Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas ornaments and the latest on my health.

Well, there is no denying it, the Christmas season is upon us! Oh, I know it's only the 19th of December, but Christmas is everywhere my fact, it's presence has been steadily increasing in the shops for over a month. Now Christmas decorations are up in the shopping centres and I've even heard Christmas carols being played. Whilst I do love Christmas, I must admit, that these days it instills a feeling of stress in me. For us mums, it is a crazy busy time of year. Most of the food planning and preparation, gift buying and wrapping, and house-preparing falls to us mothers.

Not to mention the sending of Christmas cards! Do other people still do that? I seem to be receiving less and less cards each year and every year lately I've been wondering if I should let that tradition go.  Still undecided for this year. Inevitably I always seem to get the guilts and throw my Christmas cards in the mail at the last minute, a few days before the mailman stops delivering for the holidays.

I've been making some ornaments commissioned by a friend from basketball. They are little Christmas trees made of wool appliqued onto cotton a cotton background. They're decorated with red and clear seed beads and topped with a golden embroidered star. I've then mounted them in a miniature embroidery hoop made by Sonia at Dandelyne ( I have 15 of these to make for this commission and I wonder if I'll be enthused enough to make a few more for myself after I've finished the order. My fickle creative brain may well have moved onto something else by then.
Work in progress: I do the applique and embroidery for several of these at a time.

The finished ornament. It measures just 5.5cm in diameter.   

My main focus over the last few weeks though, has not been Christmas, nor art/craft of any kind. I have been one hundred percent focused on my health. Yet another rheumatologist visit a few weeks ago saw me take away a diagnosis of UCTD (undifferentiated connective tissue disease) on the scleroderma spectrum. So that means I have an autoimmune disease that doesn't fit neatly into a well known "box" or diagnosable illness, but has symptoms overlapping a few autoimmune illnesses. Obviously my doctor thinks it is most like scleroderma, but I don't have enough symptoms or test results to make a definitive diagnosis at this stage.

So we wait and we watch. That's pretty much all she could offer me, other than treating individual symptoms as they arise (ie. commencing down the road to a cocktail of medications, and their side effects, which mask the illness but don't make any claim to cure or reverse it). This has been pretty overwhelming. This may sound odd, but it is good to know that someone finally acknowledges that there is something physically wrong with me and this chronic illness is not a figment of my imagination. I have something that can be monitored and measured, but not cured and perhaps barely treated, at least from an orthodox medical perspective. 

Basically it has made me stop in my tracks and wonder what on earth I can do to get off this autoimmune disease train I'm on that has me hurtling toward some very serious and somewhat scary health consequences. I've been reading masses of information and watching lots of interviews with doctors and other health professionals working in the field of functional medicine, trying to get some idea if I can change the course of my health.

When I opened up this book by Dr Susan Blum the other day it brought me to tears.

This is the dedication page that made me realise that I have to do everything I can to change the course of my health. 

That one line hit me hard: "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading".
I may not know exactly how to change the course of my autoimmune illness yet, but I am going to work my butt off trying to find out. I am determined not to accept my doctor's attitude that there is nothing I can do about it. Damn it, I am going to search and search and work and work to ensure that I don't end up where I've been heading. I have a life to live and a family to live for. I won't just accept that I am going to be "a sick person" for the rest of my life.

Of course, a steely determination is not enough on it's own, and I know there will be bumps in the road. But I will never give up my quest for wellness - despite the "best advice" of my rheumatologist and my GP.

I'll let you know how I go :)