I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. While this is not usually something I would talk about on a blog which focuses mostly on the fiber arts, this disease affects my ability to practice these arts quite often. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease which attacks the thyroid gland and causes all kinds of havoc within the body. Inflammation is a big obstacle folks with this disease grapple with. I have times where, for no known reason, my left wrist swells painfully and I can't move it, for upwards of a week or more. I have to wear a brace on it just to keep it immobile. This makes it very hard to knit, spin, type, wash my hair, etc.
For nearly a year I have been on a very restricted diet which excludes diary, all grains, all legumes, sugar, alcohol, nuts, seeds, soy, and all nightshades (eggplant, tomato, pepper, potatoes). I can eat lean protein, veggies and fruits.
I am not saying all of this to garner pity. In fact, I really love my diet. It's easy and I really don't miss all those other foods, mostly because they made me so very sick but also, I've become accustomed to not having them. I also deal pretty well with the inflammation and the chronic headaches, heart palpitations and my newest symptom, vertigo. This disease does test me, and it definitely tests my husband and children, but it is part of my life and it isn't going anywhere.
I've written this post to highlight my personal struggle but everyone has a personal struggle. It's not what we are burdened with that defines us, it's how we manage that burden. Knitting, designing, spinning, working with natural dyes, and writing, are things that bring me joy and help me to see how fortunate I am to have days, maybe even weeks at a time, where my disease takes a back seat and I can really shine.
Like other things in my life, this disease has presented me with struggles but it has also presented me with gifts: perseverance, faith, trust, and hope.