Friday, September 30, 2016

#RABlog Week Day 5: Great Blog Posts I Have Read This Week

Just One Voice,
Singing in the darkness,
All it takes is One Voice,
Singing so they hear what's on your mind,
And when you look around you'll find
There's more than
One Voice
 - Barry Manilow - 

When I was 16 years old, I was a huge (or in the words of Donald Trump, lol, YUGE!) Barry Manilow fan. His songs somehow had the power to make me smile and cry at the same time. There was so much truth and so much raw emotion in them, and a few, like Copacabana, even had a little mystery and humor mixed in.

In the same way, #RABlog Week is one of my favorite times of the year because it brings together a whole lot of different stories and perspectives from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients from around the world. We smile as we hear a story we relate to. We cry when we read of someone’s pain and struggles that are even more difficult than our own. We get some good advice from others who have been there and done that. We are inspired and encouraged, and occasionally, we even find a little humor. As writers, we begin as just One Voice, but then learn there are a whole lot more of us, and together, we sing a beautiful chorus.

With almost 40 registered bloggers and more than 50 entries (so far), I haven’t had a chance to read all of this year’s blogs, but I can share with you a few I have enjoyed, as well as some collective wisdom I found threaded through all of them.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Caring for Yourself ... Wisely

"Use wisdom, and it will take care of you. Love wisdom, and it will keep you safe."
- Proverbs 4:6 (ICB)

Today is Day 2 of #RABlog Week and the topic is “Active vs Reactive Patients – We usually start as na├»ve and trusting patients, then at some point we realize we must take an active part in our own medical decisions…” 

Some of you may be reading this blog for the first time, as a result of #RA Blog Week, but there are others of you who are regular readers that don’t struggle with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), so I am going to talk today about something relevant to the #RABlog Week topic and to all of us: wisdom.

Perhaps there are a few exceptions out there, but for most of us, wisdom is not something we are born with. Take, in point, the story of ironing my doll clothes. 

I was about 10 years old and living in the tropics, and so wearing a bikini around the house wasn’t that unusual. My favorite doll Crissy, however, wanted to look a little fancier than I did. Alas, her dress was wrinkled. Being the daughter of a fashion queen (not just self-professed … my mother actually became a paid fashion and image consultant later in life), I knew that wearing wrinkled clothes just wouldn’t do. I told my mother, as she was walking out the door, that I would need to use the iron to take care of Crissy’s fashion crisis. 

Being the good mother she was, my mom told me to wait until she got back home. And being the (stubborn, disobedient) child I was, I completely ignored her instruction. Crissy’s dress was wrinkled. I was going to fix it. Period!

Monday, September 26, 2016

#RABlog Week Day 1: A Wedding, a Kayak and a Diagnosis

"RA Does Not Have to Define You" - Linda W. Perkins

Today is Day 1 of #RABlog Week and the topic is "Starting Stories." I've told my story several times here on Spring Sight and I wondered how I might tell it differently this time.

While I would never consider the diagnosis of a chronic, painful and incurable illness like rheumatoid arthritis to be amusing, there comes a point in your life when you have to find a way to laugh at even the worst of circumstances. After all, it's been said that laughter is good medicine for the soul, and I tend to agree.

So for today's post, I have created a title that's a take-off on the old "A Priest, a Rabbi and a Minister" joke. Yes, my starting story could be best described as "A Wedding, a Kayak and a Diagnosis." And fortunately for me, I was reminded by a fellow RA blogger's post that I have already told this story once before, in a multimedia format that's much more interesting than just a written story.

So without further ado, may I present "A Wedding, a Kayak and a Diagnosis" as told by me, and produced by Health Central. Read, listen and enjoy (spoiler alert: it has a good ending)!

My Story: A Wedding, a Kayak and a Diagnosis (link)

Check back here during the week for more RA-related posts, and go to the #RABlog Week topics page to find posts by other RA bloggers!

#RABlog Week Day 1: A Wedding, a Kayak and a Diagnosis originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins. Click here for more posts. Get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter

Many of Spring Sight's posts can also be found each week on Crystal Storms' #IntentionalTuesday,  Kelly Balarie's #RaRaLinkUp, Holly Barrett's Testimony Tuesday, Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth, Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart, and Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday. This week, I am also linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and Dawn at Journeys in Grace, as well as with Lori Schumaker.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Alone in the Wilderness

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16

My husband passed by my office door, on the way from the living room to the bedroom. A minute later, I glanced up and saw him standing there in the doorway, casually eating a banana and staring at me.

“Hey, what’s up?” I asked, trying not to sound annoyed.

“Oh nothing. Just thought I would see what you were up to,” he said with a sweet smile.

I smiled back at him, hoping he wouldn’t notice what was really going on inside me. I wanted him to leave me alone. I needed him to leave me alone. But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. After all, it really wasn’t about him. It was me.

That stress you’re feeling isn’t just in your head; it affects your body too.

The truth was that inside, I was feeling like a pressure cooker. It was the beginning of fall, which meant piles of paperwork and calendar items were coming home from school with my daughter on almost a daily basis. On top of it, my work life was going crazy, with deadline upon deadline. Add in my various health issues, and I was frazzled.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Returning to Laughter

“So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.” – Psalm 126:6

It’s been two years since I began this blog. Two years since my father died. Two years since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Two years of many tears.

Two years ago, all I could see was pain. Emotional. Physical. Even spiritual, as I shook my fist at God and questioned “Why?” and “Why now?”

Being diagnosed with a chronic, progressive, incurable illness like RA has a way of derailing us emotionally. There we are, headed down the path of life, full of dreams of where we want to go, and suddenly, it all comes to a screeching halt.

I imagine it might be a little like being diagnosed with cancer. There’s something surreal about being told you have a disease that literally has the power to take your life (and yes, RA is more than just joint pain – it can, in fact, be deadly).

Unlike with cancer, however, where the biggest question is often “Can I beat this?” the question for people with autoimmune disorders – RA, lupus, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis and more – is “Can I live with this?” There is no beating it. Even if they go into remission for a time, these are diseases you are stuck with for the rest of your life.

Grieving a diagnosis like this is much like grieving any other loss, though. There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression … and eventually, acceptance. The key to living with chronic illness is not getting stuck in the first four.