Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Body Is Different

Last night, APL and I were talking about the Remicade infusion I was supposed to get this morning. Thinking to the last Remicade disaster, I stupidly said “Well, it couldn’t possibly take any longer than last time could it?” To which APL hurriedly replied, “Don’t jinx it!!!” Too late.

I’ve been extremely achy and sore for the past couple of days. I guess that’s what they call a “flare.” So, needless to say, I didn’t have an easy time getting myself out of bed for my 9:00 am appointment. I was about to head out the door when I noticed a voicemail on my phone. It was from the nurse. I called her back.

Last week I saw the rheumatologist and he decided to try increasing my dose of Remicade. The nurse told me that there was a problem with the paperwork, and my insurance hadn’t approved the increase yet. So, if I came in today, I wouldn’t be able to get the increased dose. She said she could get it worked out in a couple of days. So we rescheduled my infusion for next Wednesday. Turns out that Dose 4 of Remicade is going to beat Dose 3 by a landslide. Dose 3 may have taken six hours, but Dose 4 is going to take six days!

Luckily, I had plenty of time to reschedule the appointment. Seeing as the semester just started on Monday it might seem odd to some of you that I have any time at all. Well, the semester did start…but I didn’t start with it. I’ve decided to take the semester off from school to concentrate on getting healthy.

The decision to take the semester off has been brewing for a while. It started during the insane intensity of finals, grew during my post-finals total exhaustion, and blossomed over the weeks of vacation where I didn’t find my health improving all that much. The thought of starting a new semester while still not feeling well and in a state of un-recovered exhaustion slowly became unthinkable. Taking some time to set my body and my mind straight became the only option.

Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to blog about it so that my feelings about this decision would make sense to people reading it. My body, mind, and heart are certain it is the right decision. I need this time to finally figure out how to deal properly with my RA so I can get on with my life feeling good, not soldering on just because. But, at the same time, I’m not entirely happy with the decision. I know that I am smart and capable. I even managed to do well in my classes last semester, despite the struggle. I’m also worried that once I run out of paperwork and doctor’s appointments to concentrate on, I’m going to drive myself nuts with my lack of things to do this spring.

But, my cousin KF sent me some extremely relevant words of wisdom. KF also has RA, and she has been a really good source of info and support for me since my diagnosis. Even though she lives on the east coast and we don’t talk much, it’s been good for me to have someone I knew personally that understands just how yucky I feel. She has also proved to be a really good model for adapting to the challenges of RA and still living a happy life. KF and her husband just adopted a beautiful baby girl. This baby is seriously adorable! I can’t get enough of the pictures!

Recently, KF also made a difficult decision, though certainly a bigger decision than mine. She decided to resign from her job and stay home with the baby full time to lessen her stress and provide the care that her new daughter needed. She told me that she wasn’t entirely happy with her decision either, because so many other women manage to balance their families and careers, and she knew that she was at least as smart as any of them. But, she said, she has realized that while she may be as smart and capable as any of them, her body is just different. And she’s right. While my mind may be totally capable of law school right now, my body just isn’t. My body is different and I have to learn how to take care of it.

So thank you very much, KF, for helping me understand that taking this semester off is no failing on my part. It’s time to adapt to the new direction my life is going. And I hope your decision serves the same purpose for you. Hugs and kisses to your baby girl!!

On a sort of unrelated note: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMA!!! I love you!!!


~kelly marie~ said...

You are amazing. I am so proud of you for making this huge and difficult decision and doing it with grace. I am so glad you are at peace with your decision too.

When I read this: "While my mind may be totally capable of law school right now, my body just isn’t. My body is different and I have to learn how to take care of it.", it gave me so much peace. I have been trying to figure that out for 6 years. I think every time I feel badly about something I am going to go back and read that sentence.

I hope you get your Remicade soon and that this time off gets you back to where you want to be!

A said...

You constantly amaze and inspire me, Z. I think your words ring true for so many people in so many different ways. I'm so proud of you for doing what's best for your body. It's a big step, and I'm confident the right one. Love you so much!
Um, now that you do have a little more free time... phone date soon? I'm driving home on Saturday. Let me know if I can call then... and email me the number. The past 2 times (um, over the past year, yikes!) I think I've called APL first! :)

Sylvia Zebrowski said...

Thank you sweet girl. I had a wonderful birthday. Let me mention that I know this wonderful resort with fountains and flowers and even a great dog. There's always a room available for-- and your cousin and her baby too. I'm glad to hear that you two are sharing thoughts and ideas with each other. You are both fabulous women. And like Stephie says, "you can do what you want to" I think this is going to be a great year for us both.

KCFitch said...

Hi lady! I'm really happy to hear that my message helped you through your difficult decisions. Remember that you're a smart woman -- and the smartest never go it alone!

Love and hugs from me and the little one! --KF

KCFitch said...

P.S. I could really go for a "resort" with fountains and flowers right now... stupid negative-degree midwest weather!!!!