Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reality Check....

I got a not-very-nice reality check yesterday on how far my Rheumatoid Arthritis has progressed. Yesterday I started a book by book inventory of my store. It's not just counting books. It involves removing the collateral for digital titles,and other cross merchandising products, seperating the books on the shelf based on vendors and and a whole lot of walking, bending and lifting as well as stopping to help customers throughout. Now- I walk every day, twice a day, for a half an hour each time. Yesterday I realized how little effect those walks have on the grand scheme of things.

By the end of the day- my feet were burning (and I was wearing open shoes) and swollen to where I wouldn't be able to fit them into regular shoes if I tried. My ankles and knees and hips were throbbing and my arms were screaming bloody murder. I got home, started dinner, and then dropped. It was an hour before I could look at the stairs up to my shower without wanting to weep. It probably didn't help that I haven't been sleeping well and that I have been waking up with sore feet- but it has to be done. After showering and dinner I sat with my feet up for a bit and then headed to bed- but again sleep was elusive.

As I lay in my bed last night- feet and ankles throbbing it was the first time I have felt a real FEAR as to what is coming down the pike. It was less than three years ago that a 16 hour day on my feet, constantly moving, carrying anything from double trays to 3 cases of beer to stock was routine. Now- 8 was just brutal and I have to do it again today. It really sent me round and round mentally. In addition to dreading even getting out of bed this morning- I couldn't stop thinking that if I have deteriorated this far in just a couple of years- what is in store for me in just a few more? Where will I be in this journey? What else can I do to slow things down? Should I maybe spend MORE time back up on my feet so that I "toughen back up?"

I did finally get some sleep and when I jumped, no-bounced...okay... slowly rolled out of bed this morning (with a groan as my feet hit the floor no less) something had clicked. I made my way downstairs just like I do every morning, loved on Harley just like I do every morning, clipped on her leash just like I do every morning and took her out for her walk just like I do every morning. She is counting on me. She has faith that I will do what I have to do to make sure that her needs are met. I know darned good and well that when I let myself worry about the future it is an invitation to step off my path to being positive and mire myself in "what ifs". I have to do exactly what I did this morning- take it literally one step at a time. I have to count on myself and my body to do what has to be done and to have faith that I can do it. Harley doesn't care if I need to go slowly or if I am up to my "normal" speed, she takes her cues from me. It is me who needs to get past it bother me when I have to take it slow, and it is me who needs to take my cues from what my body is telling me. Noone who loves me and who matters to me cares if I have to take it slow or dial down what I do- I am the only one who needs to get to that same mindset.

I am pretty proud of myself this morning. I came to these realizations pretty quickly. I didn't let myself spend days wallowing or feeling sorry for myself. It was one evening and that is progress. This morning I have a renewed sense of hope and strength. I know I will feel pain at the end of the day but I also know that I can face it and I can push through it to get done what needs to be done. So I leave this with a quote for today that I will be repeating over and over until it becomes mantra:

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown

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