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It appears that the AARP (American Association for Retired Persons for those of you under 50 or not in the US) has launched a new series of thought-provoking television ads. One of them in particular caught my attention. It featured a man driving a car and made the comment that the car has a small mirror for you to occasionally check what’s behind you, but a large windshield for you to use to look ahead. This is, of course, a metaphor for life saying that while it’s good to remember where we’ve been, we need to focus on the life ahead of us.

I was diagnosed nearly five years ago and looking at the statistics for disability within the first five years I was, if not panicked, at least concerned. Perhaps depressed. Definitely unhappy. However, almost five years later, I’m not among the disabled. True, RA has certainly taken its toll as documented in this blog with multiple surgeries, including replaced joints (and we’re not done yet) and an ever-changing treatment plan. However, it’s been a productive five years working full-time and traveling every chance I got.

But that front windshield is difficult to see through because it’s clouded by the unknown. I do know that I’ve got back surgery and knee surgery ahead of me — both this year while I still have COBRA benefits from my last job. But what continued toll I can expect from RA or what I’ll do about it when my COBRA benefits expire are big question marks. The only thing I can do is plan for the worst, but live my life expecting the best.

I do have some immediate, near-term events visible in my windshield.

In two days I have my first Euflexxa injection. My knee is getting worse, almost by the day, so I am hopeful that the injections help. They are supposed to be pretty painful so, particularly having a strong vasovagal reflex, I am stressed. The doctor has prescribed some valium for me to take in advance. I find that things hurt more if you’re stressed about them, so I’m hopeful that the valium will help.

Next week I have my regular check up with my rheumatologist and my second of the three Euflexxa injections along with my myelogram in anticipation of back surgery in a few weeks.

Ah, the joys of RA. You get to meet such interesting people such as orthopedic and neuro surgeons.

I hope that whatever is in your windshield brings a smile to your face. Thanks for checking in.