True Contentment

  Last night my hip was throbbing with pain. Another hallmark pain of the Ankylosing Spondylitis disease I live with daily. I took my nighttime medications and as I lay in bed awaiting relief, I thought about contentment. What is contentment to me personally?

  I thought about all the materialistic items I own. My home, car, land, and sentimental possessions all passed through my thoughts. Then I thought about my early childhood years. I remembered all those loved ones who have passed on and what an impact they made in my life. I truly have been blessed with some wonderful people through the years. That leads me to the friends and family I have today. I know if I was in need, they would drop everything and rush to my side. That is a priceless treasure. I would consider myself rich to have such people as my support system.

  As I continue thinking, I hear my oldest son's laughter in the living room. He has always had an infectious laughter. I smile to myself. My children and husband are my greatest blessings. I am so thankful I have had the opportunity to be a mother to these three amazing people. I used to compare them to baby chicks, diddles, as we call them on the farm. My greatest feeling of contentment came when all three of my "diddles" were home safe and sound. I loved having all my babies under my roof. Whether laughing in the living room or sleeping in their beds, I like an old mother hen, want my diddles near me.

  My daughter was in a vehicle accident yesterday. A tractor trailer merged into her Mini Cooper on the interstate at a speed of 60 miles per hour. The impact point sent her car into a fishtail. By the grace of God, she regained control of the vehicle and was not injured. While I had visions of horrific damage to her car, it was only minimal. Which is hard to imagine at those speeds but a few scratches and a broken reflector is all that's left to show the wreck even happened. I give all the praise to God for saving my sweet girl. I guess the shock of the events is what had me thinking about my own contentment. It makes you remember what is truly important in your life. I just want my diddles safe.

  In this season, I hope you each have a special contentment in your life. I hope you cherish every day with your loved ones. Never take life for granted, it can be gone in a split second. 

  Gentle hugs my friends!

How Do You Spell Frustration.....I.N.S.U.R.A.N.C.E

  Frustration.... such a little word but it carries so much meaning. Frustration, it is what I've felt for the past week, dealing with medical insurance renewal. Yes, it's that time of year again, choose a plan. If only it was that simple. 

  Having a rheumatic autoimmune disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, entails many doctors and many medicines. Therefore, I need an insurance plan that covers a majority of what or whom I need to fight this disease. It is no easy feat to find the "perfect" plan. There actually are no perfect plans available to me.

  I resort to finding the insurance plan that covers the specialty drugs I need. Luckily, that plan also has my primary general physician, my neurologist, and my opthamologist included as in-network doctors. The only doctor it lacks is my rheumatologist. Oh, and it also lacks coverage for the folic acid I need to take daily to combat the side effects of the chemotherapy drug. The chemo drug makes my hair fall out, unless I take the folic acid to replenish what it's strips from my body. 

  However, my specialty drug costs thousands of dollars a month, so I must choose a plan that covers it. Of course, without my rheumatologist being in-network I can only see her when I can pay for an appointment out of pocket. So I'll have to save $150 before my appointments. She sees me every three months. Figure that cost into my monthly plan premium, as well as, the cost of non-covered drugs. Then my reduced cost for insurance coverage doesn't look as enticing. 

  Please don't get me wrong, I am so thankful to even have insurance coverage. I wouldn't even have been diagnosed or have treatment if it wasn't for insurance. I will always be grateful, because I could be in a wheelchair by now, if I hadn't had coverage to get the help I needed. With that said, I do believe there should be a better system. In my area, I have one insurance company. It has multilevel plans I can choose from but the difference is only in amounts or costs.

  Why aren't there more insurance companies willing to commit to helping us? I suppose it's all a number game. If more companies would step back and look at the good they could do, perhaps the humanitarian aspect of helping a chronic ill patient would reap more benefits than the mighty dollar. 

  End of my rant......gentle hugs warriors!

The Call That Makes Your Heart Sink

  Yesterday I got a call no one wants to receive. I picked up my ringing phone at 2:05 pm. I heard my husband's voice on the other end of the line. He sounded a bit different. I immediately knew something was wrong. That's when I heard the terrifying words, I've been in a wreck. My stomach dropped and my heart began pounding. My first response was "are you ok?". My husband said, he thought he was okay. He said a truck reversed in the road, because apparently it missed a driveway. My husband had stopped in the road waiting for the truck to proceed. Next thing my husband knew the truck backed right into the front of our Mitsubishi Galant. 

  I knew my husband was okay and talking to me, waiting for the police to arrive. I should have been relieved but I began shaking severely. I sometimes experience this shakiness with no onset occurrence. I wanted to go to my husband but I could barely walk due to the shaking. I definitely didn't think I should drive. Luckily my oldest son, who is a first responder, was close enough to the accident to respond. I could tell my husband was relieved that our son was on his way to the scene. Although, I felt overwhelming shame for not rushing out the door to be with him.

  My husband of 28 years is the love of my life. He was my high school sweetheart. I would be nothing without him, he's my world. He has always been my protector, best friend, and love. As my disease has progressed, I depend on him more and more. He never complains. He helps me when I can't do things and does it with a willing heart. I sometimes apologize for what my disease has taken from me, but he always circles me with his strong arms and tells me he loves me. He makes me feel safe. That's a wonderful feeling. I can not imagine a life without him. I think that is why the call yesterday affected me and caused the whole body, internal shaking. In a blink of an eye, I could've lost him. If the other driver was going faster or if my husband hadn't been stopped, he could've been severely injured or killed.

  Our marriage is like any other marriage, we argue. Sometimes about the craziest things. After 28 years of living with someone, you each have little actions or ticks that annoy each other. However, yesterday reminded me the little things do not matter. It's the love and the time we have with each other that matters most. I think we need to be reminded of that ever so often. 

  I am truly blessed to have a wonderful husband. He is like no other. I could not fight this disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, without him. I continue to fight the disease for him, for time we can be together and enjoy each other's company. Whether snuggling on the couch or hiking a mountain, as long as he is by my side I am joyful. 

  After I calmed down and the shaking subsided, I did drive to the scene of my husband's accident. It eased my mind to physically see him. I wish I could've been there sooner to comfort him. He is always there for me.

  In closing, I just want to remind you to appreciate the loved ones in your life. The ones who are there for you as you fight AS and face your daily life. Enjoy the one who is your world.

  Gentle hugs to you all. Have a joyful and safe weekend.