My Walk with Progress

I’ve been very reluctant to write about how I’ve been doing lately because I’ve been feeling significant improvements. Reluctant because I know the relief I am feeling could be snatched away from me without a moments notice. The knowledge that things can change at the drop of a hat with this disease causes me to hold my breath each time my feet touch the ground in the morning. I’ve woken up too many times with a body part on fire and inflamed and any hope of progress seemingly less tangible.

I’m experiencing less pain, particularly in my feet and I’m able to do so much more. I have moments when I forget about the pain in the midst of my activities. I don’t wake up stiff, I haven’t been affected by the temperatures dropping to freezing, most days I don’t feel the need to take a nap during the day and I haven’t needed to ice my feet since Thanksgiving. It has been wonderful. The improvements have been so gradual over the past few months that they almost seem surreal.

I believe the antibiotic protocol I’ve been on has been helping me tremendously in my battle. But I also believe that the diet modifications I have made have helped to lessen the load on my body in it’s attempt to repair. I have yet to sit down and write about my discoveries because they are extensive and reach all the way back to shortly after I was diagnosed. There is so much I want to share and so much information to organize. I look forward to sharing in the new year.

I’ve realized that the improvements I have been feeling have caused me to go through some of the same emotions I experienced when I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Acceptance has been the biggest one. Accepting a diagnosis takes time to process. For me, it took a lot of time. I wrestled with a million thoughts and emotions, sifted through tons of research and quite frankly, didn’t buy what I was being told by the doctors. I’m not quite sure when I arrived at a place of acceptance. But I did. Not in a lying down, roll over dead sort of way. But in a way that left me with a sense of peace.

Lately, I have struggled with accepting that I really do feel better. Do I really feel improvements or is it just my comfy new shoes making the time on my feet more bearable I wonder? (Why am I just now learning about Naots?!) Do I really feel better or have I just gotten used to a certain level of pain? Do I really feel better or am I just able to push through the pain a little stronger? But there really shouldn’t be any doubt because compared to my life a few months ago, I’m kicking butt.

I keep pushing the envelope to figure out the extent of my improvements. I walk further, park further, jump longer on my rebounder, spend more time on my feet. And I do well. There is a part of my brain that knows for a fact that it’s real and another part that doesn’t want to get hurt. I feel like I have to keep up my guard in a sense. The same way that people often protect their hearts after they’ve gone through a terrible relationship. Because I know that this disease is so unpredictable and could hurt me at any moment.

Here are a few of the things I’ve done lately that I couldn’t do six months or a year ago that help to dispel any doubts I have:

Park at the farthest end of a parking lot at a large grocery store and cover the entire store. (Only to be disgusted by endless aisles of garbage. Sorry, it’s so true.) I couldn’t even think about doing this before.

Climb a giant tree in my front yard to hang lights on the farthest ends of the branches. Last year, I could barely stand on level ground outside, which made my attempt to help pretty pathetic.

Walk down my stairs straight in the morning and run up them when needed. I’m so used to coming down sideways while grimacing every morning due to the pain in my heels and ankle. And I used to hate it when I forgot something upstairs. The climb up was painful and never fun. Now I can run up them when needed.

Shop with my honey all over the place this past weekend. I would have been a terrible mess last year after just one store.

Spend five hours in the car with only one break to stretch. Our last trip up north in May was a very uncomfortable one. Stepping out of the car and straightening out was very painful.

The tender spots on my joints (particularly my feet) are still there and are very sensitive to the touch. I touch them frequently to gage how they are doing. And my right ankle still appears swollen and throbs with pain constantly. But the pain in my feet is definitely more manageable and the improvements in my fingers and wrist have held steady for months now.

I don’t have much time left with the particular antibiotics I am on right now which makes me a little nervous since I am seeing incredible results. I have just over a month left before my doctor said we have to call it quits to avoid antibiotic resistance to the drugs I am taking. I am praying for wisdom concerning my next step. I am considering a couple different approaches and have presented literature and protocols to my rheumatologist that he is unfamiliar with. At my last appointment this month he said he would research what I shared with him and talk with me about it at my next appointment in January.

I am writing from my mother in law’s house right now. We made the trip here a couple days ago and will be here for Christmas. The last time I was here, I left in the worst pain I have been in since then. I think a great deal of it was from the MSG I consumed in the Chinese food I ate while here. This time, I brought bags of my own groceries and have prepared my own food while here. Whenever we’ve eaten out, I’ve been able to focus on my little guy and play with him as opposed to juggling eating and entertaining him. It’s a pain to cook here, but well worth the effort I believe. So far, so good. I am determined to leave here in roughly the same level of pain I arrived in.

It’s Christmas time! God sent us His son. The greatest gift we will ever be given! The sweetest offer of  hope for eternity. The promise of life everlasting in a beautiful place with Him. And you know what that means–new bodies that are one day healthy and pain free!

The birth of Jesus was more than the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. It was more than the virgin birth, the great company of angels that appeared, the star and the wise men. The story is really about Jesus… God in the flesh… here among us… bringing hope and life to all who ask. (Copied from Citizen Link)

May this Christmas be a wonderful and blessed experience for you and your families. Merry Christmas and may God bless each one you!