Sunday, October 28, 2012

Having RA has made me a cat!

I can't say that it just happened and one day I woke up (well on those few occasions when I am awake) and realized I had taken on so many of my four legged kitty companions personality traits.  In reality, I have been slowly transforming into a cat for over fourteen years.

I ask myself often if I didn't have ra would I have such a close affinity to this animal? A resounding NO pops into my brain. Until I yawn, circle around slowly and curl back up on my bed.

And how exactly, you may be asking yourself by now, have I become a cat.  Well let me digress here for a moment. Over 14 years ago I was diagnosed with ra and overnight the transformation started.

First, I slept (and still do often) for over 14 hours a day!  And that is often just the minimum. Sleeping is a necessity for raers as well as for our four legged counterparts. But for us it is not traditionally wired into our brains. Until, that is, we are invaded by the ra bug and instantaneously our sleep button is turned on. Like cats we love to find a nice warm spot (no matter the time of day or night and yes our warmth may be generated by a heating pad), snuggle in and promptly fall asleep. According to Random Facts, "on average, cats spend 2/3 of every day sleeping. That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life." That sounds about right. Let's see…fourteen years of ra puts me awake for about 5 years since 1999. No wonder I get so little done! But really, I can't help it! I just have to curl up and sleep!

Iams informs us that "nighttime is the right time". I can't completely agree with them about that fact but from a cat's perspective, that is absolutely correct. For me the clock slowly changed. It didn't happen in one quick 24 or 48 hour period but rather grew out of the constant night time roaming to find pain relief. And after many years of this behavior, I believe, my clock has been reset permanently. But unlike a cat, I do have trouble sleeping, I am not getting enough exercise and I am not instinctively crepuscular. And no, I don't hunt at night (well maybe for a bottle of pain medicine) and my eyes do not detect motion in minimal lighting. In fact, my eyes hardly detect anything anymore. Yet, I find myself up with my two kitties on a regular basis. And yes, we both head into the kitchen to fix ourselves a nice nighttime snack.

Did you know that cats also like to rub everything! And I do mean everything. For them this is their way of marking their territory. For me, I also rub everything but not furniture or other humans. Rather, I rub myself. I rub myself with every ointment out there known to man to help curtail the often throbbing in my joints. Yes, rubbing is our way of marking our territory. 

According to Iams "for the most part, cats get along well with people and other cats.  Sometimes they display their natural instinct to be alone, but who doesn't need some "me time" now and again?  However, when a cat displays too much introversive behavior, it can be a sign that something is seriously stressing her out". Mmmmmm….sounds just like me! And any other human out there with ra. Of course we are stressed out, of course we display too much introversive behavior. And indeed, there is something seriously stressing us out…we have ra!

One of my favorite Iams feline facts (an soooo very appropriate for me)… "Is your cat displaying more aggression toward a particular person? He or she is likely the source of the stress.  To help overcome this, have that person feed your cat and give her lots of treats throughout the day.  Also, he or she should try talking to your cat in a softer, higher pitched voice that soothes a cat's sensitive ears." OK one and all…take heed! Start feeding me treats throughout the day. I prefer chocolates, caramels, and an occasional healthy cooked meal. And by all means do talk to me a in softer voice. Now wouldn't it be such a pleasure to walk into say my doctor's office and have him put this into practice. That alone would make me start to purrrrr!

And one practice I have already implemented that Iam's recommends is to "relieve stress with fun".  I try to adhere to this advice on a regular basis and can attest to the fact that it really does work. It truly does! I don't use fishing pole type toys (although some of you men out there might want to give that a try) but I have found that flying a kite at the crack of dawn on a desolate beach brings a smile to my face. Sure, I have to go back to that rubbing thing again immediately but it is well worth it! Try implementing a bucket list for yourself and go for it!

Yes, indeed I am now completely transformed. I am almost 100% cat! I even have the additional hair growing everywhere to prove it. Thank you pregnisone for that!!!

Have a purrrrfectly delightful day!

Friday, October 5, 2012

I am falling for Fall...

The air isn't quite crisp enough for me...not just yet anyway.  But every which way I turn, I see fall surrounding me with her beauty, her wonderful colors, and her enticing fruits of this season.  It is truly breathtaking and it fills my soul with joy!

I mean who wouldn't want to submerge themselves in the fun of this season.  We have many traditions in my household and I find that it is because of these traditions I am able to keep going.  Able to get up and move on, push myself to do because I know the fun it will be.  Traditions are so important and traditions keep us grounded in life.

I have committed to "live in the moment" and I am striving to do this every single day of my life. But it is when I do our traditions that I am probably the most content, the most happy, and the most joyful in life. True...I love new experiences but traditions are like the warm cup of hot cocoa on a cold night, that warm soft blanket we snuggle in when we aren't feeling quite right, or that soft worn out flannel shirt we wear year after year because it brings us comfort.  Yes, traditions are comfort food for me.  And heck, they don't always have calories either :-)

So off to the pumpkin farm we ventured this day. And what a grand day indeed....
The pumpkin patch is featured yearly at a local church.

And yes, there are pumpkins here, there and everywhere!

But what the heck is this! I was so tempted to bring it home and add some feathers.

There are big pumpkins, medium ones and tiny ones too!

TJ found her perfect pumpkin.

I'd say she is a bit excited with her find!

Just the right size for me and my ra hands.

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet and this spider came to scare her away!

Our happy fall fireplace.

My kitty pumpkin. 

TJ's elegant pumpkin. Ain't it pretty?

I truly hope that this inspires you to grab a loved one or a friend and decorate a pumpkin of your very own.  It is truly a great way to welcome in the fall.

OKzzzz...I'mz takinz youz advice...diz iz definitelyz az differentz purrrrspectivezzz onz lifez!

My daughter and I are walking in the upcoming Arthritis Foundation walk. If you would like to make a donation, I know it would go to a great cause! From the bottom of my heart...thank you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Rip Tide...

The first call came over two and 1/2 months ago.  He was ill. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer caused from agent orange. My brother was in a fight for his life.

Immediately I left, drove the grueling 10 hour drive to be with him. To do what I could, when I could and as I should.  We all fought together side by side for weeks. It went on for weeks. The around the clock care to do what we could, when we could and as we could.

We didn't win the battle though. It reminds me of a rip tide. You get caught up in it. Your first instinct is to fight against it and fight hard. Of course you believe you will win the battle. But as you fight it you are overwhelmed with the realization that at some point if you don't just let go and drift out, succumb to the realization that you can't beat it, you will drown anyway. That is what the fight reminds me of when one is fighting such a cancer.  And not that I don't want to ever believe that many will win but in his case, the foundation was laid years and years ago and the odds were stacked against us all. Damn Vietnam War! Damn agent orange!

He passed away July 26, 2012.  He was only 64. His favorite motto was "Livin' the Moment".  And so since his death I have been trying to do just that. I have taken back out my bucket list and began to consciously work off that list.  I am trying to Live in The Moment to honor him and his memory. To honor all their memories.

The waves have finally (I hope) washed me roughly back up onto the shore.  It has been a tough rip current ride this past few months. One that I am not sure I can ever (nor maybe should I ever) forget.  And one that will take me a long, long time to unravel and come to grips with.  We loose so much in our lives living with chronic illness and one would think that we would get use to riding out the tough times. But we don't.  We truly don't.

I think these past few years and all my close family members passing has just taken its toll on me. I will try to stay grounded on the beach for awhile and I will try to tend my life but I will always (and I mean always) have my eye on the far horizon…wondering if the rip tide will get me again.