Friday, January 7, 2011

Mending Myself

I love to mend, to repair and fix things.  I tinker with a needle and thread, glue, duct tape and wire, always with a smile on my face. I smile because it feels like I am a conduit for a redemption.  If I am not successful, there is still satisfaction in knowing I tried before I released the item to the trash, or better still recycled any lovely parts to repair the next thing.

Harder to mend myself. I suffer from two kinds of rheumatoid arthritis: ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic  arthritis.  Much of the time I'm feeling a bit broken. I can't move the way I'd like and I have pain that wears me out.

I struggle to find the ways to mend myself.  Too much rest is not good, but over exercising the inflamed areas merely exacerbates the inflammation.  The recommendations for diet and alternative treatments are myriad and often conflicting. One by one, I test the recommendations that make the most sense, that seem possible.  

While mending, I struggle also to remain cheerful and polite to the suggestions that come.  Struggle to remain cheerful within reason, to remain authentic without whining or asking too much of those who offer help.  Struggle to know when to ask for help with the mending. 

I look for new doctors when old ones prove unsatisfactory.  It's a tough to discern which is my dissatisfaction due to the reality of a disease, and what is the doctor not listening. Knowing the difference is a delicate balance. Always I am testing myself, as I try to mend.  My initial perceptions are sometimes clouded by false hope, misinformation, lack of patience, and other human follies. 

Often my perceptions are sometimes spot on.  I love to mend and I want to heal to the extent I can, to use the wisdom and parts of this disease to build something of my life.  There have been limitations, perhaps too many to share.  Some are temporary losses of range of motion, others life-changing, grief-inducing: permanent body changes.

Part of the way to mend myself is to go inward and listen to the teacher there.  It requires silence, self-acceptance and at the same time a modicum of self-discipline.  Just when I want to cosset myself, I need to stretch the fabric of my being taut, to pull the needle through and begin the sewing that will mend me.

Though I may be acting reserved and inward, it is not that I'm sad. I'm happy because I'm working on mending.  It requires all the strength I have.


  1. Claire,
    I Hope you are feeling better. My mother had what you have (from the age of 35), and I can remember her having difficulty just buttoning her clothes.
    Take care...

  2. Claire,
    I already tried to post a comment, but Google loves to mess with me.
    My mother had what you have, and I know she suffered heart goes out to you.

  3. Hi, Claire. I happened upon your post...not even sure how I got here, but I'm so glad I read it. Yes, mending and recycling. Seems like the least we could do in exchange for the wonderful resources we've been given. I appreciate your struggles to become whole, or at least to do the best with what you have. I struggle with new limitations as life presents them to me...just a part of living, I think, as I get older. Eyesight not what it used to be, etc. Thank you for your gentle insights.


Hi, I love you it when you comment! Thanks!