Note from Cathy: Sallie is a wonderful friend I met through our work together for a non-profit organization. Although we live on different continents, I learn so much from Sallie and value her friendship. Sometimes I feel like she has packed me up in her suitcase and is giving me a "holiday" experience as she travels through Europe and shares her adventures on Facebook. I learn through these photos to stop and make memories. I also love that she doesn't hesitate to post photos of her swollen feet for the world to see. She is definitely an example if living outside your blog/community.
Guest Blog – “This is Me”, Live TV and Rock Choir.
I am a 54 year old Woman with 2 beautiful grown up Daughters and 4 wonderful Grandchildren. I live in just about the centre of England in Northamptonshire and have been living in the same house for 36 years, since I married my Husband, Fred. For those of you quick at maths, you will realise that I was married at 18 and just in case you are wondering, my Daughters came along in the first 2 years.
I have had a varied and fairly successful career; the last 10 years having been spent in Banking.
So, why you may ask, am I writing a blog about Arthritis? Let’s back pedal to 4 years ago, I can distinctly remember the strange swellings on firstly my right wrist and pain. This was followed within weeks by pain in my left risk and more swelling. “Repetitive strain” I thought and made a mental note to use the iPAD less and take more breaks away from my Computer. At the time my Mum was very unwell and the symptoms didn’t feel a priority. Admittedly, travelling for work and attempting to lift a suitcase in to the overhead locker did move the problem up the agenda a little. It wasn’t however, until my feet became so swollen with the added sensation of walking on broken glass that I decided that I could no longer ignore the symptoms and took the first appointment to see a Nurse at our local surgery.
The Nurse very wisely instructed me to get on top of the pain with Paracetamol and suggested that in her view, I was demonstrating a form of Arthritis that needed blood tests to confirm. Within a few weeks, by which time Mum had sadly passed away, I was handed the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis and sent away to research both the Disease and the DMARDs I was told were needed to get on top of the chronic inflammation.
During this time of learning and adjusting I read various blogs and made connections with organisations that I believed could help me and some that I believed I could help. I have had the pleasure of working with Cathy Kramer (The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo), Lene Andersen (The Seated View) and Jessica Murphy with a common aim to make a difference to a few of the lives of those diagnosed with Inflammatory Arthritis.
Distraction is a wonderful technique. I wish I was better at Meditation or better at practising Meditation but so far, I haven’t mastered the technique. So, what do I do for distraction? I sing? Not very good, but I sing – I am an alto in a Rock Choir (I will leave you to look the organisation up and if you are based in the UK, why not sign up). I join a group of Women and Men every week to sing our hearts out – covering the likes of Don’t stop me now, Living on a Prayer, Something inside so strong, Budapest and many more – I LOVE IT! Highlights so far have been singing at Wembley Stadium to 85k people and had the great honour of backing Russell Watson when he performed at a local Theatre.
I can honestly say that the pain melts away while I sing. My Disease doesn’t define me but it has certainly brought opportunity and challenges in to my life and I am loving every moment.