Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans  ~  John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy”

RAhappens

 

This past week I had an infusion and I felt fantastic. You know it was one of those fantastic, take hold sort of things that makes you remember what it was like before RA.  It did not last, I mean it never does and I did not expect this time to be different.  But still wow, to feel so good in the spring; a new bicycle and all is right with the world.

 

Later in the week that wonderful feeling wore off.  The steroid that made that feeling possible yet drove my blood sugar to new highs thankfully subsided and the reality of RA came back to the forefront.  Just when I was making other plans RA showed up and reminded me of its presence.  Of course these feelings will come and go until I have more infusions; but for that moment I felt really good.

 

This reminds me, what I was thinking when diagnosed with RA.  You see, I was busy making other plans.  Lots of other plans.  I was not just stopped in my tracks that would have been way too simple.  Instead I was ground to a halt. I recall that my oldest son was in college just completing his second year and my youngest was on his way to college and then it was way too much.  I just felt like I could not go on.  Still I had other plans.

 

So I pushed on. I was relatively new in a job I loved, digging out of holes and covering more up I was preoccupied to say the least.  I was never laid low, I was able to go on for five more years taking treatments and digging the hole deeper until my wife and doctor called it quits.  Yes it took someone else to call it quits; I would never have done it.  I was way too busy making other plans.

 

So now seven years later every four or five months for a week or two I get a care package from my past.  It reminds me what I wanted to be and can no longer reliably do.  So now feeling good is when I am busy making other plans.

 

At times like this I have to be careful.  I schedule too much, work too hard, push too hard and act like I no longer have three chronic diseases.  During this brief respite, even the dog was tired of my newfound energy.  As we walked she turned as if to say listen dude, slow down you have nowhere else to be right now.  Well she is right of course, I no longer need rush.  But like the boy I once was with new tennis shoes, I cannot wait to run to the back fence to see how fast I can go.  It is, a common male trait, to push harder, go faster, and try to accomplish more.

 

The difficulty is that this urge to push is exactly what gets me into trouble.  The person I am is also the thing that harms me.  Such as it is with RA, as with all autoimmune disease; we are our own disease.

 

It is perhaps one of the worst cruelties of RA; that I sense me attacking me.  When I was a boy I loved to play army (ok it was the 60’s guns were in) and I used to imagine many enemies attacking my tree house.  All enemies were unseen but all were real to me nonetheless.    The attackers would gain a foothold before I, in a gallant effort would fight them back.  Yet, at the end of the day they would ready themselves for attack the following day.  In the summers of 1965 to 1967 my friends and I played that game endlessly.  (Yes, ladies that was well before girls became my number one focus).

 

But as horrifying as that game may seem today, it was the one game that prepared me to battle with the biggest opponent of my life, RA.  I have said many times I thought my life was over when I was diagnosed with diabetes at 17.  I did not understand what hardships were until I was diagnosed with RA.  RA is a different kind of opponent.  It is the opponent that is never vanquished, it only recharges. It cannot be defeated and as a result never gives up.

 

So as I write this today I am back to normal.  Unable to sleep well, exhausted, and feeling normal, even if normal is feeling bad. Still I will take a few walks, and breathe the spring air.  I might even splash in a few puddles.  I will be busy going about life, when in a few months it will be time for an infusion and I will get to make other plans for a while. We all know life is what happens while we are busy making other plans.  This is our life.