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How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways...

Posted Nov 01 2009 12:00am


So this isn't a post about hating a person. That would just be plain mean.... not that I am above being mean. Anyone who really knows me knows that I can be VERY snarky and that I can be mean. No, this post is about my health and how I hate the current state that it is in.

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in mid-2004 and with Fibromyalgia by that Fall. The past 5 years have been a challenge to say the least.

The past year and a half have been the most challenging of this journey. Just before my younger son turned 4 my rheumatologist told me to consider changing employment due to the stress my body was under and the effects on my health. I was employed as a therapist at a residential facility for young men. The long hours, the nature of the work, the inconsistencies all affected how I was managing both the demands of my job and the demands of my health. All while trying to keep up with my family (husband, two kids and my mom).

In March of 2008, I ended my employment and was hoping to be recovered enough from the flare that had begun in October 2007 to find work by Fall of 2008. It is now November 1, 2009 and I have not recovered from the flare. Over the past two years there has been a lot of pain, a lot of stiffness, many changes in medication, two bouts of pneumonia, one bout of bronchitis, one sinus infection. The second bout of pneumonia had me in the hospital for three days and on six different antibiotics, while trying to finish moving. Needless to say, I wasn't much help by the end of that move.

My rheumatologist has basically given up on me, informing me that I wouldn't be seen for about 9 months to a year due to an increased patient caseload and not knowing what else to do in my case. My primary care doctor has been helpful in helping me with medications and referrals to others who can help. I have seen a podiatrist (plantar fasciitis due to inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis and possible nodules in the joints of some of my toes). I have an appointment for physical therapy. I also started taking gabapentin, brand name Neurontin, to help with the chronic pain issue. We have also recently increased the dose of Celexa for depression.

Depression usually accompanies chronic health conditions. I was just telling my husband the other day that I have more days than not in which I don't want to do anything. I feel like I have lost my spark, my motivation, my desire to keep trying to work on improving my health. I have wanted to stop taking medications all together and see what course my medical conditions take. I continue to take my medications because I have two beautiful boys and I want to function as best I can for them. I don't want their mother to die. I don't want my husband's wife to die either. On occasions, I feel isolated. I don't feel like going out, I don't feel like talking to anyone, seeing anything. Some days, I just want to lay in bed, doors closed, curtains closed, covered in blankets.I've been reading a lot lately. I have stopped knitting, stopped sewing, stopped trying to do any exercise.

I hate that my body doesn't work the way I want it to. I hate that medications haven't helped the way I once hoped. I hate that this affects my family. I hate that I feel like I was handed a life sentence.

And since I teased with the title, the original sonnet

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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