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I’m TOO Fast, TOO Furious

So, Andres and I went to Coconut Grove Park to get in some exercise and go walking- without my cane– for the first time! I cannot even tell you how amazing it was to see all that I could do. I haven’t been able to walk without some sort of aid, wheelchair, walker, or – most commonly- my cane in YEARS
Walking without my cane for the first time! We had to capture the glorious moment. 🙂

My cane was like an extension of my arm and I would use it to open and close doors, get things off the top shelf, and even balance it in a way where I could lean my buttocks against it and get some pressure off my knees. (Yes, I was pretty creative about figuring out different ways to use it. lol)
There were pros and cons to having my cane. On the one hand, I could walk a lot easier, without so much pain and go further.  But on the other hand, I could only carry one thing at a time. Just feeding myself was a pain because not only was it extremely difficult to carry a heavy plate, but I couldn’t carry a plate of food and a glass of water at the same time as my right hand was being occupied by my cane. Same things goes for doing laundry, I only had my left hand to carry all these clothes so I’d have to make multiple trips and because walking was excruciating, by the time I made two trips to get the clothes to the washing machine, I’d be down for the count.

 Look at me working out my legs! Haha!  

I can only tell you that the first week –at least– without my cane, I felt so outside myself. Like I could carry so many things at once. “So this is how normal people feel,” I thought to myself. Walking to and from places still feels so fast. It’s like when you say, “Pause the movie real quick. Let me get us some popcorn, I’ll be right back,” before, depending on many variables- like the weight of the bowl, the accessibility, my pain level, the swelling in my hands to open the package, etc- it would take me at least 10 minutes to come back. By then, I’ve forgotten what the movie is even about.  Now when I say, “Pause it, let me get us some popcorn really quick,” it’s LITERALLY quick and I’m back in three minutes tops. Ha!

It’s unbelievable! Andres is always singing the theme song from Fast and the Furious, because that’s exactly how I feel now. Too Fast…Too Furious.. Too Fast…Too Furious…”
Andres and his dad, Joyce. Don’t they look like twins?
It still feels so surreal sometimes, as if I am not myself
I can only give a million thanks to my friends and my family for helping me and supporting me through thick and thin.
I have no words to express my intense gratitude to all the wonderful people who dedicate their lives to help people they’ve never met, in order to give them a better quality of life. It’s a wonderful thing!  

2. Anger

I’m trying really hard to believe these words right now. I feel like I have so many dreams, so many hopes for the future and I’m just waiting to get better so my life can restart. 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting around doing nothing. I’m doing my best and I do believe my best is good enough.
 I just want to be able to do more. 

Lately I’ve been feeling impatient. Like God made a waste of me by giving me this. On the days I’m feeling really blue, I think to myself, “God, why!? Why did you do this to me?? I could’ve been so great! I could’ve been successful. I could’ve had my master’s degree by now. I was such a hard worker, smart even! Why did you make me this way to just waste all that ambition on a cripple?”
I didn’t realize how angry I was. I know the real answer in my head. He probably gave me this because he knew that otherwise, I would’ve never slowed down long enough to appreciate the little things. Or maybe he wanted to get my attention and knew that my path would never come here if he didn’t give me a nice big obstacle.

Honestly, I can deal with the fact that God gave me Rheumatoid Arthritis. What I’m having trouble with is why can’t I have one successful treatment? Please, God!! I’ve had 5 failed treatments and I’m not sure I can deal with one more. I want to move on with my life! I want to get over this chapter of looking for a treatment that works on me. I want to be able to say, “XYZ works for me and look at all the things I can do in spite of Arthritis.” 

I think sometimes you feel happy and you’re dealing with all these things and then it’s like a pin drops on top of you and you break down because it finally gets to be too much. You think to yourself, “I can handle this [enduring the constant pain], I can handle that [the nausea and other side effects].” But then you start loosing the ability to do something you love and it’s overwhelming. 

Having this for 18 years has been a roller coaster. I always say, it’s like going through the 5 stages of grief over and over again, but I have to keep hoping.
Believing that everything will be alright. 
Maybe not today but eventually.

Reflections on 2013, Resolutions for 2014

I think by the second or third week of January we all have our New Year’s resolutions set. However, before I tell you what mine are, I’d like to take the time to reflect on this past year. 

In 2013, I spent 2 weeks (including Christmas Day and New Years Day) in the hospital, 3 months on a doctor-ordered liquid diet, and the first 4 months of 2013 using a walker. It was really hard on my husband and I, and to be honest, for a minute there we didn’t know if I was going to make it or not. 

My 2013 New Year’s resolutions may sound simple to most people, but for me it felt like a raging river I was unsure I would ever be able to cross.
  1. Make it through the rest of 2013 without a visit to the hospital.
  2. Be well enough to eat normal food.
  3. Get better on Actmera.
  4. Make it to the annual Arthritis Walk in November.
  5. Reach out and re-analyze the company I keep.
  6. Start a blog, help others like me, and bring awareness to Arthritis.

Although it was a very difficult time, I’m proud to say I achieved all my goals and then some! We did have some bumps along the road. We were forced to move out of our apartment because my health, had to give our dog away, and dealt with two failed treatments. 
It was very disappointing and disheartening, and I cried a lot. But I must say there were some great memories and amazing achievements that I am so proud of. 
For one, we moved back in with Andres’ parents which ended up being a great decision as we now have a much better support system. Second, we gave our dog away to the most perfect couple on Earth-whom I believe really needed and wanted her- which resulted in us making two great friends. And lastly, I was able to switch to two new treatments with the guidance of an amazing doctor
As if that wasn’t enough, I also got the incredible opportunity to start a blog, publish an article in Women magazine, and bring awareness to RA by doing interviews on WSVN and RadioMD
All in all, it was a difficult, but good year. And I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in 2014. 

So without further ado, here are my New Years Resolutions for 2014:
  1. Stay off of Prednisone for one year.
  2. Loose 10 pounds by eating healthy and exercising when possible.
  3. Go back to school.
  4. Have at least one successful treatment this year. 
  5. Be well enough to do the things I love and spend more time with the people I love.

I believe I can do it. I think its very important to have goals in your life. Even if it’s something simple. We have to remember to keep trying even through disappointment and heartbreak. We have to keep dreaming and keep looking forward even through big challenges! I may have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I’m still dreaming and I always will be. ❤
So tell me, what are your Resolutions for 2014?

CHRONICALLY Optimistic

This pain reminds me that I do have a purpose. 
I think it has to do with bringing people hope
If thoughts were letters and I had every sick, hurting, desperate, worried, hungry, sad, defeated person’s address it would say: 


“You are going to get better. One day the pain will disappear and you’ll get rest. You won’t feel the hurt and frustration you feel now. You won’t be confused and desperate for answers to why this happened in the first place! The sun will rise and these dark clouds will go away—but that’s not without effort. You do your best, you do what you can and leave the rest up to God. If not for your health (because laughter truly is the best medicine), but for your sanity. You have to believe it will get better and it will, I promise! I’m not saying this because I’ve been there and I’m now on the other side. I’m telling you this because I haven’t yet and I’m still waiting. I will never stop hoping and believing that my miracle is going to pick me up and I’m going to fly away into all the dreams I’ve ever had. I will never, ever give up. You see? You’ll get there too. Even if it has to be in Heaven. One day the pain will disappear and you’ll get peace.  Don’t worry, it will get better.” 
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