Oh Bummer!

I let this old post get buried…It was written probably about eight months ago.  So here it is to all those who might be interested in reading it:

For many of you who are not aware, a few weeks ago, people who lived in the L.A. and N.Y. area were contacted through Daily Strength to audition for a Rheumatoid Arthritis commercial.  Luckily, the very day that it was posted, I contacted Sessions West Studios and scheduled for an audition.  But here’s the thing….I’m terrible at public speaking.  My knees get week, I start to sweat and shake, and you would think I was about ready to go into convulsions.  The director at the studio was very sweet and did his best to get a good take of my audition.  I was hoping I would just be going in to talk about my experience with RA.  No such luck however.  They required actual acting!

Thinking that I had completely blown my chances, I got back to work with a sad look on my face.  I really wanted the gig, and the pay wasn’t too shabby!  My finances were particularly poor at the moment.   My husband was out of work, I was working part time and barely surviving, wondering how my husband and I would get through the next few months.  That $4000 could keep us going!  So the pressure was definitely there.  It’s like someone handed me a check and said you can have this if you can just do this one thing right.  And in this case, it’s acting!

That day I got a phone call from the casting studio.  “You have a call back” they said!  I was thrilled, to say the least!  My nerves were at an all time high as I waited for the next call to let me know what time.  Days passed.  When I never received the call, I started to grow worried.  The call back was for Friday and here it was Thursday.  Was it just a mistake?  Was I not getting a call back?  Finally that afternoon, the phone rang again with the time I was needed to come in on Friday.

I arrived at the Santa Monica studio, after having rehearsed from what I could remember of the script.  “My RA is not the same as your RA” I kept repeating in my head.  But when I got there, my nerves just got worse.  The people around me chosen for the call back looked beautiful and confident.  When they called my name, my legs started to tremble again.  This time there were more people watching me and a different director.  Everything had changed, the room, the placement of the camera, and even how I was to say my lines.  I became as stiff as a board without even noticing.  The director tried to get me to be relaxed in front of the camera, but for the life of me, no matter how much I wanted the gig, it just wasn’t happening.  I told him, “If I can just get my knees to stop shaking, I’ll be ok.”  He chuckled.

They took two takes and then had me wait out in the lobby.  They called two girls back and sent me home.  “thanks”, they said.  I walked out to my car, holding back tears.  I was so close.  I wanted it so badly.  I needed it, but it was too late.

And now you’re hoping for a happy ending.  Well, I’m not sure I can deliver what you may think so just keep reading…  I knew I didn’t get the gig I was hoping for, but what I did get was another call.  “We’re thinking about using you for print,” they said.  I didn’t hear back from them for several days.  I got a call back and they said, “The print job is no longer available but we may use you as a hand model.”  Hand model?  Crazy…never thought of my swollen fingers as being great for modeling.

It was fun being on the list of producers, directors, photographers, etc.  as “talent”.  It was definitely a fun experience!!  I was also used a little in part of the commercial, where you see my shoulder and barely the side of my face.  It’s unrecognizable really, but I had a good time. I was a little concerned that my hands were swelling more and more.  I was part of a clinical trial at the moment, and so I was getting worse because the medication I was taking for it was giving me a reaction.  And I wondered if I would be turned away.  But the truth is, I think the director made up the job for me.  He told me, he had never had an actress be so honest.  And he told everyone what I said on set, about how if I could just get my knees to stop shaking, I’d be ok.  He thought that was so endearing, he said, that he wanted to find a way to make me part of this.  Awwww.  What can I say, How cool is that?

So here I was, on a shoot, watching the commercial be created right before my eyes.  I’m in the entertainment business, so this wasn’t too crazy for me, but what was great was that one of the girls, the print model became a good friend.  Both were from N.Y.  The other girl, is a dancer in N.Y. for Broadway.  I got to eat great food.  I got to be part of the commercial on both days.  And as a hand model, the pay was not bad!  So it wasn’t much compared to what it could have been, but I was still very very grateful!  And the commercial came out excellent.  The girl who acted in was fantastic and I just loved her voice for the part!

So as you can see, when an opportunity comes along, I take it!  And it works the same way for this disease… I give most things a chance, given that I’ve looked into the possibilities on how it will affect me.  Life is full of opportunities and new experiences if you let it!  And I don’t believe that things are always, “too good to be true.”  Sometimes things are simply too good and too true.  :)

My first journal entry on Daily Strength: Aug 8, 2007

To those of you who wake up every morning in pain, or sit for a few minutes and have trouble getting up……or feel weak, tired…. depressed…….. or have people who don’t really understand……… to those of you who keep trying everything you can to get rid of your flare, hoping to just get back to your normal self……….. and to those of you who are saddened that you can’t do the things you use to do……..like pick up a child, or open up that bottle of water, or take off your bra. Yes, there are days I can, but plenty of days that I can’t. And to those of you that read online things like, “arthritis is possibly caused by poor diets, lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyle…etc.” and get frustrated because you exercise everyday, eat healthfully and always have, etc…………………

I can relate………and, I want to hear from you!!!

I’m certainly not going to loose hope that I can’t get back a semi normal lifestyle. Plus, with medical advancements, you just never know.

But for now, I continue on my journey wanting to hear from all of you……..in our quest to improve the life we have and to share with each-other R.A. which I truly believe no one understands until you have it.

For instance, I love to exercise and I always have. When I exercise I do feel better. But during a time when I’m not having a flare……..I still can’t do….say… yoga. There are just simply things I can not do. I can’t bend my wrists like I use to……and I’ve lost a lot of strength. When I’m not in a full blown flare, I excersize as much as possible while I can. When I am going through a flare (which I am now) and just so you know, I’ve been on prednisone for 8 months………and now I’m on methotrexate for the first time as well as still on the pred. I’m having of course nausea and hair loss. It sucks and I’m not sure I really want to be on this medicine. At first I thought I did, but I just don’t know anymore…….even though I don’t have any better ideas. But anyway, exercise baffles me. Because now that I’m flaring again hard core, I’m still going to the gym. When I get there it takes all of my effort to get myself moving. But once I start moving, it gets a bit better……and continues to improve slightly (never like it use to) but enough that I’m feeling more confident and happy. The moment I stop…..like literally take a step off the elliptical, I feel as though I’m right back to normal again, meaning pain and stiffness, and it takes all of me to get myself out of the gym and back in the car. Sometimes I have to pull on my legs to get them up on the elliptical.

How many of you have tripped on your way into the shower because it’s too hard to lift your legs? Or how about…..how many of you have worried about your driving skills now that it’s difficult to turn your head and the steering wheel? Any of this sound familiar?

On my last day to drink for a long time which was Sat when I went to this amazing wedding. I drank too much of course, champagne, etc. I exercised that day already so I could feel better in the evening. I took prednisone and plenty of pain killers. I know, I know, terrible on my liver. I didn’t start Methotrexate until last night which was on Doctor’s advice………he knew I’d be bingeing on sat. Anyway, my point: So there I was at the wedding, tipsy, dancing, and having a great time…..the most limber and energetic I had been in a while. And a woman I know who is a friend of mine and knows of my R.A………we were walking partners and with my last flare I had to stop the early mornings… Anyway she said, mockingly, “Your rheumatoid isn’t bothering you now is it?” and it felt so……….you know, like you must be faking this sort of thing.

O.k. now you heard me vent. Ahhhh, this is what a journal is all about.

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