‘Tis the Season

Christmas decorating.  I used to love it.  Granted, as a child, it was wonderful to come home from school and see the house bedazzled in red and white with a beautifully decorated tree in the front window.  As an adult, I always enjoyed my own holiday decorating.  I inherited my uncles Christmas village, and took pride displaying it for all to see.  I always invited friends/family over to walk through my neighborhood to see the Christmas displays and lights.  I had my own traditions and they made me happy.

The past few years, I’ve struggled with decorating and have cut way back.  I stopped putting up my Christmas Tree and inside decorations, but still lit up the outside of my home to be festive (and to keep up with my fellow Grizwolds in the neighborhood).  This year, I decided to go big.  Decorating inside and out.  I had a plan.  Thirty minutes a day of all out decorating even on a work day.  I could handle that!  Right??!!

Well, I was wrong…..I couldn’t handle it.  After about a week of following my plan, dragging boxes out of the basement and garage, standing out in the cold stringing lights, and I’m down for the count.  My hands swelled so much they began to bruise img_0606.  Pain extended from my fingers to my shoulders.  My ankles to my hips….and of course, my lower back didn’t want to be left out.

Two weeks later, and I’m still flaring.  I’m on a low dose of prednisone until my next biologic injection.  It seems my body has to get used to taking a biologic drug on a monthly basis. The 5 week loading dose of the medication made me feel so good, I thought I was Wonder Woman!!  img_0634        Apparently, I’m not.  Now I need to see if my body can bounce back.  I need to see if this new biologic drug can control my disease.  I need to see something positive to stay on this course.  It’s scary, but I live in the chronic illness world.  I have so many friends who are having much more difficult times with their health.  I know in many ways that I am lucky and things could always be so much worse and I refuse to let my diseases drag me down any lower.  So I am going to focus on the fact that my house is decorated and twinkly.untitled-2

My shopping is done.  My tree is up and my kittens haven’t knocked it over yet (I’d cross my fingers if I could 😂).

I may hurt too much to be joyful, but I’m not going down with out a fight.   I’ll muster up some happy and keep focusing on a better tomorrow.



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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

3 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season

  1. My friend your house looks amazing. I wish I had even half that ambition. Sheryl and I have gone to minimal decorations and we are enjoying the season in a minimalist mode. But, even if I am not decorating i am enjoying all the decorations maybe a little more.


  2. Ahh left the kitties run, heck i had a kat once who liked to climb the tree, she only knocked it over 20 or so times. She was a funny kitty, she did not like anyone, especially that mean tree in the corner


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