Today is my sister’s anniversary. 51 years of married life. I can hardly comprehend that. That’s almost as long as I’ve lived on this earth.
We don’t keep in touch. She lives far away. All my sisters live far away. We don’t keep in touch, ever.
Sometimes that feels strange to me, and at other times, I don’t think about it at all. It just is.
But this wasn’t what I planned to write about.
I planned to write about guilt. One type of guilt, for there is always a variety of it to go around.
As I go through my entries on this blog, and compile those I might possibly use, all sorts of memories are being triggered. Some memories have nothing to do with RA, while others send me headlong into the world of constant pain that I lived in for what I assumed would be forever.
There’s no denying that RA changed me. It changed my outlook on life. It changed my ability to function, productively as well as effectively. It changed my career and career focus. It changed the trajectory of my future.
But looking back from ten-plus years, for I really do not know when this dis-ease arrived, I cannot say it is a bad thing. Not entirely.
I have benefited from the care of a wonderful doctor, who puts up with my self-treatment and self-diagnosis. Perhaps my intimate involvement with my treatment process has meant the difference. For though I no longer practice in the field, I cannot stop being a nurse. I cannot stop wanting to bring wellness to those whose lives I touch.
I have seen the depths and I have seen the light, to use one worn out cliché. And because of that, I feel guilt.
Guilt that while others suffer excruciatingly from this ailment on a daily basis, I am forced to agree with my doctor’s mantra. “You are doing very well,” he says to me after every visit.
And I am. I feel better and more mobile than before RA checked in.
I’m not really sure what I have done to make this happen. From the research of my writings, both posted here and those still tucked away in my journals, I suppose I will find out, glean some sort of insight. Is it diet? Is it exercise? Is it love? Is it companionship? Is it finding like-minded friends to talk to? Is it knowing that people out there care about me? Is it caring for others? Is it all of the above?
I know that the treatment for RA is not a one-size-fits-all. But perhaps my story might help. Just a little bit.