Friday, August 10, 2012

He made me cry...in a good way

     My "baby" is a grown man these days.  I was not diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis until he was 18.  We moved to the Midwest and he stayed behind less than two years later.  One of the few good things about this  is that he didn't have to grow up with a mom who was struggling to find out how to live with these illnesses.  Instead, he grew up with a mom that burned the candle at both ends, worked her butt off and did everything I could to give him a good life.  The flip side of this is that, having not seen too much of this journey first hand, sometimes I feel like he just doesn't get it.  I am woman enough to admit- I may have been wrong.

     Josh has dedicated much of his life to martial arts in general, Kempo in particular.  He began lessons when he was a freshman in high school because his football coach said that the players all needed to find something to make them more flexible.  Once he started- he never looked back.  Josh worked very hard and in just a couple of years, when he was 16, he began teaching at his dojo.  He loves sharing what he has learned with his students.


Josh being silly at the China section of Epcot

     The other day we were playing phone tag.  We talk almost every day on the phone and we are both pretty busy during the day so that was not so unusual.  We finally connected during my afternoon break.  It turns out that he was trying to reach me for advice.  He said "Mama, I have a new student starting this week.  She is very young and has JRA.  I would like to know how to work with her so that I can teach her and treat her just like the rest of my students, without causing her more pain.  You have been living with this pain so long that I know you can help me shift my style so that she will not feel like I am singling her out because I know from you that all you want is to be treated like you are normal."  He explained that he had spoken with her father who told him where the young lady had her particular challenges and Josh had already asked what joints were the most painful for her so that he could design a somewhat modified program for her.  We talked a while longer and I gave some suggestions before signing off.  Once we said our "Bye, I love yous" I sat in my car and just let the tears come for a few minutes.  I was so proud that he recognized that there ARE particular challenges that we who live with this disease face.  I was proud that he had taken the time to talk to the father and ask good questions so that he could effectively teach this young lady without exacerbating her pain.  I was moved to know that he values my knowledge of his craft combined with my handling of RA (and Fibro) to feel that I would be a resource to help him tailor his teaching for this girl.  Most of all, I finally feel that he actually understands what it is that I go through, at least a little, and for that I was thankful.  

     It's so hard to explain what it is that we go through to people who see us everyday, much less to those who live so far away and don't see us regularly.  He has never seen me have to use my cane.  He has never seen me struggle to make it up the stairs to my bed.  He has never seen me so exhausted that I cannot function- and still cannot sleep due to insomnia.  I don't like to complain about how I am feeling- I feel it does no good yet somehow there is at least a glimmer of understanding there- and that is all I can ask for with us being so far apart geographically.  

2 comments:

Amy D said...

What a compassionate man. Even if you were wrong, you did something right!

Ames said...

What a sweetheart! You did good, Momma.