I’ve always been the Great Procrastinator but this is one of my best efforts.
Last time I posted, nearly two years ago, I was about to start long service leave and head into the wilds of Africa.
I went. It was fabulous.
I intended posting a travelogue detailing the amazing places and animals I saw, the once-in-a-lifetime experiences I enjoyed and the fabulous people I met.
Trouble is, during my three months long service leave, I didn’t have much time for culling the copious notes I’d jotted along the way or selecting a few photos from the hundreds I’d taken.
I was too busy planning, packing and unpacking for a series of adventures: chilling out in Vanuatu, cruising the Great Ocean Road, and hanging out with family and friends at home and in the far north.
Then it was back to the busyness of work and the last thing I felt like doing after spending all day in front of a computer writing was sitting at home in front of a computer writing.
There were too many distractions – family and friends to catch up with; movies, concerts and shows to see; books to read; places to go; gardening to do;and the usual home, life and health maintenance to do.
And from the August of 2014, there were trips up north every few months to check in on Mum’s recovery from a broken ankle and on Dad following his dementia diagnosis in early 2015.
Motivation became even lower last year when I joined Arthritis Queensland’s Facebook group, Swell Gals.
It seemed there were so many people in so much greater pain than I who were doing it so much tougher.
Some of them still don’t have a diagnosis or treatment that works.
Why would anyone want to read about my pithy and positive experiences of life?
I’m lucky. I’m pretty much pain free and living my life independently, working full time, able to keep tabs on the folks and maintain a social life.
I mentioned this to Mum, who reminded me that I, too, have been in a lot of pain, uncertainty and distress over the years.
“Don’t you remember all those days you had off school and all the trips we made from Mareeba to Cairns to see the paediatrician to find out what was wrong with you?
“And then, when we knew what was going on, driving the 10-hour round trip to Townsville to see the rheumatologist?”
I’d nearly forgotten the disgusting taste of the 12 dissolving aspirin I had to chug down despite their ineffectiveness and the kids at school asking why I always smelt of Dencorub and got out of doing phys ed.
Science has come a long way with treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA) but even these days I still have to cope with unexpected flare ups.
Mum had reminded me that while having a chronic illness may bond a group with a common element, everyone is different.
As each person has their own stuff mentally, socially, economically and physically, it follows that RA affects everyone differently.
To coin a reality TV cliché, each of us is in different stages of our RA ‘journey’.
And I’ve been on my ‘journey’ a bloody long time and have learnt a trick or two about living with Arthur.
Being individuals, some people may relate to or find some hope in my musings and some won’t.
But that’s OK because writing is one of my pleasures and a distraction from living with the ever-present Arthur who can sometimes be a (figurative) pain in the arse.
I’ve realised I need to stop procrastinating and just write.
If someone finds something of interest or value in my ‘journey’, then that’s an added bonus.