Tuesday, August 23, 2011
My brain is constantly going . . . sometimes that can be a good thing (other times not so much). But this past week, especially, I was thinking how this Juvenile Arthritis Disease can cause so many parents to wonder about the future, and to worry in the present (believe me, I know---I did that probably for the first five years after Anna's diagnosis). Sometimes, even when you're having some good days (weeks/months), it's easy to worry about what lies ahead, or to worry about the medications your child is currently taking and all of the boatload of side effects which are possible.
And then, this week, in "regular life," (as opposed to "JA life"---we all wear so many "hats" in life, don't we, and need to divy out attention to many parts) I was paying attention to the weather forecast. We are having GORGEOUS days here in Pennsylvania. There is a huge high pressure system giving us low humidity, beautiful blue skies, cool mornings, and comfortable mid-day temperatures (my kind of "perfect" weather!). BUT, there's a hurricane stewing in the seas and making it's way towards the east coast, so it may very well affect us in within the next few days (no one knows to what extent). Now we on the east coast have some choices. We can choose to focus on the hurricane---worry, cower in fear, and totally miss out on the present gorgeous weather. I like a balanced approach. Be aware that a hurricane could come, but don't miss out on taking full advantage of these beautiful days.
So what does that have to do with Juvenile Arthritis and Anna in particular? (Bear with me here, as I bring this all together.---I'm feeling "wordy" today.) We had GREAT news today. Clear eyes AGAIN---eight weeks after the last "all clear of inflammation" report. Two whole months with NO inflammation, after years of flares and trace cells. (And this, after over six weeks of fighting the new insurance company, and stretching out Anna's Humira doses to ensure that we would have enough until the new insurance company decided to approve the medication.) Do we even dare to think that maybe, just maybe, we can try (at some point in the near future) to decrease some of Anna's medications? For now, we can cut out the Pred Forte eye drops. In another two months, if Anna's eyes are still clear of inflammation, then we will talk about BABY steps of decreasing medications (the eye doctor has one patient whose eyes were clear for over five months, so they began decreasing medication, only to have everything really flare up again.) So BABY steps.
Here is where I have some choices (like enjoying the gorgeous weather, or worrying about the approaching hurricane). I am choosing to be aware that flares may be in the future for Anna. I have no control over that. But I am choosing to celebrate these "gorgeous" days of eyes with no inflammation---for a longer term than she has experienced in probably over a decade! There's Scripture in the book of Matthew that speaks to such things---not worrying about tomorrow, since today has enough worries of its own. No matter our circumstances, we can choose joy or worry (sometimes it's a struggle, and for our family, it's a bit easier to choose joy today---easier than for some JA parents, I know, whose kids are in pain or experiencing some tough times.)