In My Absense

I have a friend who asked that I just write something every now and then.  In fact, he requested that it be a little more personal because the other articles make his head spin.  I explained to him that my most popular post was “Polypodium Leucotomos” for a while, so you see, not everyone wants to hear something personal.  After-all, I’m not Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy.. :)

There is so much I could talk about, but where to begin?  First, it’s been a busy Holiday season for me.  Though I work part-time, I have a plethora of to-do’s and so much is changing in my life.  I’m in the process of moving.  Of course, I don’t know where I’m moving to.  My husband got a job in another town where I will commute a 3-hour drive to see him.  It was very last minute, but absolutely welcomed with this economy.  Because our apartment was too expensive for just one person to live, I was forced to move out and I am currently staying with a friend while looking for a different living arrangement.  My husband found a nice town house, much nicer than expected because the town he’s now living in is very affordable.  It’s definitely an upgrade compared to the smaller spaces I’m accustomed to in L.A.  So at least on the weekends, if I survive the monotony of the drive through the grape-vine, I will stay in our nice place.  Of course there are drawbacks to living in a small town, or at least for me there are.  I grew up in a very small town until I was 18 and then I moved to yet another small town, near where my husband will be until I was in my late 20’s.  I haven’t experienced much and I certainly haven’t traveled, so I just can’t go back to the simple life at this time.  I’d rather deal with the traffic and people, where communities are a mixture of all races and beliefs and I can have a late night dinner if I want to.  A city has 24 hour access and boundless options.  This small town however, is literally asleep in the early evening, businesses close down and there isn’t a car on the road past 10.  Even on New Year’s, I felt like we were the only car traveling down extra wide roads that probably see more trucks than economy sized vehicles.  To some it is heaven, but for me, for right now, it’s just not what I want.

For a week, my husband had been visiting this small town, looking for places to live and running errands related to his new teaching job, all the while I’ve been frantically trying to get all of my stuff done.  Though we’ve successfully moved out and he’s successfully moved in, all of that wasn’t even on my first priority list.  One of the things that I accomplished in January was starting and finishing a painting.  It is not, (ahem), hate to say it, one of my best pieces.  I struggled on this one and I don’t know why.  I even started over at one point in time.  I’m sure to many people, it’s a great painting, but I wanted it to be one of my best.  It’s of a dog, a very cute dog, but aren’t they all cute?  How can I mess up a dog, right?  I wouldn’t call it messing up per se, I would call it… oh I don’t know, just not my best…I guess there’s no other words that I can think of to describe it.  Luckily my customer received the painting and fell in love with it.  Even if I am my worst critic, I am glad that someone was happy. :)

I was relieved when the painting arrived safe and on time and I got word that the customer loved it.  Getting that off my hands was 1st on my list and caused me a lot of stress, but now that it was over, it was time to put all of my focus into packing.  On one of my frantic packing nights, I packed boxes past 2am.  Then I got up at 7 am to get some reserved boxes from a grocery store.  The next night I slept for one hour.  I packed all night long.  Yes, I know I have Rheumatoid Arthritis.  But my husband was going to be starting his new teaching job in less than two weeks, and I was going out of town, and he was out of town… I just had to make sure that before I left for Sacramento to visit my mom, that things were in order.  I’m not sure if you would call this overkill, controlling, or smart to make sure that most everything was packed, but that’s what I did.  I kept waiting for things to feel “mostly complete” and unfortunately, it took all night and all morning to give me that feeling.  I felt completely exhausted from all the packing and lifting.  I had bruises and tight muscles, along with extra painful joints for the next week, but what can I say, I have a knack for packing.  And so I felt extra obligated to pack things right, after all, I was the one that possessed the skills!  After my hour of sleep, my friend called me and we then drove for 6 hours to Sacramento.  Despite my fatigue, I had a great time and enjoyed the hours of resting in the car.

Sacramento was for the most part relaxing, except that my mom keeps things much cooler than I’m used to.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get warm.  One of the interesting things of having autoimmune diseases, is the constant quest to get things “right” with your own body.  It’s like you’re on a treasure hunt 24-7, only the goal is to have fleeting moments of feeling normal again.  While many people leave it up to their doctors, I leave it up to myself to figure things out.  I use intuition, I read as much as I have time for, and I experiment in the safest route that I can find.

Change for me is big right now. Not only am I moving..and I don’t know where, but I’m also going to be starting up a class to improve my animation abilities starting on the 14th.  The class will average about 12 hours of homework per week but I’m sure I’ll be doing more.  The program (Maya) is intense and I look forward to broadening my skills.  I’ll also be spending extra hours in the lab, trying to learn other programs while I have DVDs and computer technology at my fingertips.  I’m entering a scholarship and hoping that I get some help with my education, so that I can continue taking classes every ten weeks at night or on weekends.  Wish me luck on that-the essay, application and recommendation letters are due in March!  Can we say STRESS??

My RA has been doing great.  I take a lot of pills, each doing their own thing to my body and keeping me in check.  I have been taking prednisone… 2.5mg regularly.  Back when I took the turmeric placebo and got really sick, I’ve been on prednisone since.  After reading about a new time-released prednisone, that releases 4 hours after you take it, it dawned on me that I should test what prednisone would do to me in a small enough dose at night, so it won’t keep me awake.  I figured out through trial and error that 2.5mg was a good dose.  I could even go up to 3.5 without any problems, but the smaller the amount, the better.  And wow, what a difference!  If I took that dose during the daytime, I wouldn’t notice anything.  In fact, I’d have to take 10mg a day to do what 2.5mg does for me at night.  Somehow, taking it at night really makes my hands feel nearly normal again.  Although I am well aware of the damages that may be occurring from the long term prednisone use, I am utterly gleeful that I can make fairly tight fists every day.  Long term prednisone use at such a small dose probably isn’t doing too much, but it could potentially damage eyes, cause calcium loss and deterioration to my bones, even if it is only slowly over time.  Still, it’s about quality of life, not quantity.

Now that the holiday “break” is over, I’m relieved.  I had a lot of time off, yet it felt like a whirlwind of constant going and constant work.  Even my mind felt like it was going to explode from all the stress, along with not really knowing what day it was anymore.  I am glad to finally be doing a little less, and to be on a path that feels like a positive direction.  I’m glad all the packing, the driving and the unpacking is over.  I’ve had many other adventures and stories I’d love to share, of what I’ve done in my absence.  But alas, another day, another story.  I hope to keep up better with this blog this coming new year and I have other resolutions I hope to stick with as well.  I’d like to get thinner, fitter, just feel better about myself and be in a real routine of working out.  I’d like to write more, paint more, and just get more projects finished.  And I would love to get better about taking all the pills I need to take on a daily basis.  Because I feel pretty good on fewer pills, I have a tendency to take less than I should.  I know that if I took everything, I’d feel fabulous.  But it can definitely be hard to stick to a real regimen.  So hopefully this year will be a new year of wonderful change.  And I hope to share these wonderful changes with all my listeners, my friends and family, who have emotionally supported me through some of my toughest moments.  Thank you all, I am forever grateful and happy New Year!

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