Coming Far, Going Further

A few weeks ago, The Boy and I decided to take a walk down to the lake. This is not earth shattering news — we do it on a fairly regular basis, what with my Sugar Beach obsession and all. What’s new about this story is that once we got there, I suggested doing something a little bit different. Why didn’t keep going and hop on a ferry to Ward’s Island, I said. To check if the ice had all gone on the other side of the Toronto Islands. So we walked down to the docks and hopped on a ferry. Well, I didn’t actually walk, I drove in my power chair, but that is walking to me.

Wandering around the island, it was clear that spring was very definitely in the air. The snow had all melted, leaving endless bare branches, still waiting for it to get warm enough to dress up in some greenery.

There are no cars on the islands and the absence of city sound was blissful. Not that it was quiet there, though. There were a lot of birds. Birds that communicated their intent to find someone special to start a family and did so very loudly. I saw a redwinged blackbird for the first time and whenever the chorus of songbirds let up a little, we could hear quacking in the background. Not a bit of quacking. A positive cacophony (quackophony?).

When we emerged on the other side of the island, we realized that the quacking wasn’t coming from there, as we’d thought. No, it was coming from the south side of the LeslieStreet Spit. Because that was apparently a high-traffic airport for migrating waterfowl. If we could hear it across the water, it must have been deafening at the Spit. We’ll be checking it out soon.

Nine years ago, this outing would have been impossible. Nine years ago, I was only a few months into my journey with Biologics, still weak, still regaining another small ability every day. Nine years ago, the farthest I could go was the grocery store about a block away.

I regularly write about the way I am still getting stronger, still regaining ability, but it’s happening so much slower now that it’s a little theoretical to me. The Boy has known me for six years, remembers and reminds me of what I can do now that I couldn’t when he met me, or three years ago, a year ago, or at Christmas. He likes to say that he can’t keep up with me and I always laugh at his joke. Except it isn’t so much a joke as it used to be, because I am stronger now, I have more stamina now and regardless of my whingeing about spending April in a black hole of low energy, eventually I do bounce back.

And that’s new, too. This ability to bounce back after injury and to do so quicker than ever before (notwithstanding the April example). The ability to usually keep working through it, although it hurts more and I can do less until after I heal.

And it is all, every single bit of it, because of the Biologics. This miracle medication, the first drug that has ever worked for me and is a drug that works so brilliantly for so many that it is now rare for people with RA to use a wheelchair (especially in places where the medication is covered). People with RA now go into remission. Not everyone, but the fact that this is possible is something I never thought I’d see my lifetime.

When I got this gift of getting back my life, I made a promise to honour the gift by working to become the person I’d always wanted to be. By spending part of this new life helping others live better with RA. It’s what my book is about, it’s what my work at HealthCentral is about and it is what my blog is about.

And today, on my ninth blogiversary, I want to tell you about something else I’m doing to give back.
This is the first year I have joined the Walk to Fight Arthritis, the annual fundraising walk by and for The Arthritis Society. Until now, I have not been physically able to do the Walk. The ride to the location for the walk and even the shorter 1K route being, in combination, too much for me. But this year is different.

That weekend trip to the islands showed me just how much I can do now. The walk there is a bit over a kilometer, our meandering on the island was probably another couple of kilometers and then I walked home again. And although I was sore, both in my legs and back from rattling around on uneven ground for three hours, and in my right shoulder and arm were sore from pushing the joystick on my chair for just as long, some painkillers and an ultrasound help me bounce back pretty fast. And that’s what persuaded me to do the Walk and to do the 5K.

Well, the Tinks have a lot to do with that, too. I asked my sister if she wanted to join my team and she told me she’d discussed it with the children and they thought doing the 5K would be fine. Decision made. So now I have a team with half adults and half kids and on Sunday, June 8 we’re all going to walk 5K to raise money to fight arthritis. Money that will go to programs to support people living with one of the 100 different kinds of arthritis. Money that will go to research to find better treatments so more people can find the medication that works for them. So more people will have the chance to do the journey I’m on.

What better way to celebrate my blogiversary!

Will you help us? Will you donate to support our team? Because of the number of kids on the team, our goal is modest, but we’d love to blow way past it. Any amount, no matter how small — or how big – is welcome. Five dollars would be wonderful, more would be terrific. Your support of us, and your support of the dream to help others who live with this horrendous disease to get better, would make us all so grateful.



AlisonH said…
I cannot even begin to say how thrilled I am for you.

And I can only write those words because eleven years ago those biologics turned my Crohn's flare around and saved my life.

And how's this for synchrony: the second part of my "prove you're not a robot" verification to be able to post this comment is the word walks.