Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's the Simple Things!

My masked bandit waiting to be free...

Ra robbed me! One day, over twelve years ago, the life I knew was stolen away and never to return. It has taken me this full twelve years to fully cope (and I am not so sure that we completely come to terms with this disease as it is forever changing) and to realize that it is the simple things in life that really, truly do count.

These past three years, the economy has taken a drastic turn of events for the worse. I believe that many people have been thrown into the turbulent waters that people with ra have been living with on a day to day basis: the inability to provide for your family, the worry of where your next meal will come from, the horror of realizing that you have no work or may loose your job at any given moment, the fear that it all will be gone forever! For those of us living with ra (or any debilitating disease for that matter), we live with these fears every single day. They are the monsters lurking in our lives that at any given moment can overtake our once normal lives and destroy the lives we knew.

At first when I was diagnosed, I fought. I truly believed that if I put on my "tough" face it would all be OK. I was determined to remain who I had become and keep all the things that I had worked so hard to obtain. The security of employment, the security of being a Mom that was the super hero to her children, the security of marriage, and the security of good health. I toughed it out for two years and finally realized that I had to change. I had to give up the things I thought defined me. I had to relinquish the full time, good paying job. I had to move from the area I had grown to love so that our family could survive. I had to give up friends that just didn't understand. I lost the love for writing, knitting, walking, swimming and junking (you know...one man's junk is another man's treasure). I was forced to realize that I was no longer able.

Slowly...ever so slowly I adapted. Looking back now I believe I was living in a cocoon until I had sharpened my survival skills in this new ra world of mine. But from the cocoon I emerged a very capable human.

It took me a full twelve years to redefine my "able". And from the ashes of my former pre-ra self, I believe, I have grown. I now realize what is important to me...the simple things in life. I had heard for years and years, how when one is dieing you never hear them say, "Gee, I wish I had worked more." It took me a good eight years to not say that anymore! Eight years! My success in life was so tied to my career that when that was ripped out, shredded up and tossed aside from my ra, I lost the person I had identified with for 25 years. Slowly (and I do mean slowly) I began to identify again what was important to me as a person, to us as a family, and what friendship truly means. It all changed.


For me, it is the simple things in life that keep me going. The joy of seeing (and not just with my eyes but in photos as well) the beauty that surrounds us. I find it everywhere. Before I had to walk quickly by it to get to my job, to get to a child's event, to get to the store, etc. Now that I don't move so fast, I have more time to notice things. The simple things are everywhere. I find them in nature, I find them in people and more importantly, I have found them in myself.

Is it simple to get to this realization. No. But, do have faith in yourself and above all....do not lose hope.  You too will find the capable within.

9 comments:

Rebecca said...

It's the simple things for sure these days. I have to remind and persuade myself to stretch in the morning upon waking, it does make a difference in the day. Pretty simple it seems.

Thirty-plus years of RA, docs, meds and life in general take a toll on mind, body and spirit. Through this hope remains.

My family "gets it" and continues to be supportive.

Deb said...

Wow! You are a veteran of RA and an inspiration. I love what you say...through this hope remains. Sometimes I think that is all I have...hope. I don't know what I would or could do without it. And having the family that "gets it" is sooo important. I belong to several online support groups and I can't tell you how many times members have posted about their devastating experiences with family, friends and co-workers just not getting it. Makes me want to reach out and hug them. Thank you for following my blog.

Cathy said...

I love the simple things!!!! In fact, I started a blog where I post simple daily things that my life as great as it is.

Deb said...

I couldn't agree with you more! Sometimes that is all I feel I have left...the simple things. And it is these things that keep me sane. I am going to check out your blog.

Candee said...

Just looking that the picture of that beautiful butterfly warmed my heart. Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being one. Now, I'd love to be one just not to experience one day of RA. I'm going to check out cathy's blog for the simple things also. Great post Deb!

figmentoffitness said...

I think that, if RA (and subsequently yoga as a means of staying flex-able) has taught me nothing else, it is to slow myself down and to find happiness, peace and wonder in what I used to miss.
thank you for reminding me that we are capABLE.

Deb aka murphthesurf said...

figmentoffitness - I too have done yoga but none of it on the floor. My ra won't let me get down there but I do love what I can do in the standing position and it does give me a peace and centers me.

Robin said...

Thank you for this post. I am 1 yr into dx and haven't yet reached the place of peace of where my life is, I still cry when I see people gathered on a beach a playing sports. I was always the active one... fear everyday of running out of money...cuz can't just get up and get a job... I live in fear, depression and hopelessness.

Deb aka murphthesurf said...

Robin....please know that it DOES get better. Please reach out to someone. Find yourself a support group online...try rachicks.com or about.com also has an rheumatoid online community. And do know that there are psychologists and psychiatrists that specialize in chronic illness. You are not alone in this...there are over 1 million strong of us out there. Find us, find a professional and please make your way out of your fear, depression and hopelessness. You ARE NOT alone!