Friday, March 30, 2012

The Last Time

Last night was a bit bittersweet. Tonight, I start a whole new life.

It's just a different road to travel now, than the one I thought I would walk. So I have this condition, Rheumatoid Arthritis, best described as my body not recognizing my joints as belonging to me. It thinks all my joints are invaders and sends out anti-bodies to fight those invaders. That's what causes the swelling and pain. Okay. Knowing is half the battle. Now we adapt and learn to live with it.

I start, tonight, to take a low dose of metholtrexate. When you read the information in this link, it's hard not to be scared by what this drug can do if not taken properly. This is what we're starting on. This is what we're using to get the RA under control. Once under control, things will go into the maintenance stage. That could be as early as the end of April. I see the doctor on April 12th and we'll go over everything that's happened. There will be more blood work and dosages will be changed.

So, tonight, my life course goes on a different path. I become like millions of other people who have a chronic illness. I will be taking something for the rest of my life. I don't feel singled out by life. I don't feel angry or sad or depressed about this. Why should I? It's just a different route. Things have changed is all. I look at my friend, April. She's living with "I don't know". It would be far, far worse, for me, to live with "I don't know" than it is to live with RA.

Last night, knowing that alcohol is verboten while on metholtrexate, I pulled the bottle of Perry's mead from the back of the fridge where it's been for a long time. I'm not a drinker. One or two a month might be the most that I drink. I drank half of the small bottle. I couldn't finish the whole thing. It was kind of bittersweet.

I love the taste of dark beer. I can't do that anymore. The Wheaton Ale Fest that I attended last year? Nope. Not again unless I'm off the drug for a month prior to going. "I'll have tea please," will be my beverage of choice at functions.

I was a bit sad as I finished off the second glass. There is the oft-quoted Ben Franklin lines, "Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy." There have been many, many good times with good friends and alcohol. But, it was not the alcohol that made the good times, it was the friends. And there is no decree, currently, that I'll be on this for the rest of my life. It's right now and it's necessary.

So, my toasts will be Dr Pepper from now on. I am happy to be the designated driver. I will eat grapes in their solid, not liquid, form and I will do all of this without pain. I believe life is, at certain times, a series of trade offs. I am happily trading the bubbly of alcohol for a pain free morning.

Beverage:  Irish Breakfast tea


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