Friday, December 21, 2012 a journey!

Happy Bellariffic Friday Folks! You might have noticed that I've been MIA this past month. I've been having a bit of a health issue that has taken up most of my time. For those of you who follow my blog or have met me personally, you might have heard me speak about my Rheumatoid Arthritis. It's a joint disease that I found out I had while living in Michigan, 4 years ago to be exact. It was in late fall of 2008 that I noticed things weren't working quite right for me. I couldn't turn the key in the car without my writst being in excrutiating pain, I couldn't brush my hair without it killing me, I couldn't bend over to put my pants on, I couldn't lift myself off the couch or out of a chair. Girlfriends - I was in my early forties and felt like I was 100.

I wondered how I could continue to live with that amount of pain. But after finding an excellant Doctor that treated not only the physical pain but also my wish and desire to live a normal life things got so much better. It took us about a year to come up with right cocktail of drugs to ensure that the pain was gone and I could go about everyday tasks with ease. I've lived with that same formula for the past 3 years and my RA has never been better! I've been riding my bike all over the back country roads in my new town with the majestic mountains as my back drop. I've pushed myself to climb mountains (ok they are actually real high hills that seem like a mountain when you're sitting on a bike trying to pedal your weight up the darn thing)and have exalted in the joy of making it to the top without jumping off. I've learned to pace myself and realize that 5 mph is an achievement and 15 mph (on the hill) is unthinkable (just yet). I've watched the pros go wizzing by as they train in my playground and thought - I'm going to get there someday. Folks - I've loved the feeling of accomplishment and contentment in improving my overall health. And this summer I was the happiest clam around as I tackled Pike's Peak on bike (down of course, but still there were 3 assents and I was the only female and only adult to actually make all three without walking my bike to the top. Now THAT was the greatest feeling knowing that climbing all the mini mountains in my playground gave me the strength and endurance to beat the Peak!) I would actually rant in my head - "I have RA and I can do this". Beating the disease and doing the activities I loved left me with a feeling of elation.

Well while I was trudging along on my bike I noticed some new pains. It took the Doctors about 5 months to finally put the pieces together but not before my new disease took over my stomach and my ability to process food. Yup, the most basic survival process no longer worked for me. I could get food in but the plumbing had shut down and I couldn't get it out. Two stints into the hospital later and we've learned that the drugs that helped me survive the pains of RA have given me gastric Lymphoma. When I heard that an Oncology Doctor would be coming to visit me I about died in fear. But that was a mini-moment. I'm learning to embrace this new chapter in life! I've started chemo and everyday brings "new" symptoms or side effects. My cycle is 3 weeks and I've made it one and a half - pretty easily. I mean I get tired very early and head to bed but I'm breathing and eating again and living life with my family. The second chance thoughts are empowering and have me rushing forward rather than sitting back and waiting. I've got a lot of life left to be lived and I've been blessed with so many wonderful people to cheer me on and encourage me. Which is really why I decided to tell you all about this today.

I haven't been able to make it to my craft room in weeks. As I said, a few stints in the hospital and then the whole not being able to process food kinda got in the way but Emily and Bella crew have been so understanding and have given me the time to tackle the "devil baby growing in my stomach". Then they went and made today's recently added Bella challenge all about me with their "Thinking of You" theme. Dagnabit they brought tears to my eyes. You really couldn't ask for a better crew to be working with! Dana has been checking in on me - and making fun of my Yankee accent too I might add as I pester her with yet another design team excuse - but I think this time I really have the Doctor's permission slip - hehe. And I'd like to thank everyone that was able to participate during this very busy time of year - to send me such wonderful thoughts. Your support, prayers and well wishes have been a Godsend and you are all such a blessing to have!

So, I'm choosing life! I have some things to figure out still and my health is improving. I'll be back to Blogland in January once I finish this cycle and start in on round 2. I think by then I should have a better handle on what to expect.

Hug your family, enjoy your Holidays and choose life too! There is so much left to see and do and everyday really does matter!

I Love you all!


Kerri said...

I wish you all of the best and a speedy recovery..they say that your mind is stronger than your body and your attitude is higher than the mountains...It is your drive and support system that will give you the strength to live..You keep on trucking and I look forward to your return to blog land..Remember slow and steady wins the race...and before you know it the mountains will become mole hills..Sending a ton of positive Kaema and energy your way and Have a Merry Christmas to you and your family...MWAH!!!

Mary J said...

My sweet Cath, your post - although is heart breaking to hear what you've had to go through - is also so heart warming. You are such a lovely friend and I'm so pleased you have a very supportive network around you.

I am thinking of you and wish you a wonderful Christmas with your family.

Big hugs

Mary xxxxx

LindaH said...

ah Cath! you are THE most positive person I have ever met and your giggles still resonate in my head. I look forward to the day when we can once again hang out in Kitchner or Novi and talk stamping and girl talk and then do what girls do best...EAT! Keep strong!

Amanda R said...

Well Cathy, even though I am a new Bella Babe I hope you know my thoughts and prayers are with you in your newest battle. God Bless you and your family.

CraftyViolet said...

Sorry to hear about your illness. Wishing you a speedy and full recovery and a healthy and creative 2013!

Dana White said...

Ah my friend who talks funny you know I am looking forward to our celebratory trip to get together in 2013. You just tell me where & when! Mwah!!!

Leslie said...

Oh Cath, I'm so sorry to hear all this and even sorrier (is that even a word?!) that I wasn't able to participate with this week's Bellariffic Friday, but rest assure I am thinking about you and will get my card in the mail soon! Keep fighting and choosing life! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, family, friends! MWAH!

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JulieF said...

I came across your blog from Linda Heaven's and clicked the link that brought me to your story. First of all, I just couldn't leave without telling you how inspiring you are. I am a physical therapist and I love to hear stories of people overcoming obstacles. I just want to tell you that I am saying a prayer for you and that I look forward to you feeling well enough to share your crafty talent with us! Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Janette said...

I have found you from Linda's blog too, I just think your story is amazing....I wish you well, real soon, your attitude to all this is brilliant, look forward to seeing you back on your blog and feeling healthy.xx