Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time to let it out and move on

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

I really wish this statement applied to me. I find that when the going gets tough, my initial response is to curl up in a ball in the corner and close myself off from everyone and everything. It's almost like I turn into that little turtle and when I get frightened I suck myself into my shell until the threat is gone. If I were Hindu, I would think that my soul was once that of a turtle. My name would have been Herby. It is time I shed that shell and bid Herby farewell, as this coping mechanism no longer works for me - not that it ever has.

I saw a poll the other day asking people how honest they are on social media (blogs, Facebook, etc.) and it made me think about myself.  For the first time, I'm going to air my stresses and attempt to leave them here. I'm not one to really "vent" on my blog, as I typically like to keep this upbeat and inspiring. However, I've hit a bump in the road, I need to do something different, change it up a bit so I can keep moving forward.  I also need to share this struggle. This life's journey is real and the reality is life is not always inspiring, positive and perfect.  If I don't share some of my day to day, how can anyone else truly relate to this and how can this story really be complete?  It simply can't.

Lately, I've really been struggling. I'm not even sure struggle is the correct word. Perhaps I'm dangling. I honestly can't tell you where I am with my weight as I missed my weigh in again on Sunday.  History has taught me that this is where I have always failed in the past. This is where I fall off the wagon and it takes off like a rocket, leaving me behind.

Over two years ago, my husband lost his job. While it has been a mixed blessing because his disease has progressed to the point that he really can't work a full-time, 40 hour work week now, it has caused much financial hardship in our family. I think most people have been hit by the economy and we are no different. We are living paycheck to paycheck which poses a constant threat that a ball will fall out of this juggling act and we will lose our home, a vehicle or some creditor will become impatient enough to cause worse hardship on our already stressed pocket book.  Of course, the holidays only compounded this financial stress.

Additionally, a few months ago we took our two youngest children out of daycare, as the costs were equal to a second mortgage payment. Now they stay home with my husband.  Needless to say, it extremely difficult for him to take care of two children under four. I call several times a day to check-in on them but the constant feeling that an emergency will arise eats at me throughout the day. 

His disease is getting worse. I'm not sure if it's due to the fact that his treatments have been delayed four months, causing the rheumatoid arthritis to come out of remission completely or if we are just at that point in this disease where it gets really bad, but he is really sick.  Yesterday, received lab results. CRP is a protein which is secreted by the liver in response to inflammation. For a normal person the range is 0-10 - his is 202! This is equal to the inflammation of a burn victim. SED rate is also measured, which is basically the rate red blood cells drop to the bottom of a test tube in an hour. The higher the SED, the more inflammation in the body. Again, normal range is low numbers - in the 20's considered being normal for an adult male. His was in the 160's. His RA is out of control.  The light at the end of this tunnel is he is finally, after months of struggle with the insurance company, receiving a new medication that will hopefully help. I'm excited that he is receiving his new medication today but it also comes with it's own set of worry. Initial sickness from the chemicals pumped into his body make the day difficult. (This drug is also given to cancer patients during chemotherapy.) Long term side effects come with their own set of worries. For the most part, we look forward to the potential relief the drug will provide but there is still a nagging "what if" in the back of the mind, hovering over us like a fog, never touching the earth but there just to cloud the sky.

Spring term starts next week. I will be in class four nights a week. Fortunately, my classes start later in the evening so each day I will have 30 minutes between work and school to come home and eat a quick meal with my family, I'm thankful for that change. I graduate with my A.A. degree in May. While that shouldn't seem like a stresser, it is, as my next step is the actual nursing program. The nursing classes are only offered during the day. When starting on this path to be an RN a year and a half ago, I honestly thought our situation would be different, my husband's disease would be better, he would be working full-time again and I would have the ability to be a full-time nursing student. Now being the only income for our family this plan is a little different. I know everything has a means of working out and the answers often come in the eleventh hour. I just wish I knew how this one is going to pan out.

I have a lot going on right now with a lot of balls in the air. I know that I can get through this and I know I can get back on track. I got paid today which means I can go to the grocery store, stock up on my healthy foods which have been absent from my home the last few weeks and get back on track. It's so much easier when the kitchen is stocked with healthy choices.

The last two years I've tried to live my life with a philosophy that worry only makes negative situations worse, as it is completely void of any benefit. Unfortunately, sometimes the emotional state supersedes the logical thought. I'm leaving my worries here today, not for sympathy but to simply share not only the ups of this weight loss journey, but also the downs.

I am going to fight this. I am going to push myself to come out of this shell. I must re-motivate and continue what I started last May. I CAN do this, through any of the stress life throws at me. I am not a quitter and I am not falling off this wagon again.


  1. I do not even know what to say. You are right to be honest and share your true feelings. Any one of the stresses on your plate right now would be enough to make anyone want to crawl in a shell. But put them all on the plate together and it is no wonder that is your response. However, you know that this will not help. I am really hoping this new medicine will bring much relief to Nick and that the side effects will be minimal. The good news is that the kids will not always be under 4. When you start nursing school they will be older too. I wonder if there is any way you could trade your talents for child care. That is way out of the box thinking....but who knows. I will keep thinking and I will be praying. With God nothing is impossible!

  2. Reading your last post was moving and overwhelming. And also a little familar. I have a high SED as well, not as high as your husband's, but enough to be in pain each day. There is something I take that helps. It's called Olive Leaf Extract, it is a natural anti-inflammatory, and does a lot of other things for the immune system. I am the healthiest I have been in 14 years because of this supplement. I buy it at walmart, it's $6 a bottle, nature made brand. I don't expect you to take my word for it, and I know you are a smart woman. Here are two links I found helpful, with some mention of RA in them. I was first intruduced to Olive Leaf Extract when I was young. My father had a toxic yeast infection, it took several doctors, many tests, and all but one doctor giving up on him. He found a very unconventional doctor that gave him Olive Leaf extract, it literally saved his life. I hope this can be of some help to you.

  3. You are not alone. I appreciate your honesty and your sharing. Just take it one day at a time and keep your health focus first. It was only when I put my abstinence from food addiction before everything else that I was able to be present and helpful to everyone and everything. Before then, I was going through the motions and drugging myself with the food so I never noticed.

    You are a better spouse, a better mom and a better worker and student because you have invested in yourself with last year. Do not let that go now. Keep trudging and remember you are not alone.

  4. Please stay strong. It is long journey but it can be accomplished!

  5. Tracy, most of the time it is outside the box ideas that make things happen! :) Thank you for your prayers, they are like gold.

    Lynae, thank you so much for the suggestion. I will absolutely look into Olive Leaf Extract and we will mention it to his rheumatologist.

    Jane, your words are always so meaningful to me. You are absolutely right. I feel FANTASTIC when I'm maintaining my healthy diet, exercising, getting the sleep I need, etc. Taking care of myself makes me more capable of taking care of those around me. I HAVE to remember this, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of that fact.

    Anonymous, you are absolutely right!

    I'm happy to report that my kitchen is now stocked with all my healthy choices. I had to run out to the store as my husband wanted oatmeal. Not much sounds good to him right now since having his infusion today. While there I went ahead and purchased my grocery order. Tomorrow is a new day and my lunch back will be bursting with fresh fruits, lean meats, veggies and healthy snacks. Sunday will be my weigh in. I'm grabbing this bull by the horns and taking control again.

  6. Liz, I have no words of wisdon, but I am right there beside you. Be sure not to miss Sunday, we are all looking forward to seeing you. And we are all in the same food boat. You do have more going on than most. Having RA I can't imagine numbers like that. I pray that will not be my future and also that your husband will respond well to the new meds.

    Take care, thinking of you.