Friday, 24 September 2010

Thank all of you who have given me your support and best wishes, they are much appreciated. Crafty Cripple suggested that I look at Lene Andersen's blog about her experiences of living with rheumatoid arthritis. Thank you, it has really helped and I would highly recommend it to anyone else who has been diagnosed with arthritis.

One of Lene's posts which struck a particular chord with me was about living with pain. September is apparently National Pain Month in the US. She asks not only for better understanding of pain but also for pain sufferers to be more honest about what they are experiencing. Most people try to hide their pain from others and think it is weak to admit to it or talk about it. I have definitely been guilty of that. During my trips to the doctor over the last few years, due to pain in my back and left hip, I have been made to feel stupid, a time waster or simply a nuisance. As I was otherwise fit and healthy my pain was usually dismissed as a trapped nerve or a pulled muscle which would heal in a week or two. Sometimes the pain went away sometimes it didn't. After a while I just put up with the pain and survived by taking over the counter medication. Fortunately the pain was moderate so I was able to get by, until recently. Finally three months ago I had had enough. I really liked my GP and decided to talk to her about the problems I had been having and the new problem with my ankle. Instead of dismissing me as a hypochondriac or just hysterical she actually listened to me and took me seriously. It is thanks to her that I got my diagnosis earlier this week. Sadly for me (although not for her) she has just retired, but I will be eternally grateful to her for believing me and helping me do something about it.

I do realise that I am partly to blame. I should have been more assertive with my doctors. There have been a few times over the last couple of months when I have been close to tears because of the exhaustion and pain. The only person that I have been able to talk to is a friend who herself lives with chronic pain so she understands what I am experiencing. I have now resolved to me more honest about how I am feeling.

I am gradually coming to terms with my diagnosis and I have now got dates for physiotherapy and an appointment with a rheumatology specialist. I still feel guilty for putting my OH through this though. His Mother suffered from severe arthritis for most of her adult life and she unfortunately died last December from the complications of her illness. He knows only too well what to expect and I am so sorry to have to put him through this. The only positive thing is that my arthritis is fairly mild at the moment. Hopefully, with the right treatment, I can stay well most of the time with only the occasional flare up.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

When life gives you lemons...

Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn and you find yourself somewhere you never ever expected to be. Such a thing happened to me yesterday. I have been having problems with my back for many years. About 18 months ago I had an accident and hurt my knee quite badly. After the accident my back problems got much worse and then my ankle started hurting. At first it was simply dismissed as complications of my knee injury as I was not walking well. However as the knee healed it became apparent that my other problems were getting worse. Worried, I visited my GP and was referred to a rheumatologist. You see, I have a very strong family history of arthritis and my doctor was concerned that there might be a connection between this and my symptoms. So finally yesterday, after weeks of hospital visits and tests I finally got the diagnosis - rheumatiod arthritis.

After a sleepless night I am still in shock. Lots of things are running through my head at the moment. How will this affect my future, my relationship with my OH and also my working life? I really haven't come up with any answers yet. I feel as if the rug has been pulled from beneath my feet.

I am determined to be positive about this latest development but at the moment I honestly don't know quite what to do next.

I thought long and hard before writing this blog entry. I was worried that it would appear as though I was wallowing in self-pity. That honestly isn't the case. It really does help to write it down. I will let you know what conclusions I come to over the next few weeks.

Understandably I haven't been able to concentrate on my beading. However I have a commission to complete so I will have to try to forget my problems and get on with it. Hopefully it will help me feel better, beading usually does.

Friday, 17 September 2010

'Time is free, but it is priceless' (Harvey MacKay)

The weeks are flying past so fast at the moment it is quite frightening. At the moment I am bracing myself for a very busy period at work. As things get more hectic I am starting to daydream about all of the things that I want to make. When the stress levels start to rise I just take a few moments to think about my latest knitting or beading project and it calms me down. At the moment I am still knitting the 'Bobbie' gloves. I am probably one of the world's slowest knitters. I really envy people like my friend 'M' aka 'A Girl in Winter' who can produce beautiful socks and shawls in a matter of days.

Last Saturday 'M' and I had a really lovely day in London attending the IKnit Weekender. We caught a coach up to Victoria and walked the short distance to the Royal Horticultural Halls in Vincent Square. It was really nice spending the day with 'M' and browsing through the lovely yarns and books. I bought a copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann's 'Knitting Workshop', some Addi circular needles, a couple of patterns and a skein of gorgeous yarn from the Natural Dye Studio. 'M' and I both bought some amazing buttons from Textile Garden. Theirs was, not surprisingly, one of the most popular stands at the event.

Sunday was spent recovering from the previous day. I have a problem with my leg at the moment which is making walking too far really painful. I am currently on the waiting list for some physiotherapy so hopefully that will help. It is so frustrating to go from being fairly fit and active to my current state in just a few months.

'M' and I have made a pact that we will both starting wearing what we make more often. Spurred on by this I have been making a necklace which I will wear to work next week. It was inspired by an article on vintage jewellery in a jewellery making magazine. The original idea is not my own but I have adpted it slightly to use materials from my bead stash. I have strung the pendant onto a piece of suede thong but I am not totally happy with it. This weekend I will be going to Salisbury with my OH so I will look for a lovely piece of ribbon to replace it.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Life's little challenges

It has been such a long time since I last posted. Sorry everyone. Life has just been too hectic recently.

Since I finished my NCFE beading course I have been looking for a new challenge to spur me on. Last week I found it. I was ordering some Fireline thread and crystals from my favourite bead store - Stitch and Craft when I saw the details of their monthly charm challenge. The idea is that each month, for twelve months, they send you a Swarovski crystal bead or stone and you have to make it into a charm. All of the charms should then be attached to a necklace. The only rule is that the beads cannot be simply strung they have to be incorporated into the beadwork in some way.

So far I have received one artemis bead, a rivoli and a square ring. I have lots of ideas for the rivoli and the artemis bead but I have to admit that the square ring has stumped me! I think it is going to be fun.

I also received some good news last week. Someone who attended the Textile Kaleidoscope exhibition has commissioned me to make a necklace for her. This is my first real commission, as in the past I have always made things for friends and relatives. It is very flattering to think that she was so impressed by my work.

This Saturday I will be going to London with M (aka 'A Girl in Winter') for the IKnit London Weekender. In addition to my sock addiction I have now got hooked on making gloves. Now that September is here I have started thinking about hats, gloves and scarves again. I have ridiculously small hands and find it almost impossible to find a ready made pair of gloves that fit me properly. Knitting them myself has been a revelation, as I can try them on as I knit and so make sure they fit me to a tee. When M and I attended Knit Nation recently I saw some of Julia Mueller's gloves on display on the Wollmeise stand. I was smitten and immediately got her 'Bobbie' pattern from Ravelry, dug out some Violet Green sock yarn from my stash and cast on. I think everyone might be getting gloves for Christmas this year!

Unfortunately it means that I will miss the first meeting of the Piory Beaders, but I am really looking forward to spending the day with a good friend and drooling over all that yarn!