This month I'm doing a 30-Day Blog Challenge. Each day I will offer up a serving of what's in my heart in the moment. My wish is for you to receive a delicious blessing, and my hope is that you will feel inspired to leave a precious morsel of that in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!
Yes, those are my hands. Shocking, I know. I usually do my best to ignore them or at least keep them out of sight. When I meet someone for the first time and they reach to shake my hand, I brace myself for the pain that shoots through my fingers as their hand squeezes down on mine.
Most people who meet me or know me, don't realize the severe pain or disfigurement I've suffered with from over twenty years of having arthritis. I'm not complaining, because at this point I'm used to it. However, imagine how it feels to make your living using your hands--those hands--every single day. That's really my only issue. I've done my best to live with it, and no, I'm not quite ready to switch to voice recognition software so that I can dictate my writing onto the page. I love typing the words too much to do that yet. Hand writing is another story. I've definitely lost some ground there and cannot endure more than filling out a form or writing a list or signing my name. More than that is simply too difficult. I cannot even hold my pen the same way I used to.
Mostly, the pain isn't excruciating. I've taken boatloads of supplements over the years, but no major meds of any kind (my body just can't handle the side effects). Dairy and gluten cause inflammation, which is why I mostly gave that up two and a half years ago--not always easy to do when traveling.
I feel a bit of self pity over this here and there....mostly in the middle of the night when a jolt of pain shoots through my fingers as I turn over or try to scratch an itch somewhere on my body. Often this ignites a wave of panic making me wonder if it's going to keep getting worse and will I ever feel relief from the heavy feeling in my joints. Sometimes I get so discouraged I consider having a full-blown tantrum about the poor design of the human body. At some point, realizing the futility of that, I just gulp, sigh and take long, deep breaths.
Having hands that look like someone thirty to forty years older than me is a constant reminder that my body is deteriorating, and there's nothing I can do about it. Well, sure I can go to the extreme and eat only raw food and wheatgrass juice in the hopes of flushing my immune system, which of course, I've considered and probably will do. But right now....right now, I'm trusting that at the very least, my hands will hold steady until I am ready to give up almost all of my remaining favorite foods.
Along with certain foods, cold, damp weather is also my enemy, which means I probably shouldn't be spending so much time in the Pacific NW, especially during the winter. I just don't care for life in the desert. I'd miss the water and the trees.
Alas, aging is not for sissies. But my body is still my body. It needs me to love it, beautiful crooked hands and all. So I do.
I also do my best to keep up-to-date on the best natural ways to heal the pain...turmeric and essential fatty acids get rave reviews, for instance. There are also endless body-mind techniques as well which can bring relief. Meditation helps as does yoga. Cardio and strength training also help.
All of this is well and good. What I'd really like a permanent solution so it doesn't have to take up so much space in my head....I just don't want to think about it any more. I'm pretty sure everyone with physical pain feels this way. Pain makes us cranky.
On my good days, when I've eaten well and there's no stress, I actually even forget about my hands. I love when that happens. When I remember, I get up as I am now and grab some supplements and lovingly remind my body that it's okay to not be perfect...and how much I appreciate all the other parts that are working SO well.
What physical challenges are you living with and how do you cope?