A Restful Weekend

How is your weekend going?? Mine week was crazy! Monday night I was at a dissertation workshop….it was stressful…scary but also very interesting. I find it much easier to do something when I know ahead a time. Yes I am a planner!!! Then Tuesday I was nervously trying to prepare for my presentation on Wednesday. Wednesday morning, I was very nervous but remembered that I had been preparing this presentation for over a month. I was as ready as I could be to teach on my chapter. Class went well and once I felt comfortable up in front of the class things went smoothly. I really wanted my cohort to have a better understanding of ethnic identity and acculturation. It is something many of us need to know about. So then Thursday flew by because it was one of those crazy days at work. I worked late into the night in my office, Molly doing her bests to stay occupied. She was a little bored of my study life 😛

Friday I rested a lot, probably more than I should have but it had been such a busy week.  I did get out and enjoy a hockey game, sadly we lost, but it was still a lot of fun. Today though my plan is to write, write, write….I want to get a lot done! Great goal right! I have realize that we can plan, plan, plan but sometimes (many times) things do not work that way in life.

I was also wonderfully surprised last night by being notified I was admitted to doctoral candidacy. I almost cried…last year was soooo rough. I thought when I started working on my doctorate that I was prepared. That I could totally handle the study load…but you know (and you can read those blogs) last year was tough. Probably the toughest thing I had ever done. But now I realize it was worth it. It was worth the pain, the tears, the sleepless nights.  Why?? Because I am one step closer to being done. One step closer to saying that I successfully finished a doctorate program WHILE at the same time living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia.  I’m still amazed I have kept going….but you know I also realize my strength, confidence, and determination comes first from my faith and second from my dad. I want to make my dad proud, I know he won’t see me graduate but I hope that he would still in some way be proud of my accomplishments.  First and foremost my faith though has kept me going, I do not think  I could face my day to day journey with out my faith.

Living in pain, daily torturous pain….is so hard. Goodness it gets soooo sooo sooo old! And I think the hardest part is people do not get because they cannot see it. I think my constant prayer is that more people open their eyes to see my invisible pain. It would help that is for sure!! But off I go to do more homework 🙂 Enjoy a wonderful Easter weekend.


Back up …Again

Get yourself back up…AGAIN!!! This thought ran through my mind many times this week. As many people in the United States found…the weather might not have been our best friend. Thankfully where I live I did not get snow but I did get rain! And yes for those of us suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or Fibromyalgia….rain or inclement weather in general does not help us feel good at all! I remember several days this week (because many times we can feel the weather changing even before the weather does change)…I was mentally screaming at myself like a coach might….get up!! get up!!!

Functioning with pain is so hard!! The pain can cloud your mind..it can make even thinking about moving seem like a major major chore. I think Thursday felt like the worst day! The pollen outside was horrible..making my nose all stopped up and then I could feel a weather change coming. The day just drug on…the pain not ending! I wondered really….seriously…how am I supposed to function when I feel like utter crap!! I moved mentally and physically so slow!

Thankfully Friday was a little better but then Saturday yet another flare and so here I sit today, Sunday, still aching….yet still screaming at myself to get back up…again!! I have come to understand that I will fall down mentally and sometimes emotionally many different times of the day (yes in one day) but the key is not to get upset that I had to take a moment and cry about how much I hurt. The key is to just get back up and fight again!

This week I reminded myself of all I am working for….this degree, a future job, a career in higher education, a family and much more. I have a lot of good I can do….but that does not mean I have to be superwoman. I can acknowledge my pain, I can cry because it hurts so bad, and I can rest when I need to rest because things will work out.  For me, my faith keeps me going, and through my faith I acknowledge that life is held in bigger hands than mine. Sometimes I forget but the truth of the matter is that for me… I believe things will work out. My participants for my study will come, and I will be able to get all this homework done. That does not mean though that  I do nothing, I have to carry my weight and do my part. But there are just some things in this universe that I cannot control…and for those things I have trust, I have faith and I have hope that all things will work out for good. I might not see that good today, tomorrow or the next day but I believe things will be good.

So despite my pain, my horrid, tiring, exhausting, pain….I am going to get back up and go back to the paper I was working on. Because I planned ahead I can do pieces here and there and still get something quality turned in on time! 🙂 Focus on something, and get back up…we are waiting on you!


First Step

I took my first steps in research today!! I went into the classroom (I was a little nervous I won’t lie) and requested participants for my study. I remember thinking as I was walking over to the classroom…breath, think, pause, don’t talk too fast or to slow, make sure to look around! Yup! All these thoughts were going through my head! And it did not help I was going on short breaks from work so I needless to say I was running all over today! It was a bit insane. However, now that I did it (and THANKFULLY I did get some participants) I am excited!

Moving forward part of my mind keeps thinking of all the “what ifs” that might happen but then again that is part of learning how to research too. At this point I believe research is a process…a process that runs smoother after you have some experience in doing it. As for me, this is my first research project involving human subjects…it will be an interesting ride!!!

However, I know that no matter what happens with my research, I have to balance conducting research against doing my normal/regular homework, balance working at my job, and of course my home life.  It makes me even more aware of the fact that I must be careful and rest! My note to self today is to rest! I think I will actually write that word in big letters above my desk! So that when I stop and look up, I remember that it is critical with my RA/Lupus and Fibro to REST! 🙂




Spring Break Is Over

It seems like a misnomer ..since I really didn’t take a “break” but it was nice to at least be able to catch up on things and get some things taken care of over “Spring Break.” I was thinking today of what the next 8 weeks will hold….planner me! 😛 I will be in San Francisco….working on a major final research project…working on editing a research project I did hopefully for a journal….and keeping up with class/regular homework! And I think it suffices to say that April is probably one of my busiest months at my job! Many hats will be balanced…I am praying for strength, ability to balance, and for rest so that I will successfully and safely make it through this semester.

As I have mentioned many times on here…I struggle to balance. I get bursts of energy and end up doing too much ( ahhh you know!). But what I have to do is take my time, rest when I need to rest, take naps, and make sure I get adequate sleep. Despite that I also need to be confident in what I am doing, but above all stay focused on the path God has for me. I started a new Bible reading plan! I love it…it is one bible verse a day…and a short devotional. The best part is that it is on my Ipad/Iphone so I don’t have to be at home to do it! Reading the Bible brings me peace…and MANY days despite how hectic it is..I love I can find a moment to find some quietness in the storms that come in life.

I’m nervous, on Tuesday I will be going into the classroom requesting participants for my FIRST research study. Talk about being nervous!!!! Ahhh!! And then on Wednesday the 27th…I will be teaching a chapter for the FIRST time to my cohort! Wow! So yes a lot of firsts….and I’m nervous but you know I am also confident. I have been preparing, I have been reading, I have been editing my power point, and I will be practicing my powerpoint. God is good! He will sustain 🙂

My tip to myself tonight is ….Jo despite your Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia…you can be successful..you just have to balance and take care of yourself!

Until tomorrow 🙂


Goodbye, Hello

Good bye Spring break, you were not restful….but I learned a lot! I am thankful that I was able to learn a bit more about my body. I grieved a bit missing my dad, wishing I had one break where I could go back and see him. I remember my Spring Break in 2008, I drove up to see my Dad. I took my boyfriend (and now husband) to say goodbye. I remember thinking when I drove off that I wouldn’t be back until I got that phone call…that life changing phone call.

You would think after almost five years I would been….healed. But I’ve realized a part of me will always grieve my Dad. The special moments he misses, I will think of him. Moments like my graduation as a doctor….the moment I might have my own baby. There will be many moments in my lifetime….where I will have to say goodbye Daddy and hello present.

Growing up is certainly not the easiest thing to do….it is painful to say goodbye and hello. Thankfully this week, I am just saying goodbye to a week where I was able to work hard and learn a lot. My next “break” will not come until after finals!

Ahh yes it is hard to say goodbye to Spring Break but I have to…because I have to say hello to class, work, and one day soon….finishing this last degree! I can hear Daddy saying…finish….and finish right! So goodbye Spring Break….Goodbye Daddy….hello present…bello just a few more weeks and the pain will have been worth it. This semester will be over! Hang in there!

But Daddy that doesn’t mean I don’t miss you! Because I so do miss you! And I love you!

Getting Through the Day

Sometimes my first thought some mornings is…how in the world am I making it through today.  Kinda sad right but for me…mornings are so rough. The pain and the fibro fog ….make it just an act of congress to move out of my warm bed (typically because I probably just fell asleep!!).  But I do get up and I push myself to focus, to drive to work, to do homework, and to function.  But I can definitely feel myself doing much better afternoon..and much better in the evenings. Kind of an odd thought but I could not help but wonder…what would the day be like if it always started at noon! 😛

If you are curious to know even more of my randomness, check out my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/stlralf (support those living with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia). I love the acronym RALF 😛 It is just random highlights from my day, sometimes they are pretty funny…depending on how insane my fibro fog is. 🙂

Off to go do more things today! Hugs!


Passing Time

I love sometimes just sitting, listening to music, and thinking about life. Sometimes it is good to think of where I have been, where I want to go, and the path to get there. You know when I was younger, I always said…I would go back and change a lot of things about life…but now that I have matured…I think those things have helped make me into the woman I am today. Granted the changes in my life have not always been met with a smile :P..too many times the changes have been met with anger or usually tears.

I know when I first found out I have Rheumatoid Arthritis…I was so angry …and so upset at the same time. I was only 23 years old…planning life. It took a while (more like a few months) to finally be alright with this disease. It took time to get to where I wanted to see what good I could do with the illness instead of just focusing on the bad. It took awhile to get the courage to tell people, who constantly kept saying “I will pray for healing”, that I would pray instead to pray for me to be positive and use this for good.

Through my RA (and Lupus) journey, I have learned about strength, perseverance, and determination.  I have learned who my true friend are and I have learned how important it is to look at everyone as if they might too have things in life that no one else can see. I have grown up and for that I am thankful!

When Fibromyalgia joined the mix…I won’t lie I was even more unhappy thinking that wasn’t RA/Lupus enough? But you know again, I have seen so much more realizing that I (and many others) despite how great we look…might have serious pain. I realize that my Fibro fog is real…and there are things I have to do in order to be successful despite the fog.

So the passing time has shown me there are many things I am thankful for but I am most thankful for the growth I have seen in me.


First Day of SPRING BREAK!!

First day of Spring Break!! YAY! Of course my first day had to be one when I was sick to my stomach all day and curled up on the couch from pain! Really?? Well not that day I would have wanted but at least I got to stay at home and catch up on some shows…including Dallas (just hit Netflix!!). SCORE! So I have a whole schedule of homework planed! Although today was my ONE day to do ZERO homework! It feels great!

Tomorrow I have some reading to do, a powerpoint to work on, and then a paper to edit. My IRB‘s were approved so that means after Spring Break I can start working on my project! YAY! I’m excited…nervous..scared..but thrilled to be getting to this point in my research. I also will be presenting a chapter to the class on the 27th! WOW! Another ahhh moment but again working on my confidence and of course making sure I’m ready.

I have realized how Rheumatoid Arthritis impacts my eyes….my eyes are soo dry (officially Chronic Dry Eye —-I think Sjogrens). I wake up every morning and my eyes feel like sandpaper. I’m walking around with drops all the time and I have noticed that my vision is changing :(. Isn’t that sad! It is just another note to people who go “oh that is just arthritis.” Rheumatoid Arthritis is NOT just ARTHRITIS! It is so so so so much more!

My Fibromylagia decided to not be my friend today either! Don’t you love waking up in the morning and your hands/feet/legs have such pain!! Ahhh oh pain please leave! I think somedays that is my thought from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed!

But you know it is encouraging that despite pain ….people are accomplishing so much. I have met such inspirational people….people whose stories are so incredible. Maybe one day I can start sharing their stories….I will say those of us with RA/Fibro/and ever other invisible disease….we have strength! We fight hard!