Resistance, as the Borg say, is futile. This, however, does not stop me from practicing it, especially when it comes to my Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It's been a year since I was diagnosed and I still find myself fighting with both the disease and my self. I've worked hard over this past year to accept the limitations that have been put on me by this disease. I'm not doing as well as I could be, because I am resisting.
I liked my life the way it was. I was busy and productive. I spun and knit and wove. I taught and wrote. I cooked fancy meals and gardened. I socialized and entertained. I did things. Lots of things. Sure, sometimes I got tired or stressed, or some part of me hurt, but I was living up to my model of a busy, accomplished human in the 21st Century. I was strong and bold and accomplished.
Things have changed drastically in the last couple of years. I just can't keep up that pace anymore, as much as I wish I could. Limits have been imposed. Limits not of my own choosing. My fingers are not quite as nimble as they once were. Chronic fatigue has cut both ends off of my days by making it harder to get up in the mornings and easier to fall asleep in the evenings. Pain and stiffness mean every task takes so much longer than it used to, and side effects from my medications make me groggy and fuzzy-headed.
In spite of all of this, I soldiered on, keeping up the hectic pace of my old life. I have had to work harder to keep it all going, but I have kept it. I have talked big talk about letting go of this task or focussing more on that job, but I haven't actually done it. I have been trying to resist changing. As long as I am resisting, I can tell myself I am fighting and holding on to a normal life.
But two things have become very clear to me lately. The first is that this disease is not going to go away and I had just better accept my new limits. The second is that putting a pretty face on pain and illness and suffering of any kind hurts not only the person who is suffering, but every one. Openess and honesty do not mean you are weak and whiny. It means you are accepting life as it is. It is the lie that all is well that does far more harm.
So, the time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things. About change and acceptance and moving forward. About saying no and setting reasonable expectations. About being honest about my disease and the impact it has on my life. It is time to stop resisting and to understand that acceptance does not equal defeat. About admitting when I hurt and slowing down.
It is also time to talk about tiny triemphs. About finally finishing the sweater that I started in January. About my wonderful vacation in California over the last two weeks. About living life, in spite of pain and fatigue, even if it is not exactly the life I had planned.
Moving forward, I want to write more, about my disease and about fibre and about life, starting here on this little blog. I am not changing my blog from a fibre arts blog to an RA blog, I am opening up my focus to include the realities of my life as a fibre artist with RA. There will be more stories about pain and disease and medications, but there will be stories about fibre and making really good yarn, too. I hope that those of you who have been reading all along will come along for the new journey.
Let's stop resisting together.