What makes me happy….

I’m “dog poor”.  What does the mean?  Well, my dog’s medical issues are so expensive that I have little money left over for myself on payday.  I’m not complaining and I’m not saying this to get sympathy.  Just giving backstory.

I live with an expensive illness.  I take a lot of medication.  Have a lot of copays for doctor appointments, prescriptions, and I really need to budget to make sure I have what I need month to month.  People often recommend I try things like acupuncture, chiropractor, fancy shake diets because they know someone who knows someone who has RA and this treatment helped them.  On one hand, I’m annoyed with offers (after 16 years, it gets tiring), but on the other hand, I truly appreciate their thoughtfulness.  They either heard of or tried something and thought, “Hey, this might help Kelly”.  It’s very kind.  Most of the time, I don’t take up the suggestion because I am “dog poor”, and extra cash is limited.  Now, I fully admit that being dog poor is my choice.  I could have found Georgia another home, I could have chosen to do limited treatments instead of the range we currently do.  I could buy her the cheaper dog food.  I could not buy the pricey supplements. Honestly, I could do a lot of things differently.  I don’t mind this and I definitely don’t resent Georgia because of it.  A cousin recently told my parents that I am “overly obsessed” with my dog.  No kidding!  She has 9 chronic illnesses.  I’d be obsessed with him if he had 9 chronic illnesses!  Honestly, the only downside to taking care of Georgia that I can’t always afford pricey “extra” treatments for myself.  I’m okay with that because if I am being honest, I’m burned on on trying treatments that don’t work.  I’m done every diet on the market, have tried acupuncture, meditation, physical therapy, etc, and have seen small improvements but none big enough to maintain the cost.

One cost I don’t mind incurring monthly is a manicure and/or sometimes a mani/pedi combo.  It’s definitely an expense that I don’t need to have.  People often tell me I should give it up so I can do acupuncture or go out to dinner…..but I don’t.  Why?  Well, let me tell you……

When I look in the mirror all I see is my disease.  My body is changing from autoimmune arthritis and from getting older.  Two years on prednisone and the weight gain is awful.  I lie in bed at night and swear I can feel the bones on my hands and toes moving. Things that were once straight are now crooked.  Joints are red and swollen.  I swear, I no longer have knuckles.  I buy clothes without zippers and buttons now, so nothing is too flattering.  Zippering and buttoning are not always possible.  I wear shoes that try to be cute, but are still orthopedic in nature.  I look in mirror and I don’t see me any more and in many of ways, that is out of my control.  I used to be an active person with an active social life. I admit it gets me down when I think about it.  I always hope that I will feel better and get back to my active life. I make plans for what I am going to do when I feel better…..but that day never comes.  I don’t have the energy.  I ache with pain.  I lost the life I had.  So I’ve learned to compensate and not focus on all I have lost, but try to appreciate my new normal.  It’s not easy.

When I go to the nail salon, no one knows that I have a chronic illness.  I get to relax.  I get to socialize with people around me.  I get to leave with pretty finger nails and toes.  This, I can control.   My hands are so ugly now and my pretty nails may be slapping lipstick on a pig, but it makes me feel better.  It’s my own kind of therapy.

So although people may judge me for what I prioritize in my life, I will keep being true to msyelf.  I will continue to care for my dog, and I will also keep rocking my pretty nails.




Tell me what you do to make you feel better?  I’d love to know.

Posted by

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.

7 thoughts on “What makes me happy….

  1. The nails are very pretty. I thought for a second you were going to say that people were offering you advice about the illness of you dog. I get diabetes advice at the drop of a hat. One great pieces of diabetes advice I have been getting lately is to drink water that kale has been boiled in. Of course there is plenty of cinnamon, blue cotton candy (unless your female then its pink), and my very favorite eat only cucumbers. No I have never tired one of those. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “So I’ve learned to compensate and not focus on all I have lost, but try to appreciate my new normal” – it’s so hard to do, yet important so we can live the best lives we can given the situations we’re in. I think the nails look beautiful, and I can see why the salon and getting your nails done makes you happy. I’m not sure what I do to make myself feel good, though I know getting my hair trimmed (because I often leave it for so long, and it’s a lot thinner and more dry than it ever used to be) can live my spirits and make me feel more human. Lovely post.x


  3. Nice nails! So pretty. We still get to have some lovely things, as I like to see it. I have wigs. Due to genetics and methotrexate, my hair comes and goes, so for periods of fallout or breakage, I buy a new wig. Mind you, they are the cheap ones, and not real hair, but they look nicer than my hair, and it makes me feel more like my old self. I need that so much! So, go for the nails!

    I have a dog too. He is my sweetie-pie, and he keeps me sane. I like that you focus on what you can have, instead of what you’ve had to give up due to this. It is the only way I can make it through the day, and whenever my condition or finances change, to be able to get meds that work, I still have things that make me feel better. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Feeling better? Whether it be nails, a fur-baby, or meds. They are all needs and not wants.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s