SO it has been a while since my last blog. Summer has come and gone, but it has left a quote, this blog’s title, that has become my personal mantra. A quote that has provided inspiration, motivation and encouragement through a summer that challenged me physically and emotionally.
Summer 2018 for me was very different from the past couple summers. The last two summers I spent training for the New York City Marathon. I had a set routine and training plan. I woke up before sunrise (or else I was fighting the summer heat and humidity) and ran the amount of miles I needed for the day (anywhere from 5-21 miles). If I wasn’t running, I was off to the gym for strength training. This
summer, however, I woke up with unpredictability; not knowing where my pain would be and how long it will take to get to a feeling of normalcy. Pain, inflammation, lack of mobility… Every morning I felt them in some way. Some mornings were better than others, but other mornings I couldn’t even stand. In order for me to walk anywhere I would need assistance from my husband (Chris) or brace myself against furniture. On the mornings I could walk my hands and wrists wouldn’t function normally. This made simple tasks such as brushing my teeth or putting my hair up impossible. These days weren’t even the worst. The absolute worst days came when the inflammation, pain, lack of mobility took over my entire body. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t put my hair up. I couldn’t open a door. My body was overcome with a pulsing, radiating, pain. Even just sitting somewhere or laying down felt like punishment. I didn’t want to go to bed at the end of the day. My flare ups were the worst in the morning. Going to bed meant I was one step closer to waking up. One step closer to even more pain.
It was in August, while I was in Texas for the Keller Williams Real Estate Mega Agent Camp when I first heard the 4 words that I now hold on to. I
was privileged to be in the audience for John Maxwell’s keynote speech. I have read several books by him, but hearing him speak in person felt as if he was speaking directly to me.
“Everything worthwhile is uphill.” ~ John Maxwell
“Everything worthwhile is uphill. Everything in your life, everything in my life worthwhile, it’s all uphill.” These were the words John Maxwell repeated and said so meaningfully. He continued his talk with the following key points. If you have a good relationship, it is all uphill, you have to work at it. If you have a business, it is all uphill, you have to work at it. Whatever you do. If you have a dream in life, it is all uphill. You have to work at it. No
one accidentally goes uphill. You have never heard of someone that is extremely successful being interviewed and when they are asked how they have become successful say, “I have no idea. I just woke up and here I am.” Everything in life is uphill and the problem is we have uphill hopes and downhill habits. It’s impossible, not improbable, to go uphill with downhill habits. A downhill habit is something like no effort. No intentionality. No discipline. No strength. No hope. No positivity. You can’t have downhill habits, downhill thinking if you want to go uphill!
Downhill habits and downhill thinking is not an option that I give myself. August 2018 is when I first heard this quote, but we need to rewind to November 2017 where my uphill climb began. This was when I stopped my medication for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. Medication that I have been on since I was 18; that is 15 years the medicine has helped
me control these diseases. I stopped medication because my husband and I want to start a family. The medication I was on was not safe if we wanted to become pregnant.
Every morning the climb continued and then in May, I found myself in the emergency room with stomach pains where I soon discovered I had endometriosis and 2 endometrioma cysts on
my left ovary. A little hiccup in our journey to start a family. I underwent laparoscopic surgery to get the cysts removed. After healing, we got the thumbs up to start trying again, but my flare ups got worse through the summer and my rheumatologist suggested that we see a fertility specialist.
July 20th was our first meeting at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ). I was extremely nervous. I did not know how the doctor was going to react because from everything I have heard is that you had to be trying for at least a year before starting this step. However,
after the doctor looked over all my past history and reports, the first words out of his mouth were, “RA, Lupus, Endometriosis. You have a full plate huh? I am so happy you are here. You both made the best decision.” Looking back at this moment brings tears to my eyes. I know now, more that I did on that initial day, that our fertility doctor was more than accurate with his words.
We began the fertility tests to get a full scope and what exactly our next step of action
would be. In between tests is when I had my trip to Texas. This is when I first heard those 4 words, “Everything worthwhile is uphill”. Four words that resonated within me. It was also while I was in Texas, when I began to have the same stomach pains that I experienced back in May. I ended up going to the emergency room to find out that my endometrioma cysts have come back. Being away from home was also challenging to try and avoid flare ups. I packed items to help alleviate any onset while also trying to be prepared like the Boy Scout motto. But I guess since I never really was a boy scout,
the start of a flare up began. From Texas, my trip was not stopping. I had an extended vacation planned with meeting up with my husband and friends. So, I quickly called my rheumatologist. To help while I was away, my doctor put me on a high dosage, quick taper of prednisone. Prednisone was my giant band-aid that helped me power through and enjoy so many laughs, new adventures, and unforgettable memories. All throughout the trip the quote “Everything worthwhile is uphill”, kept ringing through my ears.
When we got back to New Jersey our uphill climb was continuing. We were finishing
tests and I was assembling what I like to think of as my team of Avengers, my own team of heroes. My Avengers didn’t include Thor, Hulk, or Iron Man though. Instead, I had assembled my Rheumatologist, RMANJ fertility doctor, high risk doctor, and my fertility nurse. Then, to head my team of Avengers I did have the same leader, my very own Captain America, my husband. My team of Avengers helped me through the end of the summer while I pressed on to make my trek uphill.
Through endless amounts of blood work to the point my veins probably thought they were pin cushions by the end, urine samples, ultrasounds, fallopian tube tests
(Hysterosalpingogram), genetic testing, and constant communication between all of my Avengers, a decision was made that we will be starting the Intrauterine insemination (IUI) process. Before we begin this process, I have been tapering off another round of prednisone and beginning a new medicine called Imuran that is safe for pregnancy. Trying to get my RA under control is a big step in my uphill climb. Only time will tell if the new medicine will work.
“Everything worthwhile is uphill.” Four words that I will continue to hold on to. Four words that I will continue to believe in. Four words that I want you to think of when something in your life is not going according as planned or not as easy as you thought it would be. Think of these four words when you want to achieve a goal that seems out of reach. Remember you can’t go uphill with downhill habits. Stay positive. Stay having strength. Stay having hope. Most importantly, keep making your way uphill!
I have Avengers now. Heroes in my corner. I will continue to make my way uphill, because I know this journey I am on is all worthwhile!
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE. SLAY RA.