Insult to Injury

When I arrived back from Europe on October 24, I was exhausted and sleep-deprived.  But I’m pretty compulsive about cleaning when I first get back from a long trip, and set to work putting the house in order.  With four male roommates, the kitchen counter had become storage, and there was no room to prepare food.  The floors and counters were dusty, and the library floor was stacked with books. I had rented out my room, and needed to clean it thoroughly.  So I spent a week on my knees, scrubbing and sweeping. Then I turned my attention to the yard, which had grown into an ugly tangled mess, as my housemate had mistakenly set the water system for four times a day.  Some plants had died from overwater, while others had grown leggy, with the Bermuda grass doing the best and expanding its footprint.  I’d inherited this lovely weed from my father, a legacy of the days that he may have used it for hardy lawn material.  Unfortunately, too hardy.  My ex and I spent hours trimming trees and bushes and doing our best to pull oak seedlings and Bermuda grass out by the roots.  While I no longer have lawn, the Bermuda grass has taken up residence around many plants, especially ones with spray rather than drip.

In any case, I pulled and yanked until I felt a horrible electric shock ricochet from my elbow to my shoulder, after which my arm was useless. It’s been two and a half months, and I finally started getting PT from Tom, who specializes in shoulder injuries.  After a month of treatment, I can move the arm without using my other one to lift it. Then in October, I started experiencing knee pain.  I thought it was because I slept cramped in the back seat of a Mini Cooper for the last 3 weeks of the trip. But this was worse. On top of my knees aching to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed, my ankles, feet, wrists, fingers, and hands began to ache and swell.  I had hoped to finish my blog but couldn’t use the keyboard more than a few minutes.  I got scared.  I was diagnosed with diffuse systemic scleroderma in 2002, and have since lived in its shadow with the fear that it might flare up at any time.  Maybe this was the moment of reckoning. Blood tests showed elevated C reactive protein and sedimentation rate. After a month or so of steady regimen of supplements, the swelling in my hands went down, and my knees no longer ached.  I found out a few months later that I had breast cancer.  That started me on another chapter of my healing journey.


One response to “Insult to Injury

  1. Not only do you defy statistics, you redefine the power of will, belief and open-ness to possibilities, to help cope with the adversity of life’s difficulties, that we all face in our own ways. You are an example of what can I do to self empower? And how! You have been and continue to be, an inspiration of human ability and potential. Your fan,


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