Cats and chronic disease

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I am repeating this post because, believe it or not, while I was at the doctor’s office today, the Arthritis Today magazine had an article about pets and arthritis. Ironic, but I figured it made for a re-posting of this older post. Enjoy!

 

I have a cat. Her name is Shelby. She was a foundling who adopted me. She is also so much more than just a feline friend.

Shelby has an intuitive nature that allows her to see when I am ill and respond to me. When I am in bed, like now, she is laying next to me. When I am asleep, she lays either next to me or above my head. Some days, she is not around and that is usually when I am feeling good. She goes about her business as she normally would do.

When my lupus is acting up, though, she is right by my side, purring and rubbing on me and trying to help me feel better. It is uncanny, (or should I say, uncatty) how she knows without me saying a word, that I feel awful. She is not overly in my face, but she is on the periphery should she be needed.

While my cat is unique, she is not the only one who is intuitive. I read a story a few years back about a nursing home that had “adopted” a stray cat. The cat was allowed to roam the halls and “visit” with the residents. This cat had an intuitve nature too. It was discovered that the cat would go to a particular resident who was imminently ready to pass away. When a resident was at this point, the cat could not be coerced to leave the room of the resident. It would stay until the person passed away. It became noticible to the staff and they would know by the cats behavior, whether there was an impending death or not. They felt that the cat didn’t want the person to be alone, so it would stay on the bed with the person until after they passed.

I also saw a story about cats and patients with AIDS. The story said that those patients who had cats, tended to live longer than those who did not have a pet cat. Cats were the pet of choice because they did not require as much work as dogs and chronically ill people may not be able to give a dog the exercise they need.  Who knew?

So, my Shelby has this same empathy, but for me. She has been a true and loyal friend in my down times and always helps me with her presence. She is not a “talker” type of cat, but she is always here, by my side, when I need her most. She does not judge me, or make me feel I am worthless when I cannot do things. She is just here, faithfully, making me fell loved.

Funny that a cat can do that and so many humans can’t. We should take a lesson from the animals on this one!

Crazy Me

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I have been a little out of sorts lately. I have had to undergo a whole slew of tests and still have more coming. It seems I am falling apart. Not really, but it feels like it at times.

I will detail later what is going on. Suffice to say, I may need surgery in the very near future. Yuck!

In the meantime i am concentrating on good things. For example, this weekend I am going to Kentucky for my niece Megan’s baby shower. I am not driving so hopefully it will not be too bad on this old body. 

The weather is crazy right now here in Ohio. I know that Ohio is unpredictable, especially when it comes to the weather but getting several inches of snow one day, causing car pile ups, school delays and such, and then it all melts the next day! Hm, wonder why I am in so much pain lately? I have no clue.<insert sarcasm here>.

This is a time of remembrance as well. Reflecting on the love God has for me by allowing his own son to die for my sins is a pretty big deal. This time of year reminds me that I am not worthy to be a Christian, yet God has provided a ransom sacrifice, in the form of His son, Jesus, so that I can be one. I am grateful for that gift.

I also found out that unbeknownst to me, I am a great grandmother! My granddaughter, Leng, had a baby girl seven months ago! Leng is my step granddaughter but I claim her as my own. Her beautiful daughters name is Jean. I understand why I was not told but no matter, I am a great grandmother!!! Happy happy joy!! Another little girl to spoil!!!

Thanks you all for letting me vent a bit. It is the way I can get stuff off my chest. You all rock!!!! Than you so much! Hope each of you have very happy days today and in the future!

Reflections

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This week I found myself reflecting on several changes in my life recently.  I do this on ocassion, it really helps to define the goals in progress and put a perspective on what I need to be doing.  The hardest part is looking at the picture, warts and all, and evaluating the pros and cons of each thing. This can be hard, but therapeutic as well. It is not narcicisstic in the least, since it is for the betterment of myself and those around me.

A magazine I read recently had this to say about life, “‎”Happiness comes, not to those who seek it for themselves, but to those who seek it for others.” 8/1/2010 Awake. This statement is simple in itself but also profound in the meaning. I have actually been somewhat isolated because of a variety of reasons lately. I am sure I do not need to expound in the reasons why. However, I am in need of becoming more people oriented again.

The plain truth is I have become more isolated and that needs to change. I began this process by attending the all class reunion at the end of July. I have also visited with family I have not seen for a long time, and been around my grands as often as possible.

This is a beginning. Now, I need to move forward with the impetus that has been started. I have several ways I plan on doing this. One is to try to make every Christian meeting every week if possible. When not possible, I will tie in by phone so I get my spiritual meals and can become more active in the ministry again. When possible, I will preach in the field and help others to attain to everlasting life. I used to be so active and loved preaching, but due to a viariety of reasons, I have allowed myself to become stuck in a rut and not do as much as I would like to.

So, to meet this goal, I will be studying my bible again, and learning more each day as I get myself off the couch/bed and back into life. Even if I only read for five minutes and reflect on it, it is better than I have been doing. I know this is the most important thing I can do in my life so now the implementation is of the upmost importance.

This is a goal that I plan on working on in the days to come and see how much more I can praise God for all He has done for me, by sharing the bible truths with others. It literally can mean life to those who I can teach and life for me as well.

I will write how I am doing as time goes by and hope to be a better Christian by the end of this goal.

It all begins with one step… here I go….

UGH

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Ok, so I admit it, lately I have not been blogging. However, the reason are many and also why I needed to be blogging again… a paradox but true. You see, I am in a flare and it has been particularly ugly. That being said, I have also been on steroids again to treat it.

I have been feeling pretty bad. Even with prednisone. No matter what I am taking. It sucks. Big time.

This flare is making me miserable and no getting away from it, it is a bad one for me. I cannot move at times and I lay down and sleep at all times of the day. I am having pain in my joints so bad I cry. I hurt when I drive, my ankle joint hurts. I really have downplayed it but this is a bad one. Add the misery of this heat and humidity, and I feel like never getting out at all.

Many of my fellow lupies have been having issues too, so I am not alone. This disease will not win!It can take my life, but not the living of it!

I know, I am complaining again, but if you felt like I do, you would be crying I tell you! Normal people have no clue how painful it can be just to get up and walk to the bathroom. Simple acts, like getting in and out of a car can bring excrutiating pain in the joints and therefore, are not to be done unless absolutely needed. Fingers throb in pain from the act of typing. The headaches from the prednisone tapering off are horrible! Now, add to that, having to try to act like you are not in pain, and you have my life.

My family is supportive in so many ways. My sons seem to cope better than my daughter, but they get it, all of them. Some days their mom is out and about and having a great day, and other days, you cannot get me out the door. Plans can be made, but only with the disclaimer that I may not be able to do them when they arrive.

I have to try to keep all the doctor appointments in line and make them but if they are not on my calendar, I forget about them. The memory is having issues, not like alzheimers, but all of my memroy, sometimes, odd bits will be forgotten, then reappeaar again. No rhyme or reeason. I hope the neurologist will get to the bottom of it. I have my emg this week, oh joy… and of course, the moving. Gee, wonder why I am so sick?

I am sorry if this is negative, but it is truthful and if I am not truthful, then I am lying to myself.

The bright spots in my life are my grandchildren. They give me a reason to hope, to believe, and to live. I am blessed to have them! I am thankful to Jehovah for them every day. My friends are another of my blessings. I have some outstanding people in my life who help me in so many little ways that they may not even be aware of doing it. They are my heroes and keep me fighting each and every day.

I guess I hope that if someone reads this and is one of the “normals” or people without lupus, they would see that life in our shoes is not pretty, or without substantial pain, but it is lived despite these things. I used to like helping others when I was normal, now I am thankful for those around me who give me help when I need it! I may look like I am not sick, but the war inside my body rages on and it is up to me to decide to have a good attitude or not. I cannot control the disease, however, I cannot let it control me. Yes, it hurts, yes, it is hard to live with, but I refuse to let it win!

I seem to be a little flighty tonight, but that is also what it can do to you. It is called brain fog, and it is a medical condition associated with lupus. This rapering down on prednisone is rough too. Forget about my fat “moon” face and the unwanted weight gain, the fact that the pain returns as you taper down is enough to make you cry! Then the mood swings from the drugs is there as well. It can be up and down and all around and if this is rambling, you can see how it can affect us! It sucks. Lupus sucks.

For today, I am choosing to be happy, and smiling, and loving. If I try hard enough, maybe the pain will give me a few little breaks and I can feel as normal as I can for a few minutes! If not, I will smile through it and wait until I see my neurologist and rheumatologist this week and see what they think… I will keep you updated!