|This little guy kept me VERY|
|Walking in Audubon Park, my very favorite place in New Orleans. |
This soil soaked up many of my tears last year.
I am probably being way too bold with this and potentially setting myself up for major disappointment, but I have already been thinking about all of the things I want to do with the extra time I anticipate having next semester since I do not anticipate being ill. I want to be more involved in my church, I want to write more cards, I want to reach out more to my friends, I want to go for long walks bundled up in all of my winter gear. I am sincerely hoping my body will permit all of these things.
Today I am starting Humira. My first injection will be in just a few minutes, since I am waiting for the syringe/medication to warm up a bit from the refrigerator, and while I am nervous about it given that the consensus from all of my arthritis friends seems to be that it is the most painful injection of all of the biologics, I am ready to try something to get my body under control. The gist I got at my last rheumatology appointment is that Humira works more systemically than my previous biologic, which targeted only my joints, so the hope is that it will control the damage all of the other parts of my body are incurring as well, even though we do not have an official diagnosis.
I will be starting the new semester with a new septum, new sinuses, and a new medication. Hopefully this means I will be a better, healthier version of me. I have been thinking a lot lately about how people always say that all that matters is that a baby or child is healthy, or that they cannot complain about their struggles because "at least [they] have [their] health." Whenever I hear people say this, it first forces me to wonder whether or not I am a disappointment, and then I just want to take their hand and promise them that there is a wonderful life even in the absence of perfect health. I want to tell them that joy has existed alongside all of my flares and illnesses. It is not a joy that excludes sadness or terror or frustration, but it is a joy pervasive enough to make my life a thoroughly good one, with or without consistent health.
During periods of good or at least fine health, we speak about losing one's health as inconsolably devastating. Sometimes, this is true. I have had my fair share of moments of crying on the bathroom floor or having to sit down in the middle of a high school hallway because walking hurt too badly. Yet I have also had my fair share of churches whose deacons send letters full of compassion letting me know that they are praying for me and friends who have held me in their arms as I shake with pain. And, of course, I have many joyful moments with no relation to my health at all. I have the delight of hymns that sink deep into my soul and lunch dates with friends with huge hearts and new eyeshadow palettes that glimmer with possibilities. I view health as an inherently good and important thing, as in obvious by my authorship of this blog, my passion for patient advocacy, and my medical treatment of my own illnesses, but physical health is far from the best thing to have. There is no need to glorify health or use it as the sole indicator of whether someone is doing well or not. I have many, many other things that are better.