Take your time

Downtown Minneapolis, 2011

So many things have been happening lately that it’s kind of hard for me to collect my thoughts about them. Let’s start with today’s good news – I got hired to be a photographer for the Sibley Bike Depot in St. Paul.  It’s volunteer/unpaid but that’s okay. I’m excited to work with them and to gain more photography experience. I’ll be doing photo shoots of some of the classes that they offer there: kids’ classes, volunteer classes, adult classes. I went there for the first time today and took a little tour. It’s a really cool place and I like that it’s a non-profit and that they are active and engaged in their community.

This weekend was pretty good and I’m finally starting to feel more motivated. My good friend Geneva was in town from Omaha and I hung out with her Friday night (crazy Korean-style karaoke) and Sunday. Saturday morning I participated in an Arthritis Foundation event at the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. I was part of a panel discussion aimed to inform and help parents who have children who were diagnosed with arthritis at a young age. I spoke about being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 18 and the challenges I faced living with the disease and trying to start my own life as a young adult. I talked about how going to college was especially difficult sometimes, as well as dealing with parents, making friends, and handling doctor appointments and medications. It felt really good to be able to share a bit of my story, and I hope that what I had to say helped the parents feel more reassured. It was heartbreaking to hear the parents tell their stories about their own children and the things they have to go through at such young ages, such as giving two year-olds painful injections, seeing their kids have to give up playing sports and the things they love doing. The more I meet people whose lives have been touched by arthritis the more strongly I believe in the urgency to find a cure. Nobody should have to suffer from this miserable disease.

Otherwise, I am still unemployed which is stressful and depressing. I’m receiving unemployment benefits but the amount of money I’m getting is very little and just not cutting it. I need to find a new job soon. However, the good part about being unemployed is that it gives me time to try to focus on and get involved with other things that really interest me. I’m also trying hard to just get out of the house and meet new people. Living in Minneapolis (cold weather, cold hearts?) this is not easy, but I’m trying.

“Take your time. It’s a beautiful thing.” – R.A.

3 thoughts on “Take your time

  1. Thanks for writing about yourself in such a beautiful way. You must be pretty tough to get through what I’m guessing are some pretty tough days.

  2. Angela,
    I just came across your blog and find it so interesting to read.I think it is great that you share your story to help others. I like how you use your blog to connect with other RA patients. I was diagnosed with JRA at 15. I am now 45. I had 4 hip replacement operations done at the Shriner’s Hospital in Greenville, SC during my high school years.My time there was very inspirational. I left home to attend college. I unexpectedly fell in love with a security guard at the rehabilitation hospital that I went to after my knee replacement surgery.We were married just before my college graduation. I designed and made our wedding bands in a metal-smithing class! I have been happily married and have enjoyed a career I love as an art teacher for the last 21 years. I have been taking Enbrel and Methotrexate since 2000. Enbel really changed my life. I try to encourage early aggressive treatment to avoid the severe damage I had at such a early stage. My town is so small and remote there are not many avenues to be an advocate. Prayer,persistence and a positive attitude as well as following my doctors treatment have helped me to feel like I have control of my life.I don’t feel like my arthritis controls me.

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