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Thanks to all who have offered their caring support recently. Your kind words, prayers, and observations are all very much appreciated. Many have noticed I haven't posted as regularly as has been my practice in the past, and know that I've been awaiting insurance approval for new medication treatment for the chronic pain I experience due to the multi layered issues of auto immune inflammatory disease. I am pleased to report that approval came through this week, and I had my first injection on Wednesday. It could take between 2-5 weeks or so before I know whether or not this will be helpful, but thankfully the answer can at least be pursued!
The process has been in interesting one - I have learned over time that it isn't usually beneficial to push really hard for things that seem to be surrounded by resistance. My experience has shown me that it's when I engage in those highly resistant battles that I end up crawling, rather than walking, away from them in the end.A simple example is with my art - when I have an idea in my mind of how something should look, and I try to make the idea happen, but it just isn't coming together - still I push, stubbornly - I want it my way even when the materials I'm using don't cooperate, the colors are turning to mud, and the paper is falling apart! Hours later I have a mess, no art and only my stubborn idea unfulfilled. I haven't done that in a long time, but I had to experience more than one disaster before I learned to shift gears at the signs of resistance.
Anyway, when I got mixed messages from my insurance company "yes you are approved, the medication is on it's way","no, we never approved you", "yes, you're being approved","no, your prescription plan doesn't even cover rheumatology medications, but you can have diabetes injections" (what?! okay, will they help joint pain?!), "no, there is no medical reason for said medication"... and so on, I took pause. I had to ask myself if this was one of those battles I needed to step into the ring for, or sit back and wait out. I ended up doing a little of both, knowing that part of the fight was simply about money. It's a very expensive treatment and I'm pretty sure the insurance company didn't want to pay, if they didn't have to.
During the waiting it out period, I thought a lot about what I was choosing to do, by taking this medication. It isn't done lightly. Medications for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn's disease, and numerous other auto immune conditions have the basic function of turning the immune system off. Simplistically put, when we have one of these diseases, our immune systems are over reacting to nonexistent threats, and our bodies end up attacking themselves. The medication stops that process, but it also stops us from responding to real threats - like flu and cold viruses, germs that might enter a scratch, etc. My imagination sees this stripping away of the basic protection that our bodies provide as the ultimate in vulnerability. Of course, having a hyper active immune system is like walking into a pillow fight wearing a metal armor. Both are extreme, yet balancing that internal system isn't something I have had the power to do fully through other means - not through diet, yoga, western medicine, therapy, qigong, acupuncture, etc. (Some aspects of my blood work have changed, and normalized, and I do believe these practices - especially yoga - were a primary reason.)
So, I find there is a kind of irony in the fact that the treatment I have sought out to help free me of pain, so that I may engage more fully in life, will cause me to have to be very careful around others - to take over for my immune system and be vigilant about protecting myself and being present - avoiding people who are sick, keeping my hands clean, and being very careful with kitchen, gardening, and sharp art tools! I look forward to simple things like running errands, going out to dinner, teaching a workshop, going to a museum, and visiting family...