Juggling Life and a Chronic Disease Like Rheumatoid

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juggler-wikipediaUsually when someone hears I have five children, they ask, “How?!” My answer is always the same: “One at a time.” They span about 15 years – it’s not like there were five toddlers at once. Actually, there was never more than one in diapers at a time – so my mom had it much worse with two of us a year apart!

Put a ball down

The more serious answer I gave in parenting classes (or whenever people really want to know) is that to pick up another ball, you have two choices: put one down or juggle faster. Whenever a new baby was added to the family, I might quit doing other good things for a time – even things I really liked such as weeding the garden or grooming my Bichon (seriously?).

It’s not as simple to add the medicine ball of a painful chronic disease to your life. Rheumatoid Disease is an unwelcome extra ball that you can’t ever put down. It’s unrelenting, cruel, and invisible – bewildering.

Cool people can keep more balls in the air, right? Right?

I can’t deny it was fun once-upon-a-time to hear people exclaim, “How on earth do you do it all?” Maybe I was proud of juggling rapidly and being tough enough to work really hard but keep things going smoothly. A visit from the self-definition fairy changed all that with a short cut to a deeper self-definition. Cool, strong, successful people sometimes don’t juggle at all, but might spend whole days just pushing one big rock uphill.

This blog is one ball I cherish, but as hard as I try, I drop it sometimes. This year I wrote posts ahead of time for the week I was gone at ACR, so I wouldn’t be AWAL. But when I got back from San Diego, my back was out for weeks – DROP. I spent two days in the hospital getting cardiac tests – DROP. I was determined in early December to finish posts on several important topics but my kids got sick repeatedly and needed mom – DROP. (DJ still is still recovering from mono and has a new ear infection). Roo shared his colds with me five different times! DROP.

The good news is I really enjoyed helping Katie Beth learn to make mind-blowing fudge. And taking pictures of the building and the shooting of the annual gingerbread house. And drinking endless cups of tea while watching episodes of Psych with my son.

The RD complicates being sick! Long coughing fits are hard to handle with inflamed rib joints. It seems impossible to survive back spasms or complete a cardiac stress test. It had been 18 months since I’d caught anything – maybe I can go for two years this time! (Still love a challenge).

gingerbread-house DJ-n-KB-xmas-2013 bb-shooting-gingerbread-house gingerbread-house-bb-holes

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 13th, 2014 at 4:44 am and is filed under Living with RA / Managing RA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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