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Julie Mills’ feet

My feet hit the ground, heel toe, heel toe. I’ve been repeating that in my head since the 4th grade when I had to relearn how to walk post surgery. I can feel the burning ache in my toes and feet with each push off the cement. For about the first quarter mile I’m stiff and feel as though I need to take it a lot  slower, but I don’t want to give in. I know that as I continue to push the pain will go away. I feel a twinge in my knee and my hip, but I keep going. Keep going. Keep going.  

I’ve been sluggish lately. I deemed this year to be the fatigue fighting fifteen, and not even a week after declaration I came down with the influenza. Yes, I’m calling it THE influenza because it deserves respect after flattening me for a week. Four days in bed and a slow recovery got me back to doing the things I needed to do.

That was until this week where my cough is still holding on by a secure thread. It’s left my back aching with every hack. Frankly it has just left my back sore, period. I think that’s also because Captain Flare decided to come in this week. This is a flare like I have never experienced before. I feel like it’s there, but it’s super under the radar. My pain isn’t great (thank goodness!) but my swelling is evident and my fatigue has taken a spill into a dingy, profound crater.

I wake up at 5:30 every morning to chit chat with the mister while he gets ready to go to work. Most days I like to also crawl out of bed and get my day started. This week I’ve hardly been able to open my eyes to turn off my alarms. I’ve hardly been able to open my eyes when my husband comes in and talks to me while he gets ready to go. After he gets the car started he comes in and lays back down next to me while he waits for a few minutes. The other morning I fell back asleep right after he kissed me, and then I woke up with no idea what time it was. I didn’t even remember him leaving, and it freaked me out. I had to peel myself out of bed. It was eight o’clock. I feel like I had already wasted so much of my day, but yeah… there was nothing I could do about it anymore. The same thing happened this morning. Although this morning when I woke up at 5:30 I could feel the swelling in my hands and feet. I can see it in my hands as my fingers dance across the keyboard.

I’m feeling lethargic. And I hate it.

But I came to the conclusion a long time ago that it’s okay to have harder days, even if those ‘days’ turn into weeks. I just have to keep moving. I was talking to my mom today on my way home from school and I was telling her about my week so far and about how today just felt ‘weird’. I find comfort in her words that we all have moments and days like that. It’s true. We all do.

So I just keep going.

What keeps me going?

My Monday and Wednesday walks. I live just under a mile away from campus. I have one class on campus this semester on Mondays and Wednesdays. So I walk. Rain or snow, I walk. Good day or bad, I walk. Bright and beautiful or foggy gloom, I walk. I walk, I walk, and I walk. My feet burn for the first five minutes, and the joints in my toes just ache, but I walk. My knees or my hips twinge, but I walk. It’s amazing how after I get past minute six or so I feel free. I feel free of this arthritic condition because I am moving. I am breathing the fresh air, and enjoying a beautiful sky. I am feeling the cold on my hands or my nose. I am moving! (#arthritiswalks)

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Julie Mills walking

So yes, I have sat in bed a lot this week. When I’ve woken up late I’ve grabbed my laptop and crawled back into bed and knocked out assignment after assignment. The mister usually comes home and I am sitting on the bed working on my homework, with a tired face on of course. He gives me a big ol’ hug and kisses me hello. Then I get dinner made where afterwards I crawl back onto the bed and finish whatever I need to do. I find solace in good movies and good movie soundtracks to keep me calm and focused. I take plenty of breaks, drink plenty of water, and stay plenty sane.

It’s just life. It requires that I adapt.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Who knows what next week will bring. But it brings–and that’s the consistency.

If you’re flared right now, I’m there with you. And it’s okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to not feel okay. It’s okay to have fallen behind on that goal, like me not waking up early.

Because you adapted. And because you adapted that means you can feel, and because you can feel it means you are alive.

So I’m flaring with you, living and flaring.

And I keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Heel toe, heel toe.