Wednesday, June 10, 2015


    (Image shamelessly stolen from RawForBeauty's Facebook page.)

It's been a while.

You see, I've kind of been going though some stuff. Heavy-duty stuff. Chronic pain, serious medications, physical impairment, crippling existential angst. You know, stuff nobody wants to deal with. Ever.

When I developed chronic tenosynovitis in my wrists and hands and I had to give up knitting, I felt like I had lost a little piece of my soul. So I've sort of shut down, closed myself off. Become a hermit. 

Because I was afraid.

Afraid that I would lose all the other things that I loved to do, like spinning and weaving and cooking. Afraid that without those things, my life would have no meaning. Afraid that I was exaggerating my pain or my disease (the medical term is "catastrophising"). Afraid that things would never get better, and continue getting worse. Afraid that doctors would not take me seriously. Afraid of what people would think of me. Afraid that friends would leave me if they caught a whiff of weakness or neediness. Afraid that I was not good enough anymore. Afraid that a disease had stolen my life.

Afraid that no one would read this blog anymore if I wrote whiny posts about how much rheumatoid arthritis hurts and how it is changing my life every day.

And, you know what? A lot of those things did happen. I had to cut back on the amount of spinning I do (and so a lot less worsted spinning!). And life did feel less meaningful. I was told that my pain couldn't be that bad, because it was "only tendinitis", after all. Things did get worse as the tenosynovitis spread through my body and I developed some fairly major bursitis issues, too, leading to more pain and some mobility issues. Some doctors dismissed me out of hand. Some friends simply disappeared from my life.

So I wallowed in my hermitage.

But some small spark kept me fighting. I just didn't realize how hard I WAS fighting until yesterday.

Today I see that when I cut back on spinning, it opened up more time for weaving. I see that my definition of a meaningful life is evolving, and different things give my life meaning today. I found a few compassionate medical professionals who verified that my pain was real, that it was indeed part of the journey through rheumatoid arthritis, and that there were treatment options. I have learned that moving slowly and cautiously still gets me from Point A to Point B, and that it gives me time to stop and smell the roses as I go. I have learned that doctors are fallible, and if one does not hear you, you just have to go to the next one and speak a little more clearly. And I learned that I really do have some pretty amazing friends, who love me in spite of my pain  and my newfound slowness.

So I'm beginning to see the last 6 months of my life less as a period of hiding and hermitting and more 
as a period of metamorphosis. I have been in a cocoon, buffering myself from the outside world as I grow into the new life I have to live. I am still changing, still struggling to accept limitations and alterations. I am having a hard time letting go of old beliefs and expectations. 

And here I am, slowly emerging from my cocoon, unfurling fragile and wet wings, hoping that they will be strong enough to allow me to soar. We shall see if I am ready to share my story and return to this blog.

I still have much to sort through, so bear with me. I am still learning what it means to live with chronic illness. I am restructuring my life, my entire world view. It's not easy, and it sure ain't pretty, but I'm tired of hiding and hoping it will go away. 

Let's see where the road leads.