Making Lemonade….

 

I’m exhausted.  Utterly exhausted.  I shouldn’t be.  I’m not working.  I’m on vacation for two weeks, but I have no energy.  My body aches.  My bones are tired.  I feel 80 years old. I don’t like it.

This was going to be my summer of getting stuff done.  I was going to write my book, clean my house from top to bottom, and travel.  Well, I wrote my book.  Everything else got pushed to the wayside because I’m exhausted. In the back of my mind, I keep thinking “STOP BEING LAZY” but I’m not. I walk up the stairs to grab the laundry basket and I feel like I need to take a nap.

I met with my rheumatologist two weeks ago. She suggested that I switch to another biologic drug.  I think it’s #8, but honestly, I’m too tired to even look it up.  My current biologic is fine in terms of pain.  If I do nothing, I don’t hurt.  My work schedule this summer was 3 days a week for less than 5 hours a day.  It was refreshing to come home from work and not be in pain.  My rheumatologist even suggested that I try to work less during the school year.  I try wish that I could, but my chronically ill dog costs more than double my car payment each month.  I need to work my three jobs to keep up her medical upkeep. People don’t understand why I do this, but I adore her and cherish each moment I have with her (ok, I may not cherish when she refuses to come in while it’s pouring rain, but I digress)…  She is my best friend and lives with more discomfort/fatigue/blah feeling than I do, yet she never complains.  She is feisty, smart, and oh so full of love. I’m lucky to be her mom, so I work hard to give her a good life .

It’s ironic how many things have popped up in my life as a result of having Georgia as my dog.  I’ve made friends around the world through Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescue groups.  I’ve been interviewed for books, news articles, radio interviews and more regarding her chronic illnesses. I’ve traveled to events and began volunteering as I take her to hospital and schools as a therapy dog. Now I’ve written a book that documents our life together. It’s never been a goal to write a book.  Blogging has always been a way for me to dip my toe in the waters and stretch my skills. Now that my body is rebelling with being active, writing has been something I can do without much difficulty. The book was a challenge that I struggled to achieve, but with Georgia as my inspiration, I kept focused.  Now the book is completed and available for purchase.  A portion of the proceeds will go to Nonni’s fund for rescue Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to receive the medical care they need.  Feel free to check out the book here.

 

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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.

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