This post covers a topic that Chef Pete and I feel is very important to talk about. The point of this post is not to gather sympathy but to build awareness of Chronic Invisible Illness.
Many Superheroes walk among us and mask their invisible pain with a smile. Be kind, look up from your phone, remove your blinkers for a while, notice the small signs that someone may need just a little kindness or assistance but are too proud to ask for it.
As many of you know I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, diagnosed at the age of 42, it was a huge shock as I had always associated arthritis with the elderly. According to Cynthia Crowson, RA researcher and Biostatician, the odds of someone in their 20s developing RA is 1 in 714 for women and 1 in 2,778 for men.
Currently my little piggies are heading off to market in different directions which can affect the way I walk. Chef Pete has affectionately dubbed this my Penguin Shuffle ?. My hands cannot handle the same amount of punishment as they used to. I drop things on a regular basis but then getting down to the floor to pick things up brings it’s own difficulties. If Chef Pete doesn’t get there to pick it up first he usually cranks out a little tune which makes me giggle as he makes me sound like R2D2 that needs oiling!
It can be frustrating because I just love to bake. I love making people happy through food. It is my therapy and my happy place. Chef Pete is my rock and is always by my side but it can be frustrating for him and for me when I really want to challenge my skills but physically I am unable to.
My sweet, sweet friend Liz always says “How are you Michelle?” I always say “I’m fine thanks lovely”. She always replies with “Now tell me the truth, how are you really?”
Suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis brings with it high levels of fatigue, joint pain, joint swelling, redness, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion. This makes mobility an everyday struggle.
There are a multitude of Chronic Invisible Illnesses. I have only listed a few – Rheumatoid Arthritis & other forms of Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Depression, Anxiety, Lupus, Stroke, Autism, Crohn’s Disease, Diabetes, Cancer, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Impaired Vision, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Deafness, Early Stage Multiple Sclerosis, Early Stage Parkinsons, The list is huge. Of those suffering from Chronic Invisible Illness, 60% are between the ages of 16 and 64.
WE ARE BLESSED TO KNOW MANY SUPERHEROES THAT BATTLE INVISIBLE DEMONS EVERY DAY
?Bobbie is a stunningly beautiful lady inside and out. She is also a phenomenally talented cake decorator. Stroke is a condition that society associates with the elderly but Bobbie is a Stroke Survivor in her 30’s.
?Louise is a beautiful kind spirit who has Fibromyalgia. Having undergone operations and treatments that do little to reduce her suffering, Louise is a devoted wife and mother who dedicates her career to making sure others have the care and assistance they need. She has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic while fighting her own daily battle.
?Chris is an amazing soul who has lived with Crohn’s Disease for most of her life. She is always bubbly, has a funky personality, and a zest for life. I can’t climb on a Vespa, but she makes it look easy in her 70s. Her therapy is being in the garden and watching the green spaces she has created bloom. She has a huge heart and a smile that hides her battles.
There are so many more that I would love to talk about but I think this post is long enough!