Yesterday, at work, I was talking to a co-worker whom I only see occasionally. He asked why my voice sounded funny and I replied “Oh. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. It just happens sometimes.” He looked at me with complete shock and said, after a moment of almost stuttering “Jen! I never knew. You always look so animated.”
I am, by nature, a very positive and outgoing person. My work persona is even more that way because, to reach kids with severe disabilities, you sometimes have to be over the top perky. It wasn’t easy before I developed RA, and it’s even harder now. But, I truly love what I do so I plan on continuing as long as I can. That’s one of the reasons I “went vegan.” I am determined to do everything I can to keep my life the way I want it as long as possible. Eventually I may need to give in and scale back more dramatically then I already have. But I want to be able to look at myself and think “I did everything I could.” One of my closest friends calls it my “new reality.” It’s out of my hands and I only have control over how I react.
So that brings me to why I had 2 pots and a pan going at 9:30 on a Saturday morning. I feel better in the morning; I have more energy. So I am trying to learn to do what I can, when I can. I am going to feel guilty about having to throw out produce that goes bad before I use it. I am going to feel guilty about not always having the energy to make a from-scratch dinner for my family. (For more about guilt and RA see this great post and comments from the RA Warrior website.) But when I feel good, I will do what I can.
So at 9 something this morning I decided I wanted to make myself a tofu scramble inspired from stonesoup. (More about that later!) When I was pulling out veggies I found that some needed to go out back to the compost and some were getting close. So I decided to steam the broccoli and cauliflower before it went bad. And since I was cutting things up anyway, I made a pot of veggie stock.
I can’t do it all. My new reality of RA is not always what I want it to be. But I will do what I can to take care of my family (and that includes me!). I will cook when I can and then *try* to let go of the guilt. And boy that stock smells good!