rowing harder.

On June 22, Angela Madsen, phenomenal, fearless woman, Paralympian, marine vet, died at sea, attempting to row the Pacific from California to Hawaii alone.

She knew the risk, she wanted to go, she went.

The documentarian and her crew who were recording Angela’s efforts – and have since announced that, per the wishes of Angela and her partner, will be finishing her journey – posted this to Instagram:

Her passing has weighed heavily on my heart.

Angela was left paraplegic after a botched surgery in 1993, was homeless and suicidal for some time thereafter, recovered to become a paralympic medalist and repeat competitor, and rowed multiple oceans.

She was a force.

Please take a moment to read this article about her life and the journey she was on when she died:

Nothing Will Keep Paraplegic Grandma Angela Madsen from Rowing to Hawaii

Her life inspires me to be strong – especially when I don’t feel it, when the waves keep coming. I suppose I should have anticipated my current “wave” – but I just hadn’t gotten to thinking about it, honestly.

I’ve been so (rightly) focused on dealing with this hip and infection that I really wasn’t on the lookout for issues with the original source of trouble – my rheumatoid arthritis. Of course, because of the infection and complications, we’ve had to strip my RA therapy down to bare bones in every attempt to boost my immune system – so the RA had plenty of room to run amok.

Well, last week I noticed a significant increase in pain in my right wrist. Then burning in my knees. Then more pain in my ankles.

My eyes are ridiculously dry and sore and blurry at times.

Oh, and I. Am. Exhausted.

My sleep requirements rival any toddler’s – but at least I have some fabulous napping buddies.

I’ve added every supplement and PRN med I can that won’t knock my immune system for a loop to bring this to a halt.

I also learned that my RA inflammation markers increased five times within a week. That sounds about right.

Labs will be redrawn in the morning.

For now, as always, I’ll take all my meds and nap and read and write and pray through this one too.

One thing that I keep thinking about since I read it?

The documentarian that is going to finish telling Angela’s story, Soraya, posted a story today of how they are going to continue on.

She said she had once asked Angela how she pushed through hard days.

Angela’s response?

“Row Harder.”

This flare sucks (as they all do) – so I’ll just row harder.

Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Grace and Blessings.


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