like I know what I’m doing most of the time. But I’m looking forward to talking with others who also understand what it’s like living with an invisible illness and hearing about their experiences. I’m also excited to be able to spread more awareness about this issue. There is a weird stigma and sense of taboo attached to talking about chronic illnesses, and especially chronic pain. It’s frightening and uncomfortable and awkward, but it’s a real problem. There are too many people out there whose pain and struggles are still invisible.

KEEP ON LIVIN’

April 28, 2014

KEEP ON LIVIN’! KEEP ON LIVIN’! KEEP ON LIVIN’…keeps shouting in my head. Well, I did just finish watching The Punk Singer (2013) again (love it!). This Le Tigre song is a catchy tune, but it’s also not a bad mantra to have looping over and over again in my mind at the moment.

Keep on livin’ –easy, right? No. I’m still going through a bad RA flare-up despite taking 30 mg of prednisone for over two weeks. My right foot and ankle are killing me and not much is helping. I have ice strapped to my foot most hours of the day. I’ve got my ankle wrapped in ace bandages and tape and I’m trying to elevate it wherever I am (which is not easy to do when you’re in public). I also took all last week off from work (and today) to try to rest and stay off my feet, despite feeling guilty for doing that–that I was letting my employer, coworkers and myself down.

Well. What can I do? More phone tag with my doctor’s office and nurse. More medications. More MRI scans. More unanswered questions. Desperation elimination diets. Acupuncture? Meditation? Drinking binge? I have no control. And that’s one of the main things I hate about having RA flare-ups–the disease is in absolute control during these times. I don’t know how long this is going to last and I don’t know how much or little pain is going to come from it. The scariest thing is not knowing if it’s going to go away or if I’ll be stuck with a new permanent disability. I keep trying to tell myself to calm down and not panic and not fall into despair because that won’t help anything. And as cheesy as it might sound for me to say this–I am simply trying to just keep on living right now. Living would be a lot easier, though, if my doctor, or someone, could figure out how to help me get better.

 

RA Grrrl!

January 30, 2014

punksinger

I’m a girl you can’t shut up! –said musician/artist/Riot Girrrl/feminist/activist Kathleen Hanna. And I’m really glad that she doesn’t shut up. I recently wrote a blog post for RheumatoidArthritis.net about a wonderful documentary I saw last month called The Punk Singer (2013), which is about Kathleen and her contributions to feminism, the riot girrrl movement, music, and the world in general–as a creative and empowered woman. You should definitely check it out; it’s not out on DVD yet (March, I think), but it’s still showing in some cinemas. The documentary also reveals Kathleen’s struggles with a serious, chronic illness, which came as a surprise to me.

Here’s my blog post regarding my thoughts about the documentary, Kathleen Hanna, and my own passion for becoming involved with advocacy work:

“RA Grrrl!”

I hope you like it! And again, please see The Punk Singer if you can. It’s great.

Thanks for reading!

Angela

Invisible illness

October 23, 2013

Living with a chronic invisible illness such as RA can be tough, for several reasons. Just because you might look “normal” and healthy on the outside, that doesn’t mean you aren’t actually dealing with a lot of pain on a daily basis–physically and emotionally. Sometimes family, friends, co-workers, bosses, and even doctors can be surprisingly insensitive and judgmental regarding this issue. Here’s a recent blog post I wrote for RheumatoidArthritis.net about the pain of living with an invisible illness:

“Invisible Illness, Invisible Friends?”

Thanks for reading!

Angela

Up north

July 15, 2013

Osakis, MN

Osakis, MN

I went up north (northern Minnesota, for those of you not familiar with the “up north” expression) this last weekend for an annual family event/get-together. The weather was mostly cloudy and rainy which is a major departure from the usual scorching, unbearable heat that happens that July weekend. I stayed with my cousins, aunt and uncle, and some other family friends in an old farmhouse just outside of the town of Osakis. Even if the weather wasn’t perfect, I just loved getting out of the city for the weekend and away from the stress of “normal life.” I’ve always fantasized about living in a small town or out in the country for a summer, and I still think about it. Would I really like it? I know it seems like I’ve been doing a ton of traveling over the last few months, which is true. But I still feel like I need some sort of vacation. I feel like I can think about things so much easier and clearer when I’m away from home. And really, I need to focus and start making some major decisions here. I’m tired of floundering around, feeling like I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to be doing, or how to do it. Although it is admittedly difficult to stay on track with things when your life is constantly being interrupted and derailed by chronic illness and everything that goes along with it (flare-ups, doctor appointments, physical therapy appointments, sickness, fatigue). But anyway — this post doesn’t have much of a point, I guess, except that it was good to get away, and I would like to go back to Osakis again before the end of summer. Realizing the things that make you feel good and better is an important part of healing and managing your health, I think. I don’t know why it’s such a struggle sometimes.

Hope you all had a happy weekend!

Angela

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