Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Feeling Angry Today

I realized on my walk this morning that for the last few days I have felt angry.

Tomorrow is my appointment with the rheumatologist and I have decided to listen to what she wants me to do and then follow it. This, along with a list of other things this morning makes me feel angry.

I feel angry that yesterday when I was sitting with friends I ran my fingers through my hair and the hair kept falling onto my clothes reminding me that even when I am enjoying myself and forgetting about RA, it is still there. I am also angry that I then couldn't stop running my fingers through my hair to see if it would stop falling out. It didn't.

I feel angry on Saturday mornings when I wake up to nausea from taking my methotrexate the night before.

I feel angry that on my walk this morning I was hit with the scent of some one's dryer sheets. I try so hard to keep chemicals out of our house but still get hit with them, even when doing something as simple as taking a walk.

I feel angry that our dog Izzy has to walk through fertilizers in order to get exercise. Our holistic vet mentioned that Izzy's recent all night vomiting could have been from something as simple as licking fertilizers off her paws.

I feel angry when I read alternative newsletters that say with a little work and determination I can heal myself. (Well, I still believe the body wants to heal but feel angry that with all my work my rheumatoid arthritis has become more severe rather than improved.) I just feel angry reading articles that make it all sound so simple.

I feel angry that I am no longer Steve's bike riding partner. I truly miss riding with him but so thankful that it is my son Alexander who has taken my spot.

I am angry that we are continuously pouring out money to make sure our family has foods that will fill them up with nutrients rather than sugar and artificial ingredients and that we have to pay extra to have clean water to drink and bathe with. Shouldn't everyone be guaranteed these things?

I feel angry that if I don't prepare my own meals I have no guarantee that I am eating meat that was humanely raised or veggies that were grown without pesticides or washed without chemicals. I often wonder how years of being exposed to chemicals contributed to my compromised immune system.

I feel angry that in the last few months I have enjoyed some meals out with family and friends and immediately PMS symptoms returned. I am also grateful for this because it does remind me that clean eating does pay off.

This is a list of what makes me angry today. I don't like putting negative energy into the universe for others to read and apologize to my readers. Yet, I felt this need to share today. I feel I needed to let this anger out of my body so that I could find the real reason I am angry today because the list above are things that bother me on a daily basis.

So, what I am really angry about today? I am angry that I wasn't one of the rheumatoid arthritis people that succeeded without drugs. I wanted so desperately to be different. I wanted to be unique in my approach to rheumatoid arthritis and felt deep in my soul that I would be different.

I ran into a holistic friend the other day that asked how I was doing. I said, "I am back on meds." She replied, "You really gave it a good try but it is nice to know the drugs are there to help." I felt a sense of relief that she seemed to understand the commitment I have made to dealing with this alternatively but also felt ashamed that I wasn't able to make it work.

Yesterday I read a commencement speech given by Erica Goldson, a valedictorian in New York. It is definitely worth reading if you have any interest in education. She started her speech out with the following story:

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years . ." 
The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?" 
Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."

As I read this story I realized that since my diagnosis in 2004, I have only had one eye on the path. My sole goal has been to get off medications and stay off medications. There hasn't been any room for anything else. My naturopath realized quickly this high expectation I have placed on myself and asked me to list what I am missing in my life that I would like to change. Hearing my list, she recommended going on medications for now. What I like about her approach with me over the rheumatologist's is to stop thinking of this as a life sentence. Right now my goals are stating that I want a better quality of life and I am emotionally and physically drained from trying to do this without medications. So, think of this as a two year investment in feeling good and doing the things in life I want to be doing because in two years, who knows what other holistic paths I will have discovered that may allow me to reduce or wean off the medications again or perhaps scientists will discover some amazing new research into rheumatoid arthritis. There is hope for my future with rheumatoid arthritis.

This all makes sense and I want to accept it, but I haven't. So, this morning I feel angry and I am sure I will feel angry tomorrow as I go for my appointment. But, the good news is my sister arrives tonight and I will have hours to share these thoughts with her and in her amazing way, she will make me feel better.