Lamb or Lion? Spring is Nigh

I’m always eager to gear up and put away all of our winter gear after the first sightings of crocuses peek through the ground cover mixed with snow. There is such hope and promise with Spring. Around here we can definitely say that March came in like a lamb. With the usual few days of warm weather teasing and coaxing us out of our Lamb or Lion Spring is Nighwinter lull, we were shocked to be suddenly catapulted back into winter with a swoosh last week. It was a cold Siberian chill – no kidding, really from Siberia – as it barreled its way into Zurich. (Luckily, we dodged the onslaught of heavy snow storms and icy roads seen elsewhere on the continent.) I’m really over winter and long for lighter clothing and less time and hassle bundling up my energetic toddler. Have you tried dressing a wiggly, willful, and equally excited toddler into many layers of winter garb despite your own swollen fingers, wrists, painful back and elbows… oh, which (body) part did I leave out?

There’s also a lot to be said for Spring starting here since for even the most stern Swiss have good reason to smile unprovoked since an easier time of year is nigh. And yet, all I feel is throbbing pain. Where IS that lamb by the way?!

I’m sad and frustrated at times but then relief and reassurance rush in. I WANT to embrace the notion of windbreaker days filled with sunshine, warmth, and promises of easier days ahead. Yet, all I feel is intermittent pain and constant whiplash as my body tries to brace itself as long as the barometric pressure can’t decide where to hold steady.

Coping.

I’m a strong believer that silencing our bodies and minds brings healing and calm, and helps nurture our soul allowing us to clear out the cob webs clinging to every corner of our mind. Negative thoughts away. Fear away. Self doubt away. Disappointment away. BREATHE IN. In with positive energy.

So, last weekend we decided to nap and be STILL while my son took his usual afternoon nap. We usually try to do this for our sakes since it is tiring – irregardless of RA or not – keeping pace with a pint-sized person! I was so tired anyway. I’m always grateful to find such an island in the day for rest and “me time”. And, I never feel guilty about it. I am a better mom because I CHOOSE to look after myself along with my child’s needs. Yet, I hadn’t expected to be awakened amid the peaceful silence of my breathing and despite the stillness throughout the house to throbbing pain all through my wrists. boomboomBOOM. It wouldn’t stop. It’s awhile since that kind of discomfort – increasing with each pulse – has crept in and broken my slumber. I knew despite the gorgeous sunshine outside that Spring and its turbulent windy, rainy, snowy friends were back in town causing a raucous in the neighborhood. If I had to say one positive thing though about this painful reminder amidst NSAID and Humira treatment: I’m alive.

Isn’t it amazing. This pain (and fear of a “setback” despite the effective pain and disease management I’ve experienced over these past several months) quickly brings sadness and frustration, and yet one week on I’m reminded of the power and the beauty of its presence. It reminds me with each pulse I’m alive. I’m awake in my life. In my mind above all. I’m present. It offers the chance to stay tuned into me and understand what my body needs. I am able to take action be it quieting my mind, my day, my toddler (sic!), the day’s pace, or my expectations. It even tells me to adjust my medicine or to get the most out of my next physical therapy session, or possibly even to contact my doctor for an injection of joy juice. I would never wish a debilitating chronic disease on anyone, yet I’m certain more than ever after more than 20 years of managing RA of the wisdom I’ve gained for having it. I share my experience for my own healing and the hope that someone may crack a smile out there and say, “that’s exactly the way I’ve been feeling” and know we are not alone.

My wish for you all is that the lamb of March will be gentle and linger. May our Spring be filled with dewy new blossoms and budding trees, thoughts of cuddly Easter bunnies, and warm sunshine to filling our hearts and minds. Until then, let’s all find a way for stillness and peace to get us through and to keep that lion tamed.

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