Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On a Serious Note



Blogging is weird.  I write posts about 5x a week, but my writing tends to be pretty superficial.  I like clothes, and I like talking to people about why we wear the things we wear and how to style things in new and interesting ways (or just classics that always work).  Sometimes I talk about what I did that weekend, or the weather, but I don't go into a lot of details about my life.  I'm okay with having a blog that isn't super deep, but sometimes it feels like I'm not being 100% honest.

I definitely don't want or need to share every little thing that goes on in my life.  I tend to share the interesting or fun things, like going to musicals, traveling, or hanging out with friends.   And sometimes I will whine a little about having a cold, or my washing machine breaking, or falling down while taking outfit pictures.  But sometimes there are bigger things going on that I don't share.  I don't want to over-share, but I also don't want to give an unrealistic view of my life.  It's a hard balance, but I think I've erred on the side of under-sharing so far.

There's one big thing that I've almost mentioned several times, but I always stop myself.  I don't know why.  Well, I do know why - it's because I don't even like telling people about it IRL, so sharing on the blog seems even more intimidating.  But here goes...

In the summer of 2013, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I started noticing random joint pain early in the year, but like a typical 20-something, I didn't go to the doctor.  Instead, I self-diagnosed using WebMD and decided that I just had carpal tunnel.  So I got a wrist rest for work.  Shockingly, it didn't help.   

After a particularly painful week in June 2013 (terribly timed around my work conference in Orlando), I called my doctor and after several visits with several doctors, I was officially diagnosed.  But I really didn't like the specialist who diagnosed me, so I switched to a good one, who had an 8 week waiting list.  On and on, it seems like everything takes forever.  Around September, I finally had a doctor that I liked, and some idea of what was going on!  

The thing about RA is that they don't really know why it happens or how to cure it, so it's all about managing as well as possible.  For those of you who don't know what it is (which I didn't until I had to), basically my immune system is confused and attacking my joints.  So it's pretty painful.  But I also hate the medicine options that seem to all have long term side effects.  Like yeah, my knees hurt, but I also don't want to maybe go blind in 10 years.  So it's pretty frustrating.  But ultimately, I'm just trusting God and praying for wisdom in dealing with this issue.      

It's one of the reasons my goals were so fail-tastic last year, and why I haven't been doing goal updates this year.  It's also why I've been gaining weight.  The pain makes it difficult to do high-intensity exercise, and the meds make it difficult to lose weight.  And my emotions make it difficult to resist baked goods.  So it's kind of a trifecta of doom.  

The good thing is that I feel almost normal sometimes.  I also have a great doctor, and a wonderful support system (thanks husband, family and friends!).  These health issues also inspired my move to working part-time as of December.  This is another thing I haven't mentioned, because I didn't know how to explain it without giving the whole drawn-out story.  I'm still working 5 days a week, but just shorter hours.  It's really helped me prioritize exercise.  So I'm grateful for that option at my current job as well. 

So why am I even blogging about this?  You'd probably never know, other than the fact that I've been getting rid of uncomfortable shoes and stocking up on more comfy options.  Like I said, I've almost mentioned it a few times, and always talked myself out of it.  But I really appreciate other bloggers who share their struggles, so I figured I should stop being weird about it and just share mine.  I don't anticipate blogging about RA very often, but I just wanted to put it out there.  So now you know.

And I couldn't do all of this without outfit pictures, so I picked one of my favorite dresses (aren't they all my favorites?), in one of my end of summer outfits. 

Scarf: Calvin Klein (similar)
Dress: Limited (similar, similar)
Belt: Steve Madden (similar)
Sandals: Target (exactsimilar)

13 comments:

  1. I really appreciate your openness and honesty! I, too, have struggled with how much to share of my personal life on the blog. I think I decided, like you, that sometimes something is just too big to leave out and it feels dishonest. That being said, thank you for telling us. I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling and I can't imagine what it's like to live with chronic pain. It sounds like you are doing all of the right things and taking care of yourself! I'm also glad that you have wonderful people to support you. Let your blog friends know if we can do anything to help :)

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  2. I really applaud your openness and honesty! I can't imagine what you are going through and I can hope and pray that going part time is helpful. I am sorry you have been dealing with all this! And I really hope that there are advances in medications SOON!

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  3. Sorry to hear you have RA. My mother in law and my 17 year old brother in law have it. Which that are in pain all the time. I sure hope they come up with a cure to help all of you guys out. I also love how you are so honest. I know it can be super hard to write about are personal life's on the blog.

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  4. I'm so glad you shared this post and hope you feel better for sharing!! I'm happy to hear that you've been able to make some changes to help cope, and hope that as time goes on you continue to find even better ways to manage the health issues you're experiencing that work best for you. Thinking of you!! And, because I couldn't stop by without also commenting on that gorgeous dress...love the purple color blocking!! Hope you plan on taking that dress right into fall weather, maybe with boots and a denim jacket? :) Love it!

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  5. Wow. I am so glad you shared this with us. I'm with you - I don't like to share things that are too personal - I don't really share personal stuff with people IRL either. But anyway, I hope you are glad that you shared because you have such a great internet support system :) It makes me sad to hear about the pain that you have had - I actually had no idea arthritis affected people in their 20s. Ugh. But i am so glad that you have a doctor that you like and that you are slowly figuring out how best to deal with everything and which medications work, etc. Praying for you!

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles. "Trifecta of doom" is pretty much the perfect description for it (or so it sounds like it). I have no experience with RA except I once did a school project about it and part of my project included how to cope with it... but it was like using card holders so you can play go fish, and using one handle scissors. Anyway, I admire that you are able to open up and share about real life. And thank you for recognizing that it's not fall yet :)

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  7. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Andi. I am so sorry that you have to struggle with this on a daily basis. But, as others have said, at least you have a good doctor--that's no small blessing! I've struggled with thyroid problems for a few years, and I'm on my third doctor. Anyway, thanks for recognizing that blog-land is not real life. Keeping you in my thoughts!

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  8. Thanks for sharing your story - I appreciate when bloggers are real about some things that are going on in life behind the blog (though sometimes people are into TMI, ha). It helps us know you more and hopefully helps us support you too! Sorry to hear you have to go through this, and hang in there!

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  9. I really feel like we should meet in real life. I can absolutely empathize, and am so grateful you shared this part of your life because I feel better knowing I'm not alone in the autoimmune department. (That sounds weird. I'm not happy you have RA. It's just nice not feeling lonely.) I have Sjogrens; instead of attacking my joints, my body attacks all moisture producing glands and wrings me out like a sponge. Two things have helped me: yoga and switching to an anti-inflammatory diet. High impact exercise and I don't get along, but yoga has actually helped (despite my thinking it's just an hour of trying not to fart) and reeeally watching what I eat has made a huge difference. So have the million supplements I take. I hope you find something that gives you relief and that part-time working really makes an enormous difference!

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  10. oh andi, i respect so much the courage it took to talk about this big part of your life on your blog and hope you will find that you've received nothing but support and encouragement that will keep you pushing forward. it really is SO hard to be a completely open-book on our blogs and teeter that line of sharing personal information, but i'm so glad you did today. i really feel more personally connected to you. and yay for rocking a dress you feel awesome in!

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  11. Andi, Andi, Andi. I give you a million gold stars for sharing this on your blog. It is so, so scary to put yourself out there, especially something as personal as a chronic medical condition. You are a brave woman, and I just want to hug you. I am so sorry to hear you're dealing with RA right now. I've known several people who have RA (including one of my 9th graders right now - poor kiddo!!), and I understand it to be so painful and frustrating. Isn't it so frustrating when your body just isn't cooperating with you? I have a thyroid disease that makes losing weight next to impossible (and it also makes gaining weight very easy...) among many other symptoms, and it is SO ANNOYING. I just wish our bodies knew how to take care of themselves, you know? Sigh. I love your attitude, though, and I so admire your courage in sharing this piece of you with all of us. I'd love to help support you in any way I can :) XOXO

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  12. When you mentioned sharing in today's blog post, I knew I had to come find this. My heart is with you Andi. RA ravages my family. My paternal grandmother lives with severe RA (her joints are completely gone) and my sister and father have been diagnosed with it as well. I know the battle is hard but I appreciate you coming here and sharing it with us, and continuing to share your outfits with us each day too! Keep it up and know we're cheering you on!

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  13. Oh gosh, I'm a little behind and just catching up on some blog reading. I'm so sorry you've been going through this struggle. My mom was diagnosed with RA when she was in her twenties and I have seen how painful and difficult it can be. I know it took courage to share this with us, but you know that we are here to support you (and tell you how cute you look!)

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