Sometimes, change happens so gradually that you’re not aware of it until after it’s well underway. And sometimes, you can pinpoint the exact moment your life changed, naeeowing the point down so precisely that the watershed between Before and After is a matter of minutes.
On January 7, 2005 at 3:35 PM, I got my first shot of Enbrel. I went home to have a nap and when I woke up at 6 PM, I was a different person. I could feel the drug working. It took weeks, months and years to get stronger – the amazing thing is that today, 8 years later, I am still getting stronger – but that’s the moment. January 7, 2005 at 3:35 PM is my watershed.
I often refer to it as The Miracle, capital letters and all, because that's what it was to me. I write about it often, because I think of it often. I believe that when you are the recipient of something so profound as the gift of life, it should be honoured. And I talk about it, too, because I am proof of the reason to hope that even the most stubborn cases of RA will eventually find the thing that works. After 40 years of nothing working for me, finally something is. It hasn't solved all my problems — there is still pain and plenty of it, flaring of symptoms, the addition of fibro and my disability isn’t going anywhere, either. But all of that is largely manageable and noise that varies from blaring to muttering in the background. What is important is the foreground and that's where I live my life.
And this is the amazing part of this miracle, this thing about living my life. Because I am. Everything I do is because of 3:35 PM on January 7, 2005. The fact that I have quality of life is because of the miracle. That I can be part of my family, contribute to my community and work is because of the miracle. That I live independently instead of in an institution, that I have the ability to look after another living being, that I do my own banking and grocery shopping and that my dining room table is a mess because cleaning bores me, not because I can't clean. That I have found the love of my life, that I'm exhausted all the time because I work too hard and that I laugh every day. That I am alive.
This is why I call it The Miracle. Because without it, I would have none of that which makes my life worth living. Or maybe not even life itself.
Today is the anniversary of me getting my life back, but it is more than that. It is an anniversary, a birthday and my New Year's all rolled up into one quietly personal day of reflection and celebration and more than a bit of awe.
That is, usually quiet. This year, I'm sharing the joy because of something else. Something that could not happen without The Miracle. My lifelong dream of having a book with my name on it is thisclose to being a reality. We're still working on getting the ducks all neatly lined up in a row, but sometime in the next few weeks, it’ll be out there. And it’ll look like this
I can't wait to share it with you all!