Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hiking...walking...limping...whatever you want to call it! I'm having a hard time.

This is a hard blog for me to write.  Not hard because I am opening myself up for the whole world to see, but hard because it means that I am writing something that I have only shared with my closest friends and family and something that causes me a lot of sadness.  Something that when I have to talk about it, or admit it, it makes me cry, it makes me angry and it makes me worry about our future, something I don't like to worry about.

I LOVE walking.  I literally could walk for hours and hours.  In fact, when I was nannying, I used to take the kids for these marathon walks that even I was surprised I could do pushing 50+ pounds in a stroller up and down hills/through snow etc!  On my days off, or on weekends, I would sometimes take the streetcar, or the subway to a stop an hour or so walk from home, and get a drink and take the longest way home possible, walking and discovering new neighbourhoods everytime.

One thing that I don't like to talk about, which might be surprising, as I usually am pretty open about my life (otherwise, why would I have started this blog!), is that I have arthritis.  I got diagnosed with it when I was quite young and while it affected my ability to keep playing sports (basketball mostly), I usually didn't let it get me down. It was mostly in my knees, and my back would be affected because of this.  Until recently, I didn't have to acknowledge that it affected any other part of my body. As long as I can walk and not be affected, I knew I would always be okay with it, or at least as okay as you can be...

I have managed it without medication (other than anti inflammatories when I can't sleep due to swelling) regularly for the last 2 years.  I occasionally have to take a string of medication if I have a flare up (had been rare, maybe 1-2 times per year after a really stressful time), but I hadn't had to do that in over a year, pretty much since Graham emigrated (and we've had a lot of stress in the last year, so I thought I was scott free).

However, things took a really bad turn for the worse after the wedding, specifically by the middle of our honeymoon.  I lost COMPLETE sight of my ankles, developing HEFTY cankles, had quite bad shoulder pain if I went from air conditioning to extreme heat (it was 41 degrees celcius on the coldest day!), and noticed that I was starting to struggle with walking- thought that was due to my cankles.  Worst of all, 1 week after being married, I couldn't fit my wedding band or engagement ring on.  Graham and I both assumed that was because of the heat, but it didn't truly come to light until we came back home.

It was truly so bad when I came home, that I couldn't walk without a limp (which you can only try to hide from people for so long without it causing more pain), couldn't even squeeze my rings on and one morning I cried trying to get out of bed.  I think that day, it hurt my heart and soul more than it hurt my body.  I booked myself a Doctor's app't, trying to get into a specialist ASAP that same week.  I felt encouraged, getting a prescription for a new string of medication I haven't tried (but honestly I am still struggling to decide to take, for some specific reasons, I don't care to go into), and the Doctor telling me he'd rush the referral in.  Two days later, when they called and said I got an app't for the end of August, I wanted to hibernate.  Graham has been amazingly encouraging with it, but I have my good days and bad days.  The worst part, is I could deal with it being in my back and knees, which I have been for years, but now my right shoulder, hips and hands can get so bad, it's a constant frustration.  Part of the reason, I am sadly having to blog in stages and have been getting badly behind.

My walking has improved and I can go out for an easy walk (read: no hills, rough terrain or uneven ground) for sometimes up to an hour if I make many stops.  It's something that I cannot grasp, and have to stop learning to push myself to do better, as I "recover" too long after I push too hard.  It's hard to admit, imagine and talk about how last month I could walk a marathon, but now, I have to think about how much I can handle or a plan in case I start my walk and just can't make the walk back.  It's hard to explain how to feel, when the other half of your life, namely your husband, is one of the most active people you've ever met.  It's hard to say, "No, I CAN'T go for a walk today, not I don't WANT to", so I usually say yes, and try not to show him how bad it feels later.  I just want to enjoy life with him, without having to feel upset when he doesn't understand.

Sometimes though, the walk is SO gorgeous, so refreshing, I put my shoes on and pray that God will make my day, the discomfort and the effort worth it.  Sometimes I pray he'll just put a smile back on my face that makes me feel like my body is a part of myself again.

Today, we went for a walk/hike/hobble while camping, and were met with hills, rough terrain, and off the beaten path moments.  Graham enjoyed it so much, I didn't want any of it to be ruined, so I pushed through, knowing I could deal with whatever would come later.  We were half way through the walk, when I was starting to feel discouraged, and after stopping so Graham could take a few pictures, I looked ahead and just took a deep breath, enjoying these views and these moments:

I might feel like I have no control over my body, the things I love to do, or how I feel everyday, but I know that God is trying to make me see the sunshine through the rain.


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