Of Agony And Ecstasy (From Through The Darkest Valleys) - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 298488

Home on the Range

Of Agony and Ecstasy (from Through the Darkest Valleys) 
Mar. 3, 2013 11:27 am 
Updated: Mar. 22, 2013 12:47 pm
“For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” psalm 30:5

Mornings aren’t really my best time of day, but I can sometimes tell if the pain has lessened when I first wake up. It’s just typical of this disease to be unusually stiff and swollen on waking. I hate to get up as it hurts to use my body but that is what it takes to get the swelling to go down and relieve some of the pressure.

It was a roller coaster of a week. The weather was up and down which played havoc with my autoimmune issues, sometimes causing intense pain. One day I would be totally disabled, the next, moderately functional. I’m grateful that the better days coincided with the days Annie and the sheep decided to lamb. It enabled me to be there in case they had trouble and to iodine the navels of the newborns to prevent bacteria from traveling up the cord and causing joint or navel ill which can be fatal. The highlight of my days is to watch the babies skipping and jumping and crawling all over their mamas.

Thursday evening I intensely wanted to ride my horse, because Randyman finally fixed a gate so I could actually open and close it by myself. It's been close to 8 months since I've been able to do what I once spent a lifetime doing all day and loving every minute of it. I had a dream job. 

I awoke Friday morning with less pain, but more weakness and fatigue. I decided to drag myself out and bring Mister in anyway, even if just to brush him. I needed to be around him. 

I was able to groom him without much trouble and took him out back into the sheep pasture with a longe line as it was the least slippery spot I could find. He ran and bucked and jumped and played, slipped and scooted around. Not bad for an old man. I was glad I hadn’t been up to saddling up and riding him because with my balance issues now, it would have been another disaster. The Maremma pups showed up. They laid down where they could still see the lambs but kept a penetrating eye on Mister, challenging him to dare try doing anything they perceived might endanger me. I figured it would take a few days to work the kinks out of my old horse, but didn’t mind as long as I could be in his company. I took him back to the corral and brushed him down good and returned him to his pasture. 

I got back to the house energized and ready to do things. I honestly think the smell of horse sweat must be like crack. I felt better than I have felt in a year. I cleaned house, pruned fruit trees, covered garlic and strawberry plants to protect from the chickens, made sour cream and clabber and put on a leg of lamb for dinner. I still had energy to go play with the lambs and was even able to do dishes that evening. All day my face hurt from smiling, it was so great to feel good again. All day I was joyfully thanking God for the experience.

The next morning I felt tired again, but the pain levels were surprisingly way down still. I assumed I would 'pay' for overdoing it and I went to get Mister and he was moving slowly and stiffly, like myself. I laughed and agreed with him that getting old really does suck. I put him on a line and he had no inclination of bucking, running or even moving. (bwahahahaha!) Deciding it was best for him as well as for me to stretch out the sore muscles, I rode him for about an hour in the corral, mostly walking, just working on lateral movements, foot placement and verbal cues. It felt so good.

Now this morning, the pain is back in full force along with another storm. But I had two fabulous days and I know that more are coming my way. Maybe even tomorrow.

There are a thousand things I used to do daily, that I took for granted. Now they are precious rarities. But when I could take them for granted, I often found myself discontent and dissatisfied because of OTHER things I could not do. Always reaching, always wanting more, I set myself up for a great deal of disappointment and strife. If my condition has brought me suffering, it has also brought me clarity. In the book of Philippians 4:11, Paul said “...I have learned in whatever state I am in, to be content...”
Contentedness is not something that happens to us, but something we LEARN. It is often in the fire of affliction that our eyes are opened to what actually surrounds us and is provided for us and we learn to be grateful. A grateful heart is a happy heart because gratitude and discontent cannot occupy the same space.

There are so many examples of people who have walked through this world missing much of the joy of life until they, ie: survived cancer, had an accident, lost a loved one...went into the refiner’s fire and had a epiphany of some kind. After they suffered the pain and loss their eyes were opened to the world around them and the many wonders it contains. Sadly, we don't always chose to let this be the result of our trials, but God's purpose is always redemptive and He does bring beauty out of the ashes.

This disease I would give up in a minute, but the lessons I have learned and the awareness it has brought to me, the depth of life, the awareness of colors, smell, textures, beauty, wonder...never. 
And there will be more glorious days. 
The simple things have become priceless and no longer to be disregarded or taken for granted. All of life, even the difficult side, is richer.

So, for that, I am grateful.

“I come that they may have life,and that they may have it more abundantly”

Mar. 3, 2013 11:51 am
I'm glad you got a few days of joy to counter balance the days of pain. As I get older and the arthritis progresses slowly, I have just a slight clue as to how you feel. Maybe. I have a friend that has RI. He said if it weren't for the infusions he gets ever six months, he doesn't know how he would handle it. There was no pain management for him. Nothing practical worked. Thanks again for sharing your joys and pains with us. We are here to share each others burdens, and honored to share each others joys. God bless you and Randyman.
Mar. 3, 2013 12:11 pm
And you too Doc. Thanks for always stopping and taking the time to leave such encouraging comments for me. I'm hoping it helps people to realize suffering doesnt have to bring hopelessness. There are definitely dark days and agonizing times, but there is purpose and still good to come! :)
Mar. 3, 2013 12:23 pm
Dear Petey, my prayer is you have more days of pain-free enjoyment on your horse! For whatever you are going through, your words continue to inspire and your photographs take us all to a place we'd love to be. God bless, friend!
Mar. 3, 2013 12:38 pm
Totally agreeing with MrsWolfie and with Doc. My mother had RA very drastically back in the 60's & 70's, dying when I was just 19. She was in constant pain. I'm so thankful to read about your good days.. I know we don't hear about your worst times but please know that you are loved and people care about you, even from 2900 miles away.
Mar. 3, 2013 12:57 pm
petey, thank you for sharing your good times as well as the painful ones. My thoughts and prayers for the strength you need to be an inspiration to so many ! Bless you, always.
Mar. 3, 2013 1:41 pm
Always enjoy your blogs. Even in times of struggle, you have an uplifting spirit, petey. Regardless of the media, there appears no escaping those who only see darkness and negativity in the most basic things needed to sustain life. Your pictures give us a glimpse into your beautiful ranch with breathtaking surroundings. You’re a great ambassador for the nearly 2 million small farmers and ranchers in this Country as you put a face on those who can suffer when people can’t differentiate between ‘Big ag’ and the little guy. Thank you for showing us compassion and hope!
Mar. 3, 2013 3:07 pm
Petey,very happy you had a few good days.As always enjoy reading your blog.You seem to find the good in everything.Makes a person feel good.One day at a time petey.You take good care of yourself.
Mar. 3, 2013 3:38 pm
Bless you all! I so appreciate the encouragement and friendship you all so generously give me here. It's a little weird to be so isolated from people but you close the gap on that aloneness. Thank you sooo very much!
Mar. 3, 2013 3:42 pm
Cindy, I am sorry to hear about your mother, even though it was so long ago. My sister in law has RA running heavily in her family and lost a sister to it when she was very young. My SIL is now battling serious cancer caused by the RA drugs. It's an endless cycle but we can enjoy the journey, none the less! Thank you for your friendship!
Mar. 3, 2013 6:03 pm
My brother suffered what seemed to be a lifetime from Ankylosing spondylitis ... To long to note everything here and finally his heart gave out at 50. I have some arthritis in my neck which brings pain from some activities as does the weather. My heart aches for you and others who have to deal with disease because of the pain I know you can be in. I pray you have more good days and can get through the days peacefully that are not optimal. You're not alone in so many ways.
Mar. 3, 2013 6:36 pm
Bless you Linda. I know your shoulder has really caused you some problems. Are you one of the people who suggested I take turmeric? It really has helped immensely with the inflammation. If you don't take it, I wonder if it might help a little for you too. It's weird the way the barometric pressure affects us. I was almost in tears this morning, unable to even pick things up, and by 2:30 the storm cleared out and I was normal and rode my horse again. So weird!
Mar. 4, 2013 7:25 am
Your spirit is strengthening to so many of us, dear Petey. I just lost my precious mother this past week. She was my angel, and will miss her dearly. It has been a difficult time for me, which is why I haven't posted in awhile. She lived in pain and struggled very much like you, and always found comfort in scripture and our Lord. I'm so happy to hear you have been able to spend time with your horse! That is so special. I'm always thinking of you, and am praying for you to be pain free.
Mar. 4, 2013 4:00 pm
Turmeric has helped alot. Off and on I take a supplement called Zyflamend too which is good. Has a blend of anti-inflamatory herbs. Hang in there on those bad days knowing it will again be good.
Mar. 5, 2013 2:10 am
You are the one who gave me the suggestion of the actual ones to get then LOL. I thank you as it has made a definite difference for me. I wish all the drugs I am on were as effective as this!
Mar. 6, 2013 1:48 pm
Petey another wonderful blog. I am so glad you had the two days sort of pain free and that you got to be with Mister for a while. Yes, you will have some more good days. I am sure of it. I am having some not so good days myself. Well, actually it is my husband. He is very ill. He is in ICU on a respirator. He had emergency surgery 3/1/13 for part of bowel had died and was becoming gangrene. Surgery went well and then he developed some breathing problems where he aspirated a mucous plug and chocked. He quit breathing and his heart stopped for two minutes. They are now having a difficult time getting him off the respirator. This was the third day they have tried. Tomorrow is another day and I am sure they will be able to remove it then and he is going to be ok. I have lots of people praying for him. Including a lot friends here on AR. I am so thankful for that.
Mar. 7, 2013 3:20 pm
oh char, I am so sorry to hear this. I will put him on my list as well. God bless you!
Mar. 7, 2013 8:28 pm
Hi Petey- I read your blog yesterday. I always enjoy them. You have a way with words! Even describing your pain-- I hope you have some good days ahead and maybe when spring is sprung and the earth warms up you will have better days as well. I aspire to make your cheese your soaps, your milk etc., etc.,
Mar. 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Your pictures just blow me away every-time I see your home and what you see every day when you wake up. I see lol a trash can out my window and 2 mobile homes on each side I live in a trailer park. I would love to wake up and see open spaces and cows
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Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
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A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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