In My Absence: Part II

Hello everyone!  So I just wanted to catch you up on what’s going on with me, not just in terms of RA but with everything else.  I’ve sort of been gone for a while.  I still check for comments on this blog but I hadn’t had a real chance to properly write a post!  I’ve been busy, very very busy.  I still have tons of backstories to tell you all but for now, I will just begin with what’s been going on lately, and from where I left off on my last, “In My absence” post.

In my last “In My absence” post, I talked about having packed up all my stuff so my husband could move to a small town and work at his new job, teaching H.S..  We would then travel on weekends to see each other.  I hadn’t found a place to live…yet.

It was a bit of a scramble to find somewhere to live quickly.  I was offered a place to live at a friend’s mom’s house.  She’s a lovely lady with a lovely house and everything was going great except that what I really wanted was a shorter commute in the morning.  L.A. has areas of horrendous potholes and it seemed that every morning, no matter what way I drove to work, I would be driving over oodles of potholes.  They were destroying my car.  Not only that, but it could take up to an hour and a half to get to work.  The earlier I left, the longer it took.  So there was no way around this.  Not only that, I longed to live by the beach.  I figured, since this was my opportunity to live anywhere in L.A. and work wasn’t too far from Santa Monica, that my goal was to live in Santa Monica.

I really didn’t know what was even possible.  I thought I might be commuting forever, because I wasn’t sure that I would find anything better than that.  The best I could find at this point was a share-a-room type of situation.  I hadn’t really met too many people yet about this.  I had emails, I had gone to one rental space and so far, nothing was calling my name. Besides that, if there was something good, it was snatched up within seconds.  So I knew that if I found anything remotely good, I needed to take it as quickly as possible.

I saw an ad for a beautiful room in a giant, million dollar house.  It of course sounded, too good to be true.  I called anyway because I believe there’s no such thing as “too good to be true.”  I am a optomist and I’m going to stay that way, and too many things in my life have been too good to be true, and yet they were true!!  I went to the house, and it was indeed beautiful. If I got the space, my room would have its own bathroom and walk-in closet.  Furniture needed to stay, and thankfully, I had no furniture!  A sweet dog greeted me.  The house was decorated grandma-style, doilies, child-sized dolls and fringe were everywhere.  Still, I was not detoured.  I knew it was either this or a party-house and I would much rather have this.  Not only that, but it was located 3 miles from Venice Beach.  And fyi, there are very few potholes going from the west side to central Los Angeles.

I suppose, if you are a glass is half empty type, you might be happy to hear that there are a lot of drawbacks.  There are rules in every shape and direction, ranging from smelly foods to doing laundry past 9pm or before 9am.  I have to be extremely quiet and yet, the entire family is incredibly loud, waking me up at night sometimes, and waking me up in the morning.  We’re talking Italian loud, screaming, talkative, etc.   There is a cat and a dog and the house does smell like cat and dog.  And the dog did pee in my room one time…and that was the last time that dog was in my room.  So I keep my room super clean and always have a couple of windows open for ventilation.  And there are other things….but I really don’t want to complain about all fo them.  Let’s just say, you have to be as tolerant as a Saint and if it weren’t for my room, the amenities and the view, I would have been out of that house yesterday.  All in all, it’s a wonderful place and I got really lucky.  We’re talking L.A. here.  There is never an easy room-mate situation, so I am not complaining!  When my husband comes to visit, we have to either find other arrangements or pay an extra $35 for him to stay the night.  For now, we find other arrangements because we can’t afford the nightly stay.

I was feeling the money crunch.  Between my husband living in his own place, and me living in my own place, and of course gas, I was feeling extremely frustrated that we were no further ahead really than we were before.  So I decided that I needed a second job.  I have a lot of experience in serving, and one of my goals was to become fit, so I decided to combine the two.  I needed to find a place that wouldn’t work me too much, but would provide exercise as well as that extra little bit of cash that I needed so I wouldn’t feel so strapped.

Needless to say, I was having a VERY difficult time finding a job.  Beach jobs especially were highly coveted.  Of course, it had only been a couple of weeks…..

I reluctantly went to an interview at a Bowling Alley far from my home.  I just knew I was going to get the job.  It would be a lot of traveling, exactly what I didn’t want.  And sure enough, I got the job.  I started working there the day after the interview.  Training was minimal, so I began earning tips right away.  The commute didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would because it was at night and I was getting tired of looking for jobs and going to interviews.  Looking for jobs is a job in itself.  Plus, I was having to learn so much at the bowling alley, I was feeling overwhelmed from all the cramming of information.  And I will tell you more about that in a moment….

In the meantime, I had also gone to an interview at the art school that I had taken my last class on Maya.  An opening for a position where you do a trade-your-time-for-a-class had come up.  This is a highly coveted spot and the positions are almost always filled, so again, I got super lucky.  Partly my luckiness is due to my consistent drive.  I asked on numerous occasions if there was a position opening.  And at first, I got no answer.  And then I got a no.  But I always keep asking, because until I get the answer from the right person, or better yet, from all decision makers, then the answer in my head is that there’s still a possibility.  I hadn’t heard that there was a trade, and I never knew of a school that did a trade, but call it intuition, I had a feeling that there might be.  And at $1,800 per class, I couldn’t pass it up!  So now I was going to be working at my part-time gig, the studio, as well as 12 hours a week at the art school, along with working at the Bowling alley and on top of that, take a class.  I didn’t know how long I could keep it all up, but figured I would just have to try.

So that’s why I was getting information overload.  I had started class, ZBrush, a highly technical 3D software program, along with learning the computer system at the Bowling alley.  You’d think that was no big deal, but it was actually quite complicated.  The computer system at the Bowling Alley is so un-intuitive that they’re getting a whole new system soon.  Along with learning that, the menu and how they do things, I also had to learn about the leagues.  Different leagues come in, and they expect to be treated like royalty.  They expect for you to learn their name and their drink.  And each time you bring them a new drink, they close out the tab.  So it’s important to remember their name and drink because the next time you see them, well every time you see them, they’ll just point to their empty drink, suggesting that they get another.  And since you don’t have a tab open anymore, everything has to be done on memory.  And it’s so fast paced, it’s impossible to just keep the tickets with you and organized.  So you have to throw the tickets away, or else you’d have a giant pile.  It’s constant running, all the while playing a game of concentration with the drinks, the names and the computer system.

But I have to say that I’m starting to smooth everything out.  I finally got the Bowling Alley to give me only two shifts a week so that my weekends are free and that I’m not overloaded during the week.  Working their means super late nights, so I do find it a bit exhausting.  But, I’m getting the hang of how to balance everything.

Back when I went to art school in Boston and worked several jobs as well, I might not have had RA but I had a uber busy schedule.  I learned how to balance my schedule based on what was going on.  I’d take time off one place, to make it work for another.  It wasn’t easy, in fact, it was one of the most difficult times of my life.  But it taught me that I could survive, even through the toughest of situations.  I find this situation that I’m currently in, MUCH MUCH MUCH easier than that!  So, let’s just say I’m not sweating it, even with the RA.

Speaking of RA, how is my RA you ask?  Well, if you don’t know anything about RA, one thing to know is that when you amp up the exercise, you often flare.  When you amp up stress, you flare.  And when you don’t get enough sleep, you flare again.  My RA was VERY controlled before I started all the moving and other jobs.  So I was expecting the flares before they happened.  I’ve been using prednisone to get out of my flares.  It’s effective in the short-term, but what will I do for the long run?  Well, I’m planning on taking exclzyme 2af to help bring my cortisone levels back to normal.  I’ve also been learning a lot about Kefir from a girl on Daily Strength.  Her advice is to buy the grains and make it yourself so that you get the real thing.  As well, once you buy the grains, you never have to buy them again because they continue to grow or something like that.  So I bought myself a starter kit but I know even that stuff aren’t the “official” grains.  Basically we’ve genetically modified the grains so they will die, meaning so you HAVE to buy new grains.  But the real stuff, stuff you can buy from the UK doesn’t die and continues to make new grains.  Kefir is supposed to have all the ingredients we are lacking as autoimmune diseased individuals according to this girl that I spoke with.  So whether this is true or not, I have no idea, as I haven’t done research yet.  But why wait when I can start enjoying Kefir today and see what happens, right?  Supposedly Kefir is supposed to have protein that our bodies can digetst, B12 and calcium and there’s some kind of complicated process that our bodies can’t handle, which is why other foods just don’t suffice.  I will let you know if there are any dramatic changes.  I know that many people like to do one thing at a time and see what works.  I simply don’t do things that way…it would take far too long for me to ever get better.  I try bunches of things and then after taking them for a while, stop taking something.  If I notice a difference after a couple of weeks, I say to myself, “What am I not taking that’s making me worse?”  Then I buy the product again and if I start to get better, I say, “Aha!  It’s probably this.”  And I might go through that process several times.  If I stop taking something and no change happens, then I assume that it’s not strong enough to work, or something along those lines.  I am not a science project, out to prove what works and what doesn’t.  I’m a living, breathing person, looking for the best treatments in the shortest amount of time.

So I guess the shortened answer on how my RA is doing is that I take it day by day, but for the most part, it is fairly controlled and I am doing well.  AND, the bowling brace I use for carrying heavy trays really really helps!  :)  Many wishes that your days are filled with fun, enjoyment and feeling good and I hope to keep on posting on what’s new with me!

Thank you for checking in!-Sarah

Kathlene Turner: From Turning Heads to Turning Her Life Upside Down

Kathleen Turner and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Kathleen Turner and Rheumatoid Arthritis

We know her as a sexual siren who inspired us by her beauty, intellect and charm from “Romancing the Stone”.  And she scared the wits out of us in “War of the Roses”.  For those not following her career, she pretty much dropped out of the lime light for a lengthy period of time. What happened?

She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis!!

Here’s a little snip it of life for Kathleen during that time:

In my mid-40s, I reached the jolting realization – after decades of assuming I was fertile – that I couldn’t get pregnant again. We went to see infertility specialists to ask about in-vitro fertilisation, but they told me my eggs were probably no longer viable.

Next, we considered using a younger woman’s eggs and Jay’s sperm. However, we would probably have had to use a surrogate mother – and that made me feel incredibly left out. In the end, the obstacles seemed insurmountable, but that didn’t make the fact that I couldn’t have another child any less devastating. For a time, I felt as if I wasn’t a woman any more.

While all this was going on, I had also discovered I was suffering from a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis, which was a complete and total nightmare.

I’d always felt I could do almost anything that required physical strength and skill. I took pride in doing my own stunts. And suddenly all of this was stripped away and my body could respond only with excruciating pain whenever I tried to move it.

My joints swelled up so badly that I could hardly walk. Some days I was in so much agony I couldn’t even climb out of bed. Jay was very, very supportive. He must have been terribly fed up with my problems, though. The greatest shock to me was how I lost belief in my own attractiveness, my own desirability, everything.

With my loss of confidence went a loss of sexuality. That’s a strain on a marriage, a strain that is multilayered.

My condition made sex difficult because, physically, everything hurt so badly that it was so hard to feel sexy, hard for me to be a good partner, hard to be intimate. There was no position that didn’t hurt like hell.

When my pain from the illness was at its worst, I discovered that vodka killed it quite wonderfully. I didn’t want to take painkillers because I didn’t like the way they mucked up my mind, so I used alcohol instead. Stupidly, I didn’t consider that alcohol mucks up your mind, too.

The drinking fed a self-destructive spiral. Like the drugs I was taking for the arthritis, alcohol was a depressant – and when I took them in combination, their depressive effects multiplied. I started to question whether life was really worth living.-Daily Mail

Kathleen Turner is now back in the lime light and spending much of her energy on Broadway.  She’s also written a book about love and life with Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as her career as a Hollywood star.

Kathleen Turner

Kathleen Turner

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