Tuesday, May 17, 2011

starting again

I started this blog about 18 months ago, when I was doing a lot of knitting, including some for other people.  I knit a bit for charity, for sale, and for trade, and I wanted a place to be able to share my work with friends and customers, both current and potential.  I only wrote a couple of entries that first week, and then one several months later - typical of me, to start something and then not follow through with it.  I knit for others less and less over those months as well, not doing a good job of keeping up with deadlines, hard or soft.  I love to knit but find that knitting for someone under deadline, unless it's just for a gift (and even then sometimes), makes me anxious.  And when I get anxious, I have a hard time dealing with the thing that is making me anxious, so I push it back until I can't ignore it anymore.  That's really no way to build a business, even a small one like knitting out of your home.  Not to mention it's a total disservice to the art of knitting: something that should be enjoyed, and has even been shown to reduce stress.

So the blog was ignored.  Last entry was May 1, 2010.  I decided to delete the previous three entries because they didn't really have more than a list of projects I was working on at the time.

In July 2010, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a systemic autoimmune disease that affects people of all ages.  To make a long story short, I had been having symptoms on and off for years that I only attribute to the RA in retrospect, and when I finally pushed for testing, several markers for an autoimmune disease were there.  (In fact, my primary care doc thought it was Lupus at first; my rheumatologist is the one who felt it was more likely RA.)  The most specific test to date (the anti-CCP antibody test) came back off the charts, both confirming that it was, indeed, RA and indicating that I will have an aggressive, progressive form.  It would take a long time to talk about everything that led me to believe an autoimmune disease was brewing in my body, and I'm not ready to get that far into it right now.  I'll save it for another day.

My knitting mojo has been coming and going over the past year or so, as it often has since I taught myself to knit about 4 years ago.  Sometimes it hurts to knit, other times there's too much going on and I just can't focus.  Either way, I'd like to write a bit about knitting and how it is affected by my RA.

The main reason I'm blogging now is because I need an outlet.  I guess know that some people don't think RA is a big deal; that you can do something as simple as lose some weight or exercise or change your diet and it'll go away.  It doesn't work that way.  It's an all-encompassing condition that often can't be tamed by diet, exercise, weight loss, or even heavy-duty drugs.  (I'm not talking painkillers - I'm talking TNF inhibitors and drugs used for chemotherapy.)  It can be overwhelming for me, and I need somewhere to talk about it where nobody is obligated to listen.  I have friends I can talk to, over the phone or on message boards, but often I feel like I'm backing them into the conversation.  I am not faulting them if they don't want to hear it; sometimes you can only hear something so many times before you want to turn your attention elsewhere for a little while.  I feel like if I blog about it, at least they can make the choice to just not read if they don't want to hear it that day, or week, or month...or ever.

That said, I'm hoping to share plenty of happy things here too.  I don't want it to seem like I'm constantly complaining or that I don't appreciate the things I can do, the people in my life, etc.  I want to chronicle the good things along with everything else, even if it's just to give myself something to smile about on a harder-than-usual day.

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