Wednesday, September 16, 2009
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week
Ordinarily I wouldn't dream of posting this page... I was at the lake with 12 crayons (acrylic:) and a sketchbook and I started working on a tree to practice my drawing skills. It started out as day and night and then I started thinking about the metaphor, the light opposing the dark, how the same tree can appear so different depending upon the light. And I started thinking about the way my days are. Everyone has bad days. Everyone gets sick. But for five years? I added flames beneath the darkened tree, the burning hopes, the potential that often remains just that, latent potential, smoke swirling, dispersing in the night air; the pain and frustration that, like the illness, are unseen in the absence of light.
Living with a chronic illness sometimes feels like a silent thief steals in and swipes so many hours and dreams, and options, leaving me with swollen aching joints and debilitating fatigue. So I got out a couple of pens and began to journal about my anger and frustration, also remembering to also acknowledge my gratitude for the light, the good days.
There are many silver linings - my ability to be so fully present, to listen with my ears and my heart, to reach out and to empathize. It has, in many ways, brought me closer to my children. My 13-year old son helped me at the grocery, he did all the carrying and drove the cart... but he also said that it scared him when I stopped mid-aisle to take a break. And it makes me so sad that it has this, and other, effects on my family. But, as I told him (again) I have an auto-immune type of arthritis with a few sides. It isn't terminal, I'm not going to die, or become paralyzed, unable to see or speak. So many suffer from such incredibly worse illnesses that I almost feel silly blogging about mine. Like it or not though, this illness does play a major role in my life.
This week happens to be National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness week. I'd discovered this event last year on one of my favorite blogs, My Vintage Studio. I posted focusing mostly on the social and interpersonal aspects.
Since then I've exchanged blog comments and emails with dozens of others who create art in spite of, or to give meaning to myriad illnesses. National Chronic Illness Awareness Week was founded by a woman, Lisa Copen, who somehow manages to pull it off, with articles, guest bloggers, virtual seminars and a packed schedule of speakers on Blog Talk Radio who address valuable, vital issues. (for a schedule or more information, click on this link) all while battling her own illness. And being a mother.
Bloggers United had issued a call to post on Monday to help create awareness for invisible illnesses, which affect nearly half the population. I am a couple of days late, as usual. Monday I was having a really bad (sick) day. I tried to create a work of art that, like Karin's (A View Beyond Words), would do it justice, but it wasn't happening. So I took Karin's advice and decided to post this page, which will probably never again see the light of day; what better way to demonstrate the challenges and impact of chronic illness. So, thanks to Lisa and all those who make every day lighter.
p.s. prayers for the family and friends of Patrick Swayze