Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Houston Strong.

Because my aunt and uncle lived in Houston, I spent many holidays there. We'd visit most summers, too, spending a day at Galveston or Astroworld. And on more than a couple of occasions, we would head to the Astrodome to watch some baseball.

The Astros have never been "my" team—I'm a Rangers girl, after all—but I have always had a special place in my heart for the team with the groovy candy-corn-striped uniforms. 

This has been an exceptionally tough year for Houston. Hurricane Harvey caused unprecedented flooding, and this is on the heels of the Memorial Day 2015 and the Tax Day 2016 floods. My aunt's house was under feet of water in both of those disasters. She restored her home after the first, but when everything was destroyed less than a year later, she opted to move to higher ground. She is quick to say how blessed she is: that she had her daughter's house nearby for her temporary residence, that she had the means to move to a retirement community. She's also thankful she got out before Harvey struck. But for so many, recovery has not been so quick. Life has yet to return to normal. 

Tonight, the Houston Astros are World Series champions. I know this doesn't fix everything, but I also know this title, not to mention memories of this remarkable seven-game series, will bring some light to the darkness. 

Congrats, 'Stros. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

A hitch in my get-along.

It started a few months before the school year ended: a little twinge in my knuckles, a small pang in my big toes. There was the one time my shoulder freaked out on me, and I couldn't raise my right arm more than a few inches away from my body. Thank goodness I can still use my left arm, I thought, foreshadowing the next morning's discovery that my other shoulder was messed up, too.

There have been days when I have needed help to get dressed, mornings when I let my hair stay curly because it was too hard to hold the straightener, Sundays when Brett had to bring my meds to the sound booth, nights when I couldn't sleep because of an aching foot or a sore hand.

Of course, this wasn't all the time, and school and everything else kept me too busy to dwell on these occurrences. Besides, I've always heard that your body does crazy stuff as you near 50. I should've called a doctor, but I put it off. This summer, my excuses ran out as the pain became more consistent. These days, I never leave the house without Aspercreme or Icy Hot in my purse, and my summer to-do list of home repairs sits untouched because I can't hold a paint brush or climb a ladder most days. I made the call.

At my first clinic visit, the doctor took X-rays and ran a blood test for gout. "You're too young for osteoarthritis and too old for it to be rheumatoid," she told me before sending me on my way with an arthritis med. I was relieved to have something besides naproxen to help with the pain and soreness, but I knew this wasn't an actual remedy. And no, I don't have gout.

At my second visit, the doc ordered another blood test to check for autoimmune issues. As I suspected, it came back positive. "You were right," the doctor said. "It's rheumatoid arthritis."

Sometimes it sucks to be right.

I anticipated this answer, and I KNEW a diagnosis would likely not mean an end to the joint pain. Still, in my mind, I kept thinking this pain was temporary, that soon I'd be back to normal. Certainly I have hope that my symptoms will be manageable, and I'll do whatever I can to slow the joint damage. But the very real possibility is that this pain and weakness will become my new normal, and that scares me to death.

This is where I'm supposed to say that my faith is sustaining me, that even though there are many unknowns, I know Who carries me. Sorry, but I'm not there yet. We have been through so many crises; you would think I could take assurance from my past. But my past is flashing before my eyes. My parents did not have RA but both ended up disabled, and when I think of this chronic condition, I can't help but picture their home, walkers and crutches and braces and Ben-Gay and bottles of pills lining the kitchen counter. It's hard to separate my envisioned future from their lives I saw firsthand.

So, friends, I need your help. I need your prayers, your positive thoughts, your encouragement. I need your success stories of people living with RA, your tips and tricks and meal plans. I need a good rheumatologist! I'm back at work in less than a month, so I need a game plan, a better attitude, and coping mechanisms in place ASAP.

Many of my friends and family members are walking much tougher roads than I am, so I feel guilty for even mentioning my diagnosis. But I am weak (literally!), and I know that with help, I can be strong.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Flashback headers.

If I close my eyes and think waaaaay back into the past, I can remember when I used to blog! Life has gotten in the way of my attempt to document it, but I'm still thankful for the stories and photos that made it here once upon a time.

Today I'm decluttering my laptop, but before I delete files, I want to document these old blog headers that are taking up bits (and bytes) of my hard drive.

Behold, the past!

Spring 2010
Summer 2010

Fall 2010

Holidays 2010
Winter 2010 (version 1)
Winter 2010-2011 (version 2)
Spring 2011
Summer 2011

Fall 2011

Holidays 2011
New Year 2012
Spring/Summer 2012

Fall 2012
Holidays 2012

Winter 2013
Spring 2013

Summer 2013

Fall 2013

December 2013

Winter 2013-2014
Spring 2014
Summer 2014
New Year 2015
Fall 2015
Summer/Fall 2016