November 7, 2011

RA and Waiting

Last year, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. And at the beginning of this year, I learned that I had a very aggressive type of RA that needed to immediately be treated with medication. However, I opted out of the medicine until my doctor deemed it absolutely necessary.

Almost miraculously, every symptom I had went away in February and I felt normal again. Like I had never even had it all, even though I knew what it was like to not be able to put on my own bra or turn the key in my car. Everything had gone away. I've spent the whole year living basically RA free.

And then this last Friday came around. I spent the day cleaning my bathroom and doing laundry and by the end of the day my feet hurt so bad I could hardly walk. And to my dismay, the pain stuck around for the rest of the weekend and spread to my knees as well.

It seems as though the symptoms have returned. This morning, my hands were swollen - and not painful or stiff, but the first signs that it could be something more. A feeling of dread washed over me at what this might mean.

It's not the pain I'm afraid of. It's not even the limited ability to function that has me down. And yeah that sucks, but the physical pain is the lesser pain.

It's the truth of what I have in my body that's gnawing at my heart. That taking the medication necessary to treat this disease is a death sentence to my dream of having another baby. The medication I need cannot be taken if you are pregnant or trying to be, as it would cause major complications and birth defects for the baby or even kill it inside of me. And it's too soon to know if the return of the symptoms means that I will have to get on the medication sooner than I'd like to, but the mere thought leaves me full of emotion.

I'm looking back on some of this year with regret. At places where evil gained ground and robbed Todd and I of several months of joy with one another. At taking my ability to move with ease for granted and almost pretending like my RA just didn't exist. It feels tempting to believe that I've lived foolishly and I've just wasted time.

This morning I'm left with questions and yet another choice about what I will decide to believe about God in this.

In the last couple of months and more so in the last few weeks, I have been enjoying the kind of intimacy and closeness that I have longed desired to share with Him and haven't because my anger, pride and woundedness had gotten in the way. I have felt new - my walk with God has felt new.

As I've thought about my achy joints and the cherry-wood crib frame hanging on the garage wall awaiting a much desired baby #2, I still believe that God is good. That His plan is still best even if it means that Tommy is our only natural-born child. That I can still look forward to my future with hope because of who God is, not because I have everything that my heart desires.

Sometimes at church it feels like God uses things to speak just to my heart. I had the privilege of leading a song on worship team yesterday called Made me Glad. The chorus says, "You are my shield, my strength, my fortress, Deliverer, my Shelter, Strong Tower, my very present help in time of need." Those words are true, and yet do I live them and believe them? Do they apply with the struggles I carry, with my RA, with my yet unmet desires to have another baby? The sermon invited me to rest and wait in God's love and goodness instead of trying to rush His power. Those words pierced many places in my story and what life looks like too, even in regards to my RA.

Today I am waiting. I am not waiting for God to do something. I am not waiting for a baby. I am not waiting for my RA symptoms to go away. I am not waiting for God to show up and show off in mighty and powerful ways, even though He could.

I am not waiting for Him to do something. I am just waiting on Him.


  1. That's got to be so stressful knowing you have a little time bomb waiting to go off :( Have you talked to your Dr about maybe some help in getting pregnant a little faster?

  2. Oh girl, definitely sending prayers your way. I love that worship song, I pray that God will speak to you in your times of struggle.

  3. My heart is with you today. Thinking of you and hoping with you.

    Miss you dear friend.

  4. Waiting with you my friend. I love you lots.

  5. My sister has Juvenile Arthritis-- and hers acts like RA-- In my research (I think rx should be used sparingly) I read that HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) and it's many relatives cause flare ups for people with many kinds of Arthritis-- My parents switched her to all organics, and no HFCS and she's off the steroids and is functioning normally-- I think she might be on one med still-- but she went from 4 meds to 1 by switching that one part of her diet. Might be worth a shot-- but keep in mind that HFCS is called many things.

    Ryan @ Thismustbetheplaceryan

  6. Seriously. Are we the same person? I don't have RA, but I do have another disease, which has also been asymptomatic for almost a year. If I had to take medication for it, I'd be in the same position as you with it not being safe to have children. It's a strange place to be.

    Thinking about you. I hope tomorrow is better.