Feeling more human


Thanks to Debye Peters and her wonderful deep tissue massages I am much more comfortable in my shoulders -so much in stuffed feelings and balderdash has been expelled.  Now we are working on the hips – then maybe I can finally sleep comfortably.  I went through that awhile ago and thought I had it finished – news flash!  Here we go again.  However, this time I  have help understanding what is going on inside my body – that makes such a difference.

I don’t particularly want to write about how I am feeling, I’m tired of it and I want to keep my promise of no whingeing.  I remember when I first volunteered with the Connecticut Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, I was helping to form a support group.  That was fine for awhile but I found it was focused too much on how I was feeling – I could do that all by myself.  If I was having a bad time, it was good to be with other people who understood, but I realized I wanted to  do more.  Fortunately the staff there liked how I worked and I was asked to be the Speaker’s Bureau Coordinator.  So I helped put together a Speaker’s Bureau, did speeches myself and also trained new speakers.  I enjoyed this because the focus wasn’t on me, plus I found I could help other people.  About the same time I was asked to be an Arthritis Self Help Instructor.

I went through some training for both and I will admit to being very nervous in the beginning.  Speaking in front of people had always been an agony for me – at times I wondered “How did I get myself into this?”.  Fortunately the Self Help Course started first and it was to a small group of about 10 or 12.  Those ladies were so welcoming and kind to me on the first of 6 sessions.  There was so much information to cover and I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough time for all of it.  I ended up covering in about an hour and half and had to ad lib for another hour or so.  I found myself  being less and less nervous – I think I told them it was my first class.  They were a very appreciative audience and it was a very informal setting, so that helped a lot.  AfterwardsI thanked them profusely for their patience and being my first class.  A lot of them were oder women who had not really taken care of themselves or realized what arthritis was and how it affected their bodies.

I remember one session, I didn’t want to teach because I was feeling so miserable.  But I promised and I couldn’t not show up.  What surprised me was that at the end of the class, I felt a lot better.  I told them at the end of class that I hadn’t wanted to come and I thanked them so much because I felt so much better because of them.  The classes were always filled with wonderful compassionate and delightful women – an occasional guy came but it was mostly women.  I always started out my classes saying that the only difference between them and me was I had gone through the training for teaching the class – I still had to deal with RA, pain, problems and all of that, I didn’t have it made.  I learned so much myself and I was so glad I could be of help in some way to others dealing with a form of arthritis.

When I did the speeches, I was a bit more comfortable in front of people because of the classes.  I had written out my speech so I wouldn’t forget it, then I got to a point where I had a large card with all the points that were important to cover.  I will admit my speeches were full of my own stories, so it was a more personal presentation than just the basic fact of arthritis.  I think I was often a surprise to them, though I always told the contact person I had RA.  I was in my late 30’s at the time and I suppose they expected an older woman with crutches or wheel chair.  One of the messages I wanted to put across was that just because I had RA , my life wasn’t over.  I would introduce myself as the Speaker’s Bureau Coordinator and then talk about the different things I do – church choir, deacon for awhile, mediator for the BBB, etc. and then the last thing I said was “I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 20 years”.  Some people were quite surprised. I remember being at a nursing home and there was one old lady in the front row talking with her friend; in a somewhat loud voice she asked her friend “What does she know about arthritis?”.  Was she ever surprised!

Good Heavens!  I had no idea this post would end up here.  Well, just a bit more information about me, much better than whingeing.

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