It’s sometimes hard to force ourselves to rest – I know I find it really hard. There’s always something to do at home, or you’re at work, or cooking tea and doing housework etc. For me, stopping for a bit of me time has never been easy – and even in the last 10 months of illness I’ve suffered, I still find it hard to admit I need to stop and breathe for a moment.
It kind of came to a head a month ago – I had a hospital appointment and was told by the nurse that my body needed to rest, that I was making myself worse by forcing myself to keep doing everything and feeling that I had to. I’d already had a day in hospital at this point after some chest pains pointed at a potential blood clot – luckily it wasn’t – but that combined with the nurse telling me and a subsequent visit to the GP meant I ended up with 2 weeks off sick.
Normally any down time is spent writing, researching etc – but for those 2 weeks I genuinely stopped and let my body rest. It was hard – my joints were so sore anyway and I’d been given higher dose pain meds from the docs. It was strange sleeping if I felt tired and also learning to use meditation to rest my mind as well as my body. But I did it – some might say it was laziness, but the truth is my autoimmune disease had genuinely knocked me on my backside. I’ve mentioned before I have been recently diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis – most people just think it’s something old people get and that it’s just ‘aches and pains’ – they don’t understand the horrendous fatigue – so bad you can get out of bed on a morning and need to sleep again an hour later. The aches and pains are more like screaming agony in every joint – often accompanied by massive swelling as is the case with me. It hurts to lift a kettle, put a bra on (I generally can’t do this without help), lift a pan of food (again can’t do this – my lovely hubby has to assist with the cooking much more now). Then there’s the fact having it suppresses your immune system – your body essentially fights itself so if you get even a sniffle, it takes longer to shift and can often develop into much more serious things. This isn’t intended as a whinge in any way – more an attempt to help people understand a little. If you’d like further information there’s this abound on the NRAS website.
So after my 2 weeks of resting, it was time for my holiday to Egypt with my lovely, patient hubby. I was dreading the airport – had heard rumours of how bad it was – but I was pleasantly surprised – hurghada was just like most international airports. Clean, straightforward apart from the touts trying to sell visas with handling fees – if ever you go, head straight for the bank. The resort was lovely – security on the doors, gated community – I felt very safe. For the next 2 weeks, I sunbathed, read (10 books and started the 11th) and wrote over 12000 words on book 4! Was nice to enjoy the holiday and not worry too much about the pain (the rest helped, and the sun is a wonderful healer and there was always the painkillers when all else failed).
Despite the awful plane crash outside sharm, we had no problems coming home – extra security which is understandable and a slight delay, but all in all nothing else. Was glad to hear my friends who were in sharm made it home safely too – albeit 3 days after they were supposed to leave.
I still have a few more days off work – had planned to do some writing today but my thumbs and wrists are swelling and sore again so a chill day it is. I’m starting to understand I need to listen to my body and rest when I need to. I’ve started on the RA meds now so am hopeful these will kick in soon and potentially reduce my symptoms. Until then, I’ll rest when I need, be productive when I can and focus on all the good things that are gunna happen next year! I can’t believe in 4 months my novel will be on the shelves in smiths and waterstones! I have so much to be thankful for – Caffeine Nights Publishing is fantastic – couldn’t ask for a better publisher. Had some mega exciting news yesterday – news I will share as soon as am able! Suffice to say I haven’t stopped smiling since.
I’ve mentioned about a gazillion times now how much I love this time of year – the colours are just breathtaking. Out with the old to make way for the new. I’ve just had my birthday and was thoroughly spoilt rotten – flowers, pennies, a top, some smellies, a gorgeous handbag, sweeties and a hedgehog ornament called Bert who is just the cutest thing. The Christmas shopping is finished – and I’m off work Xmas day which is awesome. Am already looking forward to spending time with family and friends. Am honestly blessed to have everything and everyone in my life. RA or not – I live to live. And hopefully you all do the same. So take care, take some time for you, and as always, keep smiling.