One of the complicating factors of my life is my chronic disease. I have rheumatoid arthritis. And I should mention that it is far better than many other people in the world. And for that, I am grateful! For many months it seemed like I was in remission, and maybe I still am. But there was some crazy weather changes recently. One day cold, the next day balmy, then next day cold…and it really wreaked havoc on my joints. Seemingly all of them when usually I only have pain in my wrists and knees.

Why am I telling you all this? The pain. It’s not unbearable, I’m-gonna-die pain. It’s worse. It’s the moderate discomfort, the nagging ache that never-goes-away. It’s like a toddler always at your heels—you cannot escape, even to the bathroom. You cannot get away from it, even when sleeping. And it goes on for days. It strips away your defenses, your joy, and your energy. What it leaves behind is a shell of the person you usually are. June Cleaver turns Hunchback of Notre Dame.

For the married years, my husband thought I was faking my pain to get attention. For the next 3 years I was a single-mom living with this, asking my mother for help—but she had it too and much worse. Now I have a fiancé who is here, helping me a lot of the time. but he doesn’t live with us. So finding the support I need some days requires me to ask for help. It requires me to ask the fiance´to skip his class, or to call a babysitter. I have friends here but many of them are married Moms who might as well be single-moms. If they help, they have to bring their kids. And asking for help is, for some reason, a HUGE CHALLENGE.

Last night was one of those nights where I just wanted to curl up in bed, take a mild narcotic (prescribed), and get away from the pain for awhile. But the babysitter was sick. And the fiance´was at class and I didn’t know if I felt bad enough to ask him to skip. So I made other choices.

I ordered pizza so I didn’t have to cook. The kids and I had movie night, so all I had to do was eat and sit on the couch. I didn’t do dishes. I still had to give them baths but they are old enough to do the washing and drying. The night went alright.

So today, I still feel the pain. I still have to work and be a Mom. But the sweet hugs I get from my kids who know I am in pain make my heart swell. And the man I love will come over tonight after work and tell me to go lay down—he will handle dinner and the kids and whatever else needs attending to. He knows my pain is real. I thank God for all the sweet blessings I have—even if I’m in pain.


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