Monthly Archives: January 2016

That Which is Me

I usually don’t focus on how sick I was. Mayhap I’m hoping that if I “forget” it, I won’t have to relive it.

But I was. Sick, sick, sick. So sick it made me sick to my stomach. You know, holding-the-bile-down kind of sick while you try to function with every single cell on fire, and without letting on how vilely ill you truly are. I even withheld the truth from my rheumatologist. The real one, not the “fake” one who let this disease land me in the emergency room, excuse me, emergency department.

I’m fine, I would say, not letting on that it took every drop of willpower to lift myself off of the waiting room chair, which I’d been locked into for hours, and walk as unobtrusively as possible down the hallway to the exam room. I refused to show that every step was agony. I was a pretender, pretending that nothing was wrong with me.

The lab numbers told a different story of course. Your blood cannot lie as well as you can. But, hey, everyone has an individual tolerance for pain, a pain threshold all their own. Therefore, he accepted my story that it hurt here and there, but not too bad. When in truth the pain was so bad I wanted to run down the street screaming, except that I physically couldn’t do that.

And then, everything changed. I don’t really know if it was gradual or all at once. But I’m pretty sure that what jump-started the process was me taking a breather from my job. That’s all I thought it was. I’ll just rest a few months, I thought. Those months turned into years, and still counting.

And then my kid graduated and went off to college. Check! Last kid launched.

And then, I started to actually pay attention to me. I was no longer a pain-wracked automaton. I was a person, a person with needs and wants. And my biggest want was for the pain to go away. I was feeling better, thinking better, the brain fog was all but gone and I realized that I wasn’t going to continue to go downhill and die.

I was going to live! So I began to celebrate, with spirits. No, not with THE spirits, but the spirits that come in a bottle. In the Before, I could count the drinks I had during a year on one hand and have fingers left over. I went from being a near teetotaler to having one drink, maybe two, in a single week.

And that numbed the pain even more. Not the orange juice with the dash of vodka or the glass of sweet white wine, but the thought that I was letting myself enjoy life, whatever life was still left to me.

And that loosened up my inhibitions, voilà, to the winds. I grabbed my pen and I began to write, and write and write. Millions of words either gushed forth or were purged from my lowest depths. A catharsis, or an enema for the soul, who’s to know?

All I knew, know,  is that my new-found energy and sense of well-being was the biggest high money could buy. I exercised, or maybe exorcised, my bane away. I don’t know what produced more endorphins, my daily workouts or my renewed sense of self.

Or perhaps it was the anxiety seeping out of me,  along with the steady flow of blue ink from my pen, that made the difference. Who needed a couch when I had my blank page? I found me on those pages, and though my writing did tend to lean toward the hopeful and sentimental, it did sometimes take a turn toward the naughty.

But nice.


 You look so sweet,
so smooth and slick. I
wrap my hand around your
stem. My fingers grasp and
gently tug that which is you to
bring you close and firmly wrap
my lips around your rounded rim
whose velvety feel brings forth
ambrosia the gods themselves
were not allowed. I take a sip
inhale deep the silken fluid
clear as the light that
gushes forth, ever
so sweet, blankets
my tongue. I
savory dew, that which is you

 (© 2011 Irma A Navarro)






Beginnings and Endings

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, I made the mistake of making my blog title its URL. Consequently, it will always be, or if I don’t pay up:

I liked the idea of beating this thing. Beating it to a pulp. And I did, almost. But, it has a way of rising from the depths, so . . .

One way I describe this dis-ease to family and friends who don’t understand how it works is to compare it to the game Whac-a-Mole. In this game, little moles pop out at random and you have to force them back into their holes by hitting them with a mallet. And you have to be quick about it.

RA works the same way. You can be going along, living your life, and then wham! a mole pops up in the shape of a swollen, reddened, painful joint. And then, you have to stop in your tracks and grab your medical mallet, before it has time to cause permanent damage.

You never know when the mole, I mean RA, will pop up. You just have to always be ready for when the roulette wheel stops on the wrong number. And you have to hope that the little rolling ball of pain doesn’t land on red. For red is the color of RA.

I’ve been wanting to change this blog’s name for a long time, and it seems like today is a good day to try something out. There are many other things I want to get done this year. Many creative things that I have been putting off for want of the perfect title, format, structure, etc. Therefore, it seems fortuitous that the Spanish word for the day today is acabar, which means to end, to finish.

Alas, I cannot finish with RA. And it’s the one relationship I would love to acabar. Perhaps one day there will be a way, if not for me, then for others. But until that day comes, I will  continue playing to win. RA/RD cannot beat me while I persevere to meet my goals in life.

I wish you all the best that this new year has to offer. In all that you do.


*The photo in the header was taken from our hotel balcony in Coconut Grove, Florida.