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{RA Warrior is having a Blog Carnival to promote awareness of Rheumatoid Disease – and Rheumatoid Awareness Day [February 2 each year]! This is my entry.}

I think one of the things I was unprepared for when I developed Rheumatoid Disease (Rheumatoid Arthritis) was the fact that so many of the people I encountered in life and online had totally different experiences with the disease. It took me a long time to learn and even longer to internalize and REALIZE – Rheumatoid Disease manifests itself differently in each person!

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“Some people experience constant pain; some have a series of “flares” and periods of lower disease activity. Symptoms can vary greatly from day-to-day.

“Rheumatoid Disease is different in each person — and even in the same person over time.” [Kelly Young, http://rawarrior.com/ ]

A “mild” case of rheumatoid disease is just as valid as a “moderate” or “severe” case. It was interesting to me to look at ads and see people with related autoimmune conditions who were on Biologic “X” or Biologic “G” and were doing well. I thought I was being held back because we couldn’t afford the co-pays. But there was another factor I learned about: RD-FACTS-2-300x223

Even if we could have afforded for me to be on one of the then-available Biologics, there was LESS than a 35% chance that it would have worked!

My RD is different. I am seronegative and do not have a lot of the so-called “typical” manifestations (gnarly hands) of RD. Because I am seronegative, I don’t qualify for Clinical Studies.

My over-riding symptom is massive fatigue and lack of “spoons.” I have a good bit of pain, but my pain doesn’t “stay” in place – it moves about. There are things I can no longer do because of “pain,” but I try to ignore the pain. It does work part of the time. The pain differs daily – even hourly – as do my disabilities. I see people who are totally worn down and not able to do so many things that I can do. I try to remain thankful and to pray for them.

“My” Rheumatoid Disease frequently looks like this:

I am Tired

This is my life – but with pain superimposed. Hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, hips, elbows, shoulders. neck, back. But many people have more pain than I; and many have more fatigue than I.

We are all different. We each experience Rheumatoid Disease in different ways. I can no longer cut my meat; at times (like today) I can’t even cut my fried eggs into bite-sized pieces! I had to ask Himself to do that for me. He said, “Certainly!” After 38 years of marriage, 37 of them with my gradually declining abilities, he still is cheerful about helping me – dress, undress (he likes that part! 🙂 ), brush my hair (now nearly waist length), cut my steak, and so on. He still says, “Certainly!” And I get to bask in the fact of his devotion and love!

I do at least try to cut my steak (and fried eggs), I do try to get dressed and undressed by myself, and I do try to take Warrior (great name! Appropriate!) out for his “constitutionals” 2 or 3 times a day. If I cannot, Himself does it for me.

My RD may be different from others, and it may change from day-to-day or hour to hour, but it’s still RD. Yes, like the rest of those of us with Rheumatoid Disease, I AM a Warrior!

{Dear Readers – please remember to Help Kelly and Roo!}

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For all of you who have known and loved (or hated) me, you know that when I received my first Mobility Assistance Dog (Emmy) from PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services) it was a life-changing event! I was able to walk farther, walk up and down the steep driveway to get mail, and go to my clients’ offices.

EmmyOnStump

Emmy Retrieves My Cane

Emmy Retrieves My Cane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Emmy retired because of medical reasons, I was devastated. PAALS came up with a solution, and I now have Warrior! We’ve been partners for a little over a year, and despite my shoulder surgery in April, and the long recovery involved, we are doing well together.

Warrior Doing Laundry for Me

Warrior Doing Laundry for Me

Warrior Getting Shirt Out of Washer

Warrior Getting Shirt Out of Washer

Warrior With Shirt to be Put In Dryer

Warrior With Shirt to be Put In Dryer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The emergency is this: PAALS is in BIG TROUBLE!! For 9 years, this little 501(c)(3) organization has worked like an ant colony not only to provide quality-trained dogs for people like me (mobility needs), for children with autism, and for facilities (like PT clinics), but more and more for Veterans with PTSD. The Veterans who can go through the PAALS program and receive their dogs are able to “function far better in society, staying calm and being able to go out in the community and lead a relatively normal life.” The staff and volunteers have, at the same time, been working extremely hard to scrape the money together to get their own building and facility for housing and training the dogs.

In May, 2015, they finally were able to purchase a building with an adequately sized, fenced-in area. With weeks and weeks of hard work by volunteers and staff, they were able to renovate the building to meet the specialized needs of their dogs, staff and clients. They moved their operations into the new building in early August. There was much optimism and cheering!

BUT, almost immediately, DISASTER STRUCK!! They suffered from a sewage backup from down the street, that left 2 inches of raw sewage in the entire building! Fortunately, the dogs were gone for the weekend, so none of them were harmed, but the staff came in to an absolute catastrophe on Monday morning. Unfortunately, the sewage had probably been in place for more than 24 hours, which is extremely harmful.

The sewer company, East Richland County Public Service District, found that the blockage was in the main line. They sent a company to clean it up, however, there have been insurance issues, so the company only got rid of the sewage and treated the floors with a cleansing agent. Since the raw sewage had been sitting and the cleanup went slowly, PAALS now has a problem with mold, so the cleanup and repair work is going to be extensive. PAALS has been told several times that no insurance is going to cover it, except a $5000 allotment from the state. The estimate to clean up and repair the building (remove and replace the drywall and flooring and thoroughly clean the studs) is over $130,000. They just don’t have this kind of money – They had spent most of their money buying and renovating the building.

They are now stuck with an unusable building that can’t be sold and is very expensive to make usable. I don’t want this catastrophe to cause the end of PAALS!!

What can be done? Even if Himself and I lived in South Carolina, we would not be able to volunteer or do anything to help. We have limited funds ourselves, being retired and on Social Security, and being “aged and decrepit,” are not be able to do any of the manual labor. Thus, we are trying to help them to our ability with fundraising. So far, in 1 day, 75 people have raised $5000! This is mainly in $25 and $50 increments, with a few larger donations.

Just donations of $5 or $10 will help. More, if possible, of course, but ANYTHING you can give is important and gladly, gratefully accepted by PAALS. You can donate directly to PAALS by going to their website HERE or by going to their GOFUNDME page.

You can also help PAALS by spreading the news to your friends and relations. I know that every organization in the world is asking for money. And many are very worthy causes – perhaps a cause you have supported for years. But PAALS has done so much good already, it would just about destroy all the people on the waiting list if they could not get their dogs! And the staff and volunteers who have put their time, energy, money and blood into building this little organization would simply be devastated. Those of us who already have PAALS dogs would be left trying to continue without the support of the PAALS organization.

Please “Help PAALS Get Back On Their Paws!

Thank you so VERY MUCH!

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Wonderful blog post over on the Service Dog Blog.

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