Thursday, July 11, 2013

Seven months have passed since Rheumatoid Arthritis and I became painfully well acquainted. Those seven months have brought moments of agony, hope, weariness, determination. I have become a person of greater compassion and patience. I have also, in a lot of ways, been beaten down by this disease.

Days are longer and harder. Every morning brings a physical fight with my own body just to move. Only after two hours of struggle can I get around without tremendous difficult. Even then, the entire day involves pain, stiffness, swollen joints, fevers. I've spent hours and hours at doctors' visits, doing blood work, trying to navigate the complicated world of insurance, keeping track of more medications than I ever thought I'd be taking. And even with all that, the RA is growing more debilitating during this difficult period of searching for the right combination of treatments. We are getting closer. I am confident we are. But I'm tired. I'm tired in every imaginable way.

I have days when writing is my lifeline, a necessary escape from all of this.
I have days when I simply can't do it. The pain is too much. The exhaustion is too much.
I have days when the joy of putting stories out in the world for people to enjoy is worth all the work.
I have days when the worries and strains and weight of being a writer make me wonder, in light of all that I am dealing with, if I wouldn't be better off opting for early retirement.

I have days when I feel like supermom, managing to get dinner on the table and keep the house clean.
I have days when I not only can't do it all, I can't do any of it. The house falls apart. The children are scavenging for food. And I feel like RA is undermining everything.
I have days when I feel optimistic, like I've totally got this beat.
I have days when I fall apart.

For all that, I'm pulling through. I'm taking it one day at a time. The outpouring of kindness and support has been astounding. Chronic pain has a shockingly isolating effect on a person. The reminder that I am not alone or forgotten helps in those really difficult moments. More than once I've had a really tough day and an email or a tweet or a Facebook message will come through from someone who has taken the time to simply say they enjoyed one of my books, or were thinking of me, or just to tell me they care. So, thank you.

I'm nowhere close to giving up. I fully intend to look back a year or two from now and be amazed at how much better I'm doing. It's simply going to take time.


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