This past year has been a year of change for me. 3 new nieces, 1 new teflon/plastic shoulder, 1 new designer drug (my nickname for Enbrel), 6 mg less per day of prednisone, 2-3 flares and 1 realization - in the face of flares, surgery and other health issues - that my family is really more important than anything else in the world.
In reflecting on my year, I feel grateful for the people in my life and for the events that have happened. I believe you learn from your experiences, and this year was a world of discovery.
I learned through my shoulder replacement that I am pretty tough. That you need to be your own health care advocate. That a nerve block for a Total Shoulder Replacement is a very good idea.
I learned that if you ask for help, you will usually receive it. Friends are willing to take you grocery shopping when you can't drive - and they will even carry your groceries into your house. They will also drive you and your son to his appointments. Wait. And then drive you home. All you have to do is ask.
I learned that a parents love never lessens. Even when you are their 34 year old "baby." This year has presented a few more downs than ups, but the support from my parents never wavers. They are a 4 hour car ride away, or a 10 digit phone call. Either way, I always feel their physical and emotional support .
I learned it was time to move on from my job. That family is more important than work. In 2010 I am working towards transitioning out of my company and am excited to stay home with the kids.
I learned that I need to take better care of myself. To re-visit treatments that gave me some support and relief. Massage. Acupuncture. Eating better. Small amounts of exercise. Naps. Doing less in a day and feeling good about it.
I learned to find joy in the day to day. In simple things. Going to Starbucks with friends for a chat after the kids have gone to bed. Playdates. An "I lub you, mommy".
I learned there is a wonderful community of RA bloggers, offering support, friendship and the bond of similar experiences. It's nice to feel like a part of a community of people who understand.
I learned - for the 12th year in a row - that my hubby rocks. Literally. He is my rock who makes me laugh, does my hair in a ponytail when I can't reach due to my RA, shares all our parenting ups and downs and just loves me.
From my warm, fuzzy place of gratitude, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!