When In Rome

Back To Reality..

Venice...anyone for a Gondola ride?

Venice…anyone for a Gondola ride?

And so it goes, all vacations must come to an end. This is always a bit deflating and especially so when you have been on an amazing vacation. But as a follow-up to my last post, I feel an obligation to share. Note: When SjoDry shares, it can include an unabashed amount of gushing. Think: It’s my party and I’ll gush if I want to!

It is true that I was, as they say, on cloud 9.. (wonder where that expression came from) before even leaving. I was giddy with excitement, but also worried about how my Sjogren’s ravaged body would hold up. But low and behold, Sjodry came through it with flying colors. The good news is that SjoDry found out that she can still sweat. Only a Sjoggie would be happy about that, right!

Oh Rome, How Do I Love Thee..

You Will Know Them By Their White Tennis Shoes!

You Will Know Them By Their White Tennis Shoes!

Let me count the ways. Truly, Rome is beautiful and it would be hard not to fall in love.When in Rome, one is surrounded by architecture beyond compare, intricate statues/carvings and quaint cobblestone streets. But you better take your walking shoes! When doing my typical online research before going, I remember reading that the natives can easily pick out the Americans by their white tennis shoes. Others on that forum noted that the residents are not nearly as casual as the tourists who come to visit. I even read that the women and men who live there are always dressed in upscale casual attire. And the resident women are always in their high heels.

Well, let me just say this.. so what!! I did not not care if my shoes screamed my nationality or not. The natives are not walking several miles a day like we were. And apparently going to Rome in June brings temperatures that stay in the high 80’s with a healthy (or non-healthy depending on how you look at it) dose of H-U-M-I-D-I-T-Y! Yes, SjoDry’s cute little “Bob” hairstyle was lost, along with my energy. My hairstyle would not hold because of the humidity. I was forced to slap in a barrette on each side of my head to hold my hair out of my eyes. Now add in lots of humidity. In every picture SjoDry looked like a slicked-back German ‘Fraulein’. But enough about my obvious lack of American style.

My Goal..To Make It To The Top

St. Peter's Basilica

See the teeny, tiny people at the highest ring you can see in this picture. Well..let’s just say that this is the tiniest SjoDry has ever been 🙂

Being very worried that I would drag the family down with my fatigue or pain issues, I wrestled with the idea of whether I would take on the challenge to make it to the very top cupola (dome) of St.Peter’s Basilica. I could just picture my family at the top while I sat on a bench somewhere at the bottom feeling angry at the criminal intruder in my life that is Sjogren’s.

I had already read that there were a total of 551 steps to the top. However, one could do a little cheat & take the lift (as they say in Europe) up the first 320 steps. But it would be necessary to walk the last 231 steps. Furthermore, the steps which started out as typically wide steps would get very narrow and lean to the right (this should really help my back pain, hmm). Oh, and by the way, there is no air conditioning and no room to change your mind. If you commit, then there’s no turning back. Okay..it’s like this, (said with Sjoggie determination) if I can do battle every day with Sjogren’s, then I can and will do this! 

Yes, narrow & steep.

Yes, narrow & steep.

One person width on this spiral staircase...Can you say claustrophobic!!

One person width on this spiral staircase…Can you say claustrophobic!!

While I was incredibly exhausted and gasping for air, I was mesmerized by the spectacular view when I slumped through the door at the top. The view (with no exaggeration) was amazing and worth the sweatfest it took to get there. Almost as satisfying, was the fact that I made it. Did I pay a price for that view? Well, maybe. Since I have come back, I am having some very painful knee(s) issues that may include something called a Baker’s Cyst. But I am still very proud of myself for accomplishing a goal that I fully expected Sjogren’s to have probably robbed me of achieving.

People who levitate :-O

People who levitate :-O

On one day as we meandered around the cobblestone streets of Rome, we came across a creative “money-maker”. It was a man who appeared to be levitating. I found it humorous at first. I then decided that as a flaming Sjoggie, I could relate to this guy. Do you ever feel like this? Like I am spending day after day trying to hold myself up. The only difference is this guy is noticed with a smile by anyone who sees him. Sjoggies most often don’t garner even this much attention from anyone we come in contact with. But I must give him credit..he just sits all day with a can sitting in front of him for tourist photo ops. On the bright side, my Sjogren’s symptomology may still qualify me for this job.

Still Flying High and Smiling

We all anticipated that this would be the trip of our lifetime, and it lived up to that and more. It was a huge blessing to have our entire family together to share this very special vacation. We were able to visit our son Jon at the Embassy compound, and see the the shabby place he is forced to work in (a former palace). Once again, we were able to leave all our worries behind and create some fantastic family memories. Of course SjoDry now has the fun task of re-living every moment as she creates the scrapbook of a lifetime to go with the trip of a lifetime. 


This is SjoDry…Happy Happy Happy!

It Is My Hope..

that you, my fellow Sjoggie-Mates, will have an opportunity to create an equally memorable journey or experience like the one I just experienced. Aside from the memorable aspects of sharing a family vacation together, there is huge respite value from having such a relaxing and happy event. Yes, I was physically tired, but emotionally my heart was singing the entire time I was gone. I ran away from Sjogren’s and I loved it! I was able to lose some weight, and a little Sjogren’s emotional baggage ( in addition to our real baggage which was lost on the way home). It was beyond therapeutic and I am prescribing it for all of you!

Until next time, I remain:

SjoDry & Happily Reminiscing!

Veni, Vidi, Vici. ( I came, I saw, I conquered! )

Do any of you have plans for a Sjogren’s Escape? Please Share!


About vitalsignspgh

Sandy Burkett is the Creative Engineer, President and Owner of Vital Signs. Vital Signs is a certified Native American/Woman-Owned custom sign and graphics company located in Carnegie, PA.
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One Response to When In Rome

  1. Kyleen says:

    body{font-family: Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color: #ffffff;color: black;}

    love  it!!!!

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