Sunday, June 10, 2012

Facing Chronic Disease - Rheumatoid Arthritis

First of all, I'd like to start by apologizing.  I know I haven't posted in a long time. My life has been rather chaotic lately. Beyond the chaos, I have had a wonderful time throwing a little party for myself, a pity party.

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis around the end of April. I've kept mostly to myself and shut out the world for a while with the exception of my family and one very good friend (I can't thank them enough for all they do for me). I read a lot of blogs from other people, and that was a mistake.  Let me tell ya, it's dang depressing to hear how horribly tired they are all the time and how much pain they are in.  I'm tired, I have the pain. I already know about all that.

In the midst of this little party I had for myself, my son graduated from high school - yes, I know I'm way to young to have a son graduating high school :-) My children aren't biologically mine, but I've had the pleasure of raising them for the past 14 years. We threw a huge party for him and a lot of family members came. It was great, and I'm so proud of him. He's going off to college in August to become a police officer.  His ultimate goal is to join SWAT, which scares me to death, but I'm really proud at the same time.

Even though I got all the chapters back from my editor a week and a half ago, I couldn't find the motivation to fix anything. I haven't been critiquing any of my friends at, and I recently discovered that it is impossible to hold a hardback book when you are in the middle of an arthritis flare. I was literally in too much pain after reading five pages, and suffered all the next day while trying to type at my day job. That made my pity party even bigger...reading has always been my escape and now it's been denied to me. Perhaps when I get an electronic reader it will be better. The one I want weighs only six ounces so I'm hoping I can easily hold it.

Guilt got the better of me last week, and I decided to reach out to my crit partners and tell them why I haven't been critiquing their work...and to apologize. It's funny, I call them my crit partners, but they have come to mean so much more than that. It reminds me of when I was in band in high's a family of sorts. An odd kind of family, but still a family. I've never met any of them in person, and yet they have become great friends. I love them all and I am so grateful for their support!

I also have a wonderful family.  They've stepped up to the plate, doing more around the house because they know I can't right now. My parents listen to me cry or whatever I need to do, sitting on the phone with me and helping calm me. I have a lot to be thankful for, and the pity party won't work indefinitely.

I'm usually a glass-half-full kind of person, and hearing everyone's support and ideas helped me realize I need to get a move on it. I have a book to edit, I have a life to live. My doctor said with the medication, I will likely have twenty to thirty years before I am unable to type so I need to work on the books I want to write in the meantime.

I will do a blog post soon on my adventures with editing. My copy editor did a wonderful job, and I'm surprised by the amount of information I have learned from her!

For anyone suffering with a chronic disease, I have a little advice--look for actual support groups on your disease, get information that will help you cope and improve your life. I spent weeks reading personal blogs and just depressing myself. All hope isn't lost as long as you have the desire to try. Of course, we are all entitled to the occasional pity party!

For more information on diet and lifestyle changes, gentle exercises that can help, and a place to start looking for a support system if you have been diagnosed with RA, I recommend I've heard water aerobic classes made for arthritis can help out, and I am starting on Tuesday (I think I've adequately explained how much I love the water, so I'm really excited about this).

They always say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well...I love lemonade! Time to get to work and squeeze those lemons!

Have a terrific week, everyone! I'm off to edit my book!


  1. {{{HUGGGGGSSSSS}}}} Chantel! You are right in saying our crit partners are like family. I consider you a friend and would do anything to help you. I think it is healthy to have your pity party.It is part of the process of coming to terms with the disease. I do want to be here to support you, though. So, whatever you need, you let me know. I enjoy reading your work and hope you get back to editing when you feel up to it.

    May I also suggest "reading" audible books? I use on my kindle when I am cooking, or outside relaxing, or in my car. It is great to listen to some of my favorite authors. Check it out. If you get a kindle (any of them, you can use audible books on there.

    Have fun in water aerobics and fill up that pitcher with lemonade, my friend!


    1. I forgot to say congrats again on your son's graduation. He is a handsome young man!

    2. Thanks for the support, Mindy! Big hugs back to you. Thank you so much for being part of my "family." I've never really listened to an audible book before. If I still have problems with the lighter device and being able to hold it, I'll give it a try.

      Thanks for the congrats to my son! I'm so proud! And yes, he's a cutie for sure - LOL.

      Thanks again! Have a great week!

  2. Sorry to hear Chantell. My husband has rheumatoid arthritis which affects the movement in his hands. He takes glucosamine and chondroitin and it seems to help the pain in his joints quite a bit. If you haven't tried it yet, I do so, just to see if it will give you the same relief.

    Congrats on your son's graduation too. My daughter just graduated as well! :)

    1. Thanks, Diane! I will look into that. I've never tried it before, and anti-inflamatories don't work that well for me. I'm sorry to hear about your husband, but glad the supplements help him. I will give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Congrats to your daughter!! It is an exciting, and scary, time to be a mom! :-) Thanks again!

  3. Congratulations to your son on his graduation and to you for your positive attitude. I've done water aerobics in the past and it is a great, challenging work out. Good luck with that and with your edits!

    1. Thanks, Michele! I'm really looking forward to the classes! Editing...not so much - LOL.

  4. *hugs* Chantel and congratulations to you and your son! It's okay to have a pity party sometimes. Glad you're coming out of it and getting back into editing. Can't wait to see Lilly and Zach go live!

    1. Hugs back at you! I can't wait either. I still have a lot of work to do, and it is exciting and scary at the same time. I think I'm going to miss the deadline I had set in my head, but Zach and Lilly are going to get there! :-) Thanks for commenting!


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