Resuming transmission, I hope

I have been a very poor correspondent over the last few months. If it wasn’t for the SAL deadlines, I wouldn’t have been posting at all. And a couple of those posts were rather skimpy. However, I have a good excuse…..

Early in December my neck and hips started to feel very stiff and sore, and then it got worse over the month. Not really painful, but doing simple things, like turning over in bed, bending over, sitting down, were really difficult. It was worse in the morning.

Eventually, after expecting it to go away, and throwing Christmas and New Year into the time mix, I had blood tests which showed high levels of inflammation. My GP was really supportive, and started me on medication that helped, almost overnight.

This week I saw a rheumatologist, who diagnosed polymyalgia rheumatica. It is an inflammatory condition which, fortunately, is treatable. It may take time but the medication should get the immune system and inflammation under control. So, good news!

The best way to describe it to you is to say that many, many, moons ago I went rock climbing with my brother. Oh boy, were my thigh muscles stiff over the next few days! I remember how difficult it was to climb the stairs at work, and at one stage had to go up backwards. My legs just didn’t want to work. Through December my muscles seemed to be saying, “Nup, we’re not moving.” They were stiff and sore. Trying to make them move was a little painful, but overall the pain level was quite low.

I mention this because I know there are many people, including some of you, who suffer high levels of pain over months and years. What I have experienced has not been at that level, but it has given me more insight into how difficult life can be for many. I applaud you for your courage and resilience.

Getting the diagnosis confirmed how important it is to have someone say “This is what you have, this is how we can deal with it”. Before the diagnosis there were a number of possibilities which I brooded on, playing out scenarios in my mind, having imaginary conversations, scrolling through websites and Youtube videos. None of that was helpful. I knew it wasn’t a good idea, but I was impatient to know. My mind tried to come up with its own solutions, but all it was doing was being a hamster on a wheel. However, now I know which way I am facing I know which direction to go in.

It is a relief to get out of my own head!

There seem to be many chronic conditions that are difficult to pin down. And that’s assuming you have a supportive medical professionals who believe you. And access to specialists and the various tests needed. So again, I really feel for people who have had to fight to get the correct diagnosis, people who have not only had to deal with what their own bodies are throwing at them but battling to be heard by others.

I am grateful for so many reasons.

Now, to end on a different note. Even when I was chatting to you on a more regular basis, I hadn’t mentioned much about my art. I am going to leave you with a gallery of my collages, with the promise that soon I will tell you more about them. However, if you can’t wait for that post sometime in the future, you can sign up for my newsletter. This weekend I am going to write about how my collages are rather like jigsaw puzzles. [You can sign up here.]

34 thoughts on “Resuming transmission, I hope

  1. Lovely to see you back and with some “good news” on what ails thee – and having professionals not tell you “it’s all in your head” or “it’s your age” or “similar” – and now to see what you’ve been dabbling with – also really good. Not to rush thee, though – good things take time to create…

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  2. Oh, Anne, I’m so glad the news were not worse. During my months of trying to get diagnosed for what turned out to be Lyme disease, I saw so many awful things. And I too, was eternally grateful that I had access to that treatment and that I could afford to have it. All my best wishes for a speedy recovery. And hugs 🌷🌷🌷🌷

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    1. I’ve just done a quick search ~ those months of trying to get a diagnosis must have been very difficult for you. I hope all is well with you now. Thanks for your good wishes, and the hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That art work came directly out of our long lockdown last year. We could only walk within 5 km, so I became very fond of my local urban wetlands. I had a lot of time to see how the reeds and water ribbons grew. ☺️
      My pain and stiffness are well under control now. Thanks heavens for the right medication!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome back! I a relieved that you have now got a diagnosis and treatment for what sounds a very bothersome and worrying set of symptoms. Having access to good healthcare and being able to afford it is such a simple luxury but makes a huge difference to life. I will look forward to hearing more about your beautiful collages. I am finding reading about the creative work of you and other bloggers such a source of inspiration.

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    1. It is a relief to know that it was not something much worse, and treatable. It seems that many autoimmune conditions are not. Quite a number of things to be grateful for, including, as you say, a decent health care system.
      Sue, I am glad my work gives you pleasure, and some inspiration.

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  4. I’ve been enjoying following your art via Insta. The collages are amazing… I can only imagine working with torn up paper requires much talent, let alone to create art from it. So pleased you have diagnosis, effective treatment, and presumably supportive medical professionals that got you there. Take care ♡

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    1. Dale, I hope to be less erratic on Instagram too. (Not Facebook though ~ shudder 🥺) I love doing the collages. So much of the work is problem solving, which I have realised that I love. Thanks for your good wishes.

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  5. There are so many illnesses that have similar symptoms. I can appreciate that it can be hard even for dedicated medical professionals to come up with an accurate assessment but that doesn’t lessen the frustration for the patient much. So glad you’ve been able to get a diagnosis and that there’s a simple treatment (or so it sounds). Access to decent health care truly is a luxury that shouldn’t be.

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    1. I have been thinking of you, Sue, as I know you struggle with ongoing health issues. It can be very hard for health professionals, as it seems that many conditions don’t have reliable tests and symptoms can be very similar. You are right that decent health care should not be a luxury.

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  6. I am so sorry to hear you have back problems, Anne. And relieved that the meds help. If there is a next time, please talk to us. We’re hamsters too, but at least we’re on slightly different wheels. And we care. -hugs-

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  7. A good GP is above rubies. I’m so happy to hear that your tiring and painful condition is diagnosed and on the way to being controlled. Quite apart from the condition itself, the fear, uncertainty and fatigue of not knowing are very hard to live with. I hope you’ll be feeling much better very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The fear and uncertainly can be as draining as the condition…well, it all mixes in together. I am feeling way better, thanks Kate. I am back to making lists of things to do, so I know I am feeling better!

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  8. I am so glad that you have a diagnosis – I think my elderly father has this polymyalgia thing too – it was first noticed after playing golf (those were the days before lockdown) and he takes steroids for it, I think. I hope that your pain has reduced too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like your Dad has it too. The average age of sufferers is in the 70s, and I take steroids too. I am glad he was able to get relief. Mine is well under control now, thankfully!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry that you have to live with ongoing pain. I am moving much more easily now, but can appreciate how difficult it is for those who can’t. Big hugs to you!

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      1. Thank you. But I know lots of others have more pain than I, so I’m not really complaining. And as painkillers still help it’s ok. What a pity growing old is not always fun, we should be like wine, the older the better 😀

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    1. Thank heavens for a decent, accessible health care system. It must be so difficult for those who, for various reasons, can’t get the diagnosis and medication they need. Thanks for your good wishes.

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  9. Hi Anne. I’ve been meaning to pop by for a while but find myself so busy with a few things all at the same time, and my blog posting and blog reading has gone adrift! Who knew lockdown could be so busy?!

    I’m so pleased you have a proper diagnosis and that you can be treated. You’re right, there are so many conditions which cannot be effectively managed and I’ve have reflected a few times how bad I would be at being accepting of chronic pain. I have had what was called post viral myalgia in my 30s (more like M.E. really) which was tough going at times but I was young and tolerated it well. I do whatever I can these days to keep myself supple because of remembering those years.

    Wishing you some ease and I’ll be calling by again to learn about your collages!

    best wishes and take care :>)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Lynne. I am moving more easily now, and have more energy, so I am looking forward to getting back into things once more. I was rather shocked at how difficult it was to do things I could easily do before ~ picking things up off the floor, squatting, lifting my leg to wash my feet. Like you, I will try to remember what it is like not to be able to do these things.

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  10. I’m happy that the problem has been diagnosed and that the meds are helping! My friend Susie was finally, after years of doctors treating her as if she were a hypochondriac, diagnosed with fibromyalgia and is now receiving treatment for it. Hang in there, Anne … I hope you are feeling much better now! Hugs!

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