Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Dog Days Are Over

A lot has happened in a year—my life wouldn't sparkle like it does now if I hadn't known the pain and fear that often accompanies illness. This thorn in my side called rheumatoid arthritis has been my guide to better understanding who I am (past, present, and future) and has motivated me to change for the better. But it's time to say good-bye to RA—you are not me. The dog days are over!

This morning I paid Barbara a cheery visit—I was actually ecstatic, smiling at the walls all week long because I couldn't wait to see what she'd find . . . or not find. Barbara takes care of me holistically, and as of today happily reported that my RA pain was coming in on the computer at a 4. Not an 800 like it did in May, not a 15 like it did in October, but a 4!! She also has a high-tech computer that does light and sound treatment, so she flooded my hands and feet with light until they felt as good as new. Thank you, thank you!

Some of you may be wondering how my RA pain could've dropped so drastically without ever going on medication. When I started on this journey a year ago—and started this blog—my focus was to heal through "an experiment with a new way to eat" instead of getting on any medications. My external resources at that time also included holistic remedies, prayer, religious texts, and priesthood blessings. I studied intensely to know what God could tell me about healing, learning primarily from Christ's power to heal, and how light, faith, and forgiveness play a role in healing. Then starting in August my diet path started to widen little by little to also include meditation, fasting (which I hadn't done in 7 years because of the hypoglycemia!), reflexology, massage (craniosacral and water drop), chiropractic, physical therapy, visualization, and positive thinking. I've never studied, prayed, or fasted so fervently. Every ounce of healing I've experienced has been because of my Savior. I could write volumes about the power Christ has to heal each and every one of us. I now know clearer than ever how the power is in us to choose to be healed and that once we choose to be healed, it is only through Christ we can be made whole. Some of you have other higher powers that you call on, but it all comes from the same source.

A year ago tomorrow I went in search of answers to all the mysterious pain that was taking over my body. The doctors took X-rays and ran my first round of blood work that determined I had RA. Since this has been the journey of a lifetime—the most profound thing I have yet to experience—I want to share with you how it all began:

February 24, 2010—Wednesday
          You know how sometimes you inspect your life, and it's nothing like what you thought it'd be? When I woke up this morning with bursitis in my right wrist, I went on a 30-minute walking adventure and thought that thought—that this is not how I expected my life to be. And then I thought more specifically how the Lord had prepared me to know that I would become acquainted with sickness. I thought about it tonight while I was splashing water on my face, and it made me laugh out loud. Then I thought about it again after I got a text from Aunt Lavon, and it made me cry.
          Bursitis hurts like strained, frozen muscles being tugged and even yanked. Like there's an impossibly heavy weight attached to every nerve and every tendon in your shoulder or hand or jaw. It's deep. Stiff. Eee-err-eee-err . . . almost squeaky. Tense and achy. It's torture. I felt better tonight when Aunt Gail emailed a second time to say she'd had bursitis before, and she said it hurts way worse than than RA.
          I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow morning at my doctor appointment. I just want to know how to keep this pain from happening so often and from spreading. I've been super blessed so far not to have two parts of my body with bursitis at the same time—this week did come close though with my left shoulder freezing up from Saturday to Monday and then my right wrist taking over today. Will I eventually need hospice? I'd prefer a husband.

February 25, 2010—Thursday
          I hope that if I have a new, unknown disease that they call it Mildred Syndrome. Or Unhappy Joints Disease. Something catchy.
          After lots of tubes of my O+ blood were drawn and about 10 X-rays were taken, I was left to wait the results. (Dang, I'm realizing how tense I am all the time. How do I loosen up more?) Dr. Martin told me she'd call me with the blood work results tomorrow. The X-rays showed no joint damage, but they did reveal a mysterious stress fracture in my right foot. (Yep, I've been feeling that for two weeks now, but I did nothing to get it—just woke up one morning and couldn't walk on my right foot.) Dr. Martin says that bursitis doesn't cause rheumatoid arthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis can cause bursitis. What the doctor doesn't think sounds right is that my bursitis is spreading. That doesn't generally happen. Hmm. Prodigy?:) I'd like to think so. Like Roald Dahl's Matilda—I'm reading it right now and love the diversion.

Well, I'll close there for now. I think I've shared enough of my juicy journal writings for one day. 

I still have a ways to go with my health, but these dog days are definitely over. I am full of only gratitude and anticipation of what I will learn tomorrow.

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