Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All He Wants for Christmas is Two New Knees

This blog post is something a little different - but something a little the same. I honestly believe very few make it through this life without having a cross to bear.  I've always thought of my cross being my weight.  It has caused me physical pain and emotional torment but it has also provided me a source of character building.  I am who I am today, partially because of all that I've endured.

My husband bears another cross - his is rheumatoid arthritis.  At twelve years of age he received a diagnosis that would change his life forever.  For years he was able to do normal activities.  He played soccer.  He was a avid surfer. Even today, his stories of surfing entertain the children and put a smile on his face.

He went to school for mechanical designing and has designed parts of some of the biggest rides with some of the biggest amusement parks in the country. He is a smart, creative, educated man, a fantastic father and a wonderful husband.

Although permanent damage to his joints had been sustained, a new drug called Remicade, an infusion therapy and a handful of other daily medications helped put his rheumatoid arthritis into remission.  Certainly, he still had stiffness and pain but it was bearable. He experienced joint deformities fairly early on, but he learned to adapt. He was able to lead a pretty normal thirty-something's life; whatever normal is for us, anyway.  We went to Las Vegas for my 30th birthday. We took the children to Disney World to enjoy the Osborne Family Lights. We could go to the mall and just shop around.

Then, all at once, our world started changing.  The drug therapy he has been on for several years, stopped working.  This is fairly typical of biological medications.  Eventually, our amazing immune system create antibodies which then fight against the biologic.  That's exactly what happened to my husband.  He's been on a plethora of biologics since then, none which have worked as well as Remicade - the drug was almost a miracle drug for him.

Each Christmas, the same thing is on his list - new knees. Because he is so young, the doctor really wants him to hold off on total knee replacements for a few more years; as having them done now will mean subsequent transplants in later years, which do not hold near the success rates. So, he waits. I cannot wait until his Christmas wish for knees can be granted. While it is only the replacement of two joints in his body, it will be two less that ache and swell.

 Walking is becoming more of a challenge as his feet hurt all the time. Some of his toes are now frozen in place, as are many of his joints in his body. I think this is one thing that scares both of us the most - the prospect of his body attacking the joints of his feet to the point of him having to give up the ability to walk.  Already, we limit how much walking he does as even a walk around the mall can cause him days of agony afterward.

It's difficult seeing your 36 year old husband in such pain, some days needing more assistance with daily living activities than others.  It's stressful knowing the damage his body inflicts on him everyday.  I wish I could take his pain away. I wish there was a cure. I wish not a single person ever had to experience this disease, ever again!  But, they do.

What does this have to do with weight loss and a fat girl fighting back?  Well, for one, I want to honor my husband and try to share some information about rheumatoid arthritis. Secondly, I want to use this as a reminder for all of us that can get rid of the cross we bear - as many, cannot. When I feel like I can't put in that 1/2 hour of exercise, I need to remind myself how blessed I am that I have the ability to do it! When I feel low, throwing a self pity party about being overweight; I need to remind myself that I can change this! In fact,  not changing it, remaining miserable in my body, is not honoring my husband and others like him that have afflictions that cannot be changed.

In a little less than eight weeks I will participate in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.  Obviously, this cause is very near to my heart and I would like to ask all my supporters to consider making a contribution on my husbands behalf. My fundraising goal is $500. Can I raise $500 in less than eight weeks?  I hope so!

I would also like to encourage everyone to find a 5k in your area that benefits a charity - and get active.  You can do this and not only make a difference in your life, but the lives of many others - like my husband.

I will continue to pray for a cure for rheumatoid arthritis.

Click here to support me on the Jingle Bell Run!


  1. You are doing great. It is better to lose the weight slow and steady keep the pounds off then to lose and gain. It is great that you are doing this 5k for a great cause. The added benefit to your recovery is a nice bonus! I look forward to reading your blogs. If you are interested, please feel free to check out my blog at www.keepingthepoundsoff.com. I started at 385 lbs and today I am 172 lbs. I KNOW you can do it!


  2. Jane,
    You are an inspiration! Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and I will be sure to follow you as well.