February 16, 2015

Foolishness, surrender and rheumatoid arthritis

It's easy to feel foolish.  Like when you make that one mistake that leaves you feeling like an idiot.  Or when you assume something to be true and it ends up not being that way.  We can make asses of ourselves and say dumb things.  (I do this frequently).  Or in my case, thinking that this thing had gone away forever - when it hasn't.

I guess you could say, I am feeling foolish.

When pain consumed my entire body head to toe, and then suddenly disappeared, I decided a miracle happened.  And whatever my blood-work had said before or whatever the diagnosis had been, I claimed that something miraculous took place.  And maybe it did.  It was miraculous that my Rheumatoid Arthritis, diagnosed as a severely aggressive case, went dormant. 

Well, until now that is. 

I've been in denial for months.  It started in October of last year.  I remember waking up with that familiar feeling, though at the time, was only a slight discomfort and stiffness in my fingers.  And as the months progressed, pain came with it, spreading to knees and elbows and ankles.  I was keeping it "at bay" with over the counter pain relievers and after the morning time, I was fine again.  I guess I kept hoping it would go away as miraculously as it had before.

But, it hasn't.  It's only gotten increasingly worse.  And I've been left sitting in my foolishness.

The last two weeks have been especially terrible.  My hands were taking longer to stretch out from their deformed state in the morning - these frozen, stiff fingers curled under.  And the pain was so bad in my hands that it would wake me up at night just shifting in my sleep or adjusting my covers.  And I realized that it was my choice to be feeling this pain - all I needed to do was go see my doctor.  But in going, I would have to admit that something was wrong again.  That my body needs help.  That there is damage happening in my joints and I need to have all of this checked out again so I still have a chance to live and thrive even if it means medications and treatments that, honestly, scare the hell out of me.

Calling my doctor felt like surrender and defeat.  Like this thing has beat me and I lost.  I couldn't heal myself enough or do something right enough to make this auto-immune thing go away forever.  As if I had made it go away on my own the first time.  But I've been beating myself up, going to shame and self-contempt.  Feeling broken and diseased.  And again, feeling foolish.

I recognize this pattern.  I do the same thing anytime I feel the need to see my counselor.  Or when I need to go back and rehash a piece of my story that is making my heart bleed out all over again.  I have these expectations of myself to have my shit together all the time because somehow I believe I should have arrived and have all of the answers for all of the things and be able to live fully and whole and alive all the time. I hate asking for help.  And I have a love-hate relationship with the feeling of surrender that comes with it.  Both great fear and great relief at the same time.

In the last few days, when I've allowed myself to slow down enough to be still, I have found myself spinning in anxiety.  Traveling down the what-if roads of my past and future, and afraid of what will be diagnosed in the present.  It is always hard to fight to stay present in these moments instead of jumping into the next season prematurely. 

When I can quiet my heart enough, I hear Him though.  He is faithful to speak to my heart even when I've done nothing but doubt and question and distance myself from Him.  His sweet, soft voice that whispers the familiar truths - My grace is sufficient for you.  My strength is made perfect in your weakness.  Be strong, be courageous - for I am with you.  I will never leave you or forsake you.  Don't worry about tomorrow.  Come to me with your heaviness and heartache and I will give you rest.  I love you.

He never calls me foolish.

I go in on Monday and in the meantime, she gave me some meds to help with the inflammation and pain.  Tonight, I am sitting in that middle ground of surrender where I am greatly afraid and so incredibly grateful for some rest and relief.

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