Archive | November, 2019

Pondering the Last Miles of THIS Life’s Journey!

I often say “maturing” rather than “aging” but the fact is we are all, always aging and each of us reaches whatever age we achieve before passing over.
At 71, feeling the best I have in TWO years (remember that is relative and only indicates how bad those years were!) I find myself thinking about my pending departure! I am not in a hurry but I am at peace and ready.
My Brother Tom’s 70th birthday would have been today. We were close up through college (roomed together three years) and then our lives diverged. At 55, his disease came in a bottle. So the number of years in each of our lives varies.
I reflect a lot and many long forgotten memories come flooding back – the vast majority good and I *think* I have done more good than harm.
Cancer, nerve grafts, toe amputations, large abdominal skin grafts — ALL ARE A PIECE OF CAKE compared to Living With RA — and I am among the fortunate – diagnosed at 69 – so many in their 20’s & 30s have it much worse.
I do not complain – I was raised NOT to be sick!  LOL! Mother did a good job! Her grandmother, My great grandmother Calkin, lived with her at the end. She would dress sharply for her daily walk and leave with one bad/hurting arm in a sling only to return with the OTHER arm in the sling:) Hypochondriac:):) (OR did she have RA and just share the sling so one arm was free?)
So, if we ever said we didn’t feel well it was immediately to bed in a dark room with NO toys or books! This was pre television:) but that would have been banned too.
So I grew up functioning no matter how I felt and only stopped if I was contagious to others.
My first broken arm was when I was ten. playing outside in winter. I came home and was told not to stop crying and being a baby, I would be okay, go back to playing! I finally convince her to take me to the Dr. she did so reluctantly and learned a valuable lesson. I know my body pretty well! NOT Edgar Casey well, but well.
The next 3 broken arms only took “I did again” and off we went to the Dr.
She also listened when I argued against the Dr. (At age 10)  who wanted to wait until April vacation to take my appendix out! Wouldn’t be here today if she hadn’t as it was removed the next day, Feb. 14, 1958 JUST before it burst.
Medicine wasn’t what it is now!
So now I deal with a disease that is barely visible. Yes, you can see I often use a cane, that I walk stiffly and my upper back is curving (Thank you Great Grandmother Bean – as I now think she suffered from RA – based on young, but crystal clear images of her physical being and the fact a cousin in the same line has RA).
You won’t see that my hands often can not open jars & bottles unless I ask you to open it for me, that my mind often sends messages to move and the body says hell no and stays still, that I am fatigued when there is no reason to be, that it can take a day or two to do what used to be a couple hours/half a day, that walking feels like my legs are upside down pencils and I am walking on the erasures!
None of this shows and it really doesn’t matter — I carry on.
Then there is the dilemma of how to best deal with it. I am fortunate to have Dartmouth Medical and their renown Rheumatology Department. I work closely with my Doctor — She knows I use Cannabis – when I first asked about  pain meds she said that only prescription strength over the counter could be scripted. I asked about Cannabis, knowing she can not suggest, and she smiled and said “over half my patients do use it” –
The Power of Cannabis
Thus I started my Cannabis Journey and  the PAIN IS controlled 97-100% of the time – I get occasional twinges  – but it is easy to dose a little more THC.
I have never been a fan of Drug Company drugs and the way they poison us – profit is the motive not wellness! Drugs seem to be concocted to keep you alive needing more and more drugs and never getting well.
I am not stupid and under the right circumstances I will accept a drug. The highest # has been 5 (2 glucose, 1 BP, 1 anticoagulant, 1RA) Medical people often express surprise as most my age take 25-30! I would have scoffed but I have older friends using that many! Mind boggling to me! Right now I am taking just 3 (1 glucose, 1 BP, 1 anticoagulant ) I hope to drop the last glucose next and then the BP – probably stay on the anticoagulant.
But as I said I do not have a death or suffering wish so will, after much thought and research try some drugs. I did this with RA.
Two different drugs, two long windows off feeling worse and worse, not wanting to eat and knowing that with literally NO warning I would have to empty my bowels or badder — Bladder, not so bad as I am male and just need time to whip it out and go! Even with that advantage:) I often nearly wet myself! The outside door was closer than the bathroom or any sink! and nature was my friend. When too public, my side van doors were my salvation as they shielded me while I used a bottle.
Bowels are a horse of a different color! In the morning HRH might have to endure sitting on my lap while I go before I take her out – I know the location of every restroom in my regular travels AND STILL often had to stop and use the 5gallon pail and plastic bag system I always have with me in the van!
Finally in Dec, after I had suffered enough and my Dr. appt was rescheduled, I STOPPED the RA meds and notified my Doctor.
THEN I started to feel better! I am still coming off the med BUT so, So, SO much better! PAIN FREE is my main wish – Pain free as these last miles are traveled.
I still am working with my Dr! Blood indicators good. Xrays show my joints continue to disintegrate – that is a given.
So now I concentrate on QUALITY of life! I do not worry about how many miles I have to go! Goal is to just be pain free!
I can and am adapting life to meet my changing physical being. I do what I can when I can! All I need to do is eat, sleep, stay warm, stay clean AND take care of HRH.
Beyond that every thing happens when it happens – no flairs since I stopped taking the meds- will they happen again! I DO NOT KNOW – but I am prepared to get through them as I always have – I will just up my THC consumption.
As long as I can keep myself pain free with Mother Nature’s Medical Herb, I will soldier through.
I do not share for myself and I DO NOT want sympathy or unsolicited help or medical suggestions! Some of you will yell TMI:) so be it!
REMEMBER Cannabis lowered my A1C from 7.4 to 6.3 in the six months between March and September and my Primary Dr dropped one of my glucose meds. My weight is shifting/balancing and I saw recently where Cannabis can contribute to gain if you are under and loss if you are over. I do know I am down significant poundage – BUT also know that could be the long periods of intestinal disorder.
I post to educate – Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow and many/most of us will be gathering with Friends and Family. KNOW that many diseases are invisible and the odds favor your meeting someone you haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving who is suffering from an INVISIBLE DISEASE! The list is long and goes way beyond RA.
SO, turn off the judgmental switch! Relax, have more drinks or wine IF YOU ARE ABLE, remembering many can not! It is time for us all to just be, let those around us be, help if asked and LOVE.
HAVE a great Thanksgiving everyone!

The Power of Cannabis


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