Can’t Keep It I Don’t Give In Away

Hello, I am Diane.

I was diagnosed with RA 20 years ago. Little did I know then the battles I would fight; the ones I would win and the ones I would lose, and not always gracefully.

I had been in severe pain for 8 months I was swollen to the point I could only wear tennis shoes without laces and were forced on with a shoe horn. I had unnecessary surgery for a Bakers Cyst with no improvement. I was so swollen the nurses could not start an IV anywhere. Nothing was helping, I was becoming more and more depressed, feeling very alone, unwanted, and becoming a burden to all my family. I finally got angry which not normal for me. My husband was shocked when I lost my temper with my doctor and screamed at him that I was not leaving his office until he did something to find out what was wrong with me. A simple blood test provided the answer, my sed rate was 400. I was prescribed prednisone, furosemide, and methotrexate. Within two weeks the swelling was down, so was the pain, I almost felt human again. After a couple of months I got a new job, found my backbone and my voice. I continued to improve and maintained the status quo for two years. I then had to make some changes in my life and found myself in Al Anon this was the beginning of recovery mentally and spiritually for me. At the age of 48 I went back to college and got my degree as a paralegal. I felt like a winner that my life was going to matter. I then learned that this too shall pass.

In 2000 my husband died, I was devastated, my rock was gone, I was on my own. I did as I was taught put one foot in front of the other and keep on walking. After about 2 years I had a reaction to the methotrexate and quit breathing. After a week in ICU on a Bi-pap machine I began to come back, I was no longer able to work and had to go on Social Security Disability. The next few years were full of new doctors, new meds, new treatments all with no good results. Another loss or series of losses. Again, the pain, swelling, and depression took hold no matter how I fought I was losing the battle. My mother and I moved in together both of us had failing health but together we did OK. That was such a blessing I would not give those 6 years up for anything. In 2011, we made the difficult choice to turn off the machines and let her begin her new life with God.

I was alone again, my daughter and grandsons live close and I am grateful for that. They have their lives and I want to see them live them. They are around to help but I often feel like I am a burden and they don’t always have time when I need them. 2014 was the worst year yet. Failure became second nature. I had 3 total knee replacements and 2 were not successful. They have left me with a knee cap on the side of my leg not on top, which causes me to fall a lot, at least 12 times in the first 6 months of 2015. The last time I broke a vertebrae which created much more pain. That is the story of my disease. It is not the story of my future.

My body may not work the way it should, I may get down and sit on the pity pot occasionally, but not for long. I still have a brain and a mouth that both work very well. Today I chose to use them in whatever way to make my life and the lives of others better. Find your passion, volunteer there is always something you can do. Talk to people, make calls help organized money events, get busy take the focus off your suffering and on to living. For me, I am for the child. I became a CASA advocate. I am not dead yet and I intend to use whatever capabilities I have to good use. Thanks for reading. Please chose not to give up or in. You have value please use it.

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