Trials and Disease

I’m old enough to know that life does not always go the way we plan.  In a recent post I mentioned my labwork and that my kidney values were elevated.  I admit I was concerned.  I was also lacking a primary physician.  I got a referral and made an appointment.  Just prior to the appointment, my rheumatologist repeated the labs and the values were all back within normal range.  Yeah!   The new primary is nice and he has a good sense of humor – something I need exposure to.  Ah, crisis averted, or at least I thought.

This past week was one I never want to repeat.  We co-own a family farm in another state and management of the farm had become increasingly more difficult.  We finally came to a difficult decision to sell.  The closing was set for Friday at noon, 800 miles away.  It has been very stressful dealing with one relative and with that stress my RA decided to make its presence known a little more.

What I didn’t expect with all the energy being devoted to the closing was the next crisis.  We awoke Thursday preparing to leave in a couple of hours.  My boxer, Nick, collapsed before breakfast.  I checked him over and got my stethoscope to listen to his heart.  He regained consciousness.  I called the vet.  She was going to meet us at the clinic.  By this time Nick seemed ok and was watching me.  He got up and followed me into another room, collapsed again and was gone.  Just gone.

Nick smaller

My dogs are my children and in one second he was gone.  Some lessons put life into perspective very quickly. This one did.  In my pre-RA life I trained dogs professionally.   Nick always amazed me with the best personality.  He was the most quiet, obedient dog.  He was also a trained service dog and helped me when I needed it.  Most of all he wanted to be by my side, all the time. The perfect companion, but he was gone.  Heart broken.

My husband was ready to cancel the trip, but I suggested we go.  It was that feeling where life was overwhelming and I didn’t think I could stay in that house with what had just happened.  We left that night at 9pm for a 12 hour drive.  Let me tell you, driving through the middle of the night with no sleep and tears in your eyes is not easy.  I was doing fine until our last stop.  My body had given up – I was in pain, sick and away from home.  The last two hours were miserable.

A disease like RA has no compassion.  It doesn’t care what has happened in your life or what you need to do.  It just takes control.  Learning to live with a disease like RA is tough, but it has taught me things about myself that I never knew.  I used to be . . . but now I am.  So, I am learning how to live with ‘now I am.’  And I’m glad I have some great rheum-mates to help me along the way.