Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Tale of Agony

Hello my fellow readers, it's Trevor sharing another tale. This week has not been an easy one for Brenda.

She experienced one of the worst attacks in her living with RA. As our readers know, Brenda has been living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for over twenty-five years. This disease is full of surprises and most of them are not pleasant, hence this tale.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune or inflammatory disease. Brenda has a form of both. Autoimmune, simply means that the body attacks itself and there is really nothing to fight back with. Brenda prefers to use the word attack over flare, as she is in a battle every day.

Brenda woke up Monday morning not feeling that great, as her left upper leg was starting to hurt. She figured by the time she walked to work, it would be much better. She climbs the stairs whenever she can, to keep those muscles lubricated. She finds that drinking lots of water helps with this as well. Her barometer head was terrible this week as well. I told you, this was not a good week for her.

Anyway on to our tale. The pain became more intense as the day went on and now her nausea was setting in. Every time she would get up from her chair or would go back to sitting down, was becoming pure agony.  By the end of the day, she told one of her coworkers that if she was not feeling better in the morning, she would not be coming in.

As the night went on, her pain intensified. She told me it was like a wishbone, where someone was trying to pull at her left leg. Now when I hear *Wishbone*... I think of that cute little dog that would travel to all those places, wearing all kinds of costumes. Obviously, this was not that kind. I love my dog shows. BOL

Her first PCP told her that she had the moving kind of RA. This is true, because at one time or another, it has attacked almost every part of her body. It usually only attacks one side at a time, which she was very grateful for, in this instance.

So the next morning she got up thinking it was a bit better, so she set her clothes out for work. She then tried to sit down and that is when it became so excruciating. There was no way she could even lift up her leg to get her slacks on. She was alone and decided that for her safety, she could not attempt trying to get dressed or even walking down the stairs at this point. She went back to bed and later called in to work, informing them that she would not be there.

Her nausea was definitely getting worse as the pain became even more intensified. I felt helpless, because there was nothing I could do to help Brenda feel better. I told her she could lean on my soft fur for comfort, but that would be a stretch for her to get to me. I am 3 feet high, but she still would need to bend to get to me. See why I felt so helpless?

She rested most of the day. What else could she do? Brenda's stomach does not tolerate pain medications, as she has pretty much tried them all. After all, she has lived with this disease for over twenty-five years, so you become somewhat of a veteran in this war. That is why Brenda uses the word attack over flare. It's a personal preference, as she does with nonmalignant over benign, in reference to what kind of brain tumor she had.

These things are personal to Brenda and we are trying to bring across the seriousness here, of what she goes through every day.

Later that morning, she attempted to walk down the flight of stairs to get her mail. Walking down was not so bad, it was going back up, where her left leg was pulled. It was only about 6 steps, but they are wide. Imagine having that pulling at your leg on each step, with that amount of pain?

She rested some more and later attempted doing slow range of motion exercises. She does these, twice a day and has throughout her years of living with RA. That is what saved her from having to go to OT or PT after her craniotomy. She couldn't lift that left leg up, without that excruciating pain and then of course the nausea starts to set in.

She tried to move around her apartment by walking slowly around, to keep some type of movement going. You see, lying in bed too long is not good for Brenda, as her back starts to tighten up and hurt. It's hard to explain this to those who do not go through this day after day. We know some of our readers gets this. We hope for those who try to understand, that this will somehow be a bit of a learning curve for you.

The next morning the pain was starting to ease a bit, but now she was still not feeling up to par, so she decided to stay home one more day. You have to be smart. After all, it is your own body you are dealing with here.

By the end of Wednesday evening, the pain was pretty well managed. That was all through getting rest and taking it easy. Brenda knows when she has these attacks, they will eventually leave. She always tells herself that, at the onset. There is an expression, that her mother always used. "This too, shall pass."

When you are in battle, you sometimes have to call in the troops for reinforcement or support. Brenda would like to thank all of those who were kind enough to post messages of support and for your prayers.

Brenda and I are a team. I am glad that my being with her this week, was a comfort. She shed many tears, as that is all you can do when you are faced with that amount of pain.

I want to leave you with our favorite photo. This is what makes us so great in spreading awareness and hope. There is always hope, folks.

                                                              ~Trevor & Brenda~

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tale of a Talk Show...

Hi Trevor here again, sharing another exciting tale that happened recently. Brenda was a guest on Brain Tumor Talk: Worldwide Radio show, for the second time, on Friday, October 7th.

Rick Franzo who is the host and also a two time meningioma brain tumor survivor, asked her if she would like to be a guest and share about the book. A couple of weeks ago, the date was put in place, when she would be on.

This was a wonderful opportunity for Brenda and she enjoyed it immensely. Rick makes it so easy to engage in a conversation, although Brenda was doing most of the talking. BOL He even said at one point, that half of the hour was gone.

He even mentioned, good old Trevor here and that made my golden heart sing. BOL Rick and I were actually in the same video for Tumors Suck and that is how he and Brenda first got connected on social media.

There were a lot of great things brought out, during that hour, that seemed to fly by. Brenda had a chance to shout-out to several people, who have been an intricate part of her life on these two different journeys.

Brenda was so happy that he played an Elton John tune before, she was on the air. They were kidding her at work, if she could also pick out the songs. She told them, that he would probably be playing a song by Elton John, as he did before, when she was a guest last year.

This time was Philadelphia Freedom. The time before was Levon. 

Another surprise during her interview was that he mentioned that Brenda had a famous relative, who played for the NFL. I wonder who that could have been? It was of course, Jim Kleinsasser, who played for The Minnesota Vikings.

She had a chance to share a little of her background at the beginning. She had so much fun and couldn't believe that it went so fast.

Brenda spoke clearly and slowly, so that others could grasp what she was saying. She was cognizant, of that fact and I think she did a wonderful job.

She had a chance to get the word out, about several organizations; The National Brain Tumor Society and CreakyJoints, of which she is an advocate for both.

It was a wonderful experience and Brenda will certainly do it again, if asked, which she was before the show ended yesterday.

We want to thank Rick Franzo, for his kindness and I want to thank you, for having Brenda's back, during her interview. If she were to lose her train of thought, we knew he would jump right in.

This has been a joy to my paws, to be able to share this tale with you.

Wishing you all golden blessings!


Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Tale of Happiness

RA Blog Week Day#6 WILDCARD #2 Coping with Depression - How do you manage the inevitable lows of having RA? Do you view RA as being forever or do you look forward to remission? What are the best ways to cope with the depression associated with RA?

Today I choose WILDCARD #2 on Coping with Depression. As I mentioned in my first blog post this week, in the beginning days of RA, I thought my life was over.

I had to find my smile again. That required reaching down deep and finding that inner child who loved to laugh at the simply pleasures of life.

As a child I used to love to watch "Our Gang or The Little Rascals"... I'll let you in on a little secret. I still do.

This is a time, when I can escape from all all the pain or worry, that living with RA brings. RA is a nasty disease, but I have learned to realize that after all of these years, it will never have me. I can go and be that kid again enjoying "The Little Rascals."

I also love to write and one of my greatest joys was becoming co-author of a book. Grief Diaries: Living with a Brain Injury. It was like my inner child coming back to life. It gave me excitement and purpose.

One of the things that becoming a brain tumor survivor did not do, was to take away my sense of humor. In fact, it may have become more dry. I'm good with that.

One thing that pretty much took care of itself and it still amazes me. My outlook on RA completely changed, after having my brain tumor removed. Things became so much more meaningful. Especially the little things. Seeing a child smile or giggle.

I found that inner child again. I could laugh and feel like anything was possible. I had real HOPE!

I'm not saying that there are not dark days. There sure have been and I am certain, that more days like that are ahead. The key I have found, is not to remain in the valley too long.

That is when I go back to the greatest joys of my childhood and put in a DVD of "The Little Rascals." It brings me back to a wonderful time and the laughter, washes all the sadness and pain away, if only... for a little while.

May my inner child, never grow up. There is a great quote by Voltaire, that I want to leave with you. " I have chosen to be happy, because it is good for my health." Laughter is truly the best medicine.
                                                              Blessings to all!