Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Saturday, May 1, 2010


I hurt.  I think most people with Sjogren's Syndrome, all people with Fibromyalgia, and many people with and without chronic illness could relate to that.  I have one of those bodies that if you touch me anywhere, I hurt.  I get tendonitis very easily, then it takes months to go away.  I have often said that I would like to go to a body shop and get a new body.  My husband said he would like to come with me to help pick it out.

Currently, I have Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot, which I have had for about 10 months now.  I have tendonitis in my right elbow, which started 6 months ago, when we started pack and lugging boxes for our move, which was in January.  I have had pain in my right knee off and on for a month, which for the past 2 days has hurt whenever I move it or put weight on it.  Last night at Temple I started feeling sorry for myself.  I had a dilemma:  During the service, there are several times when we have to stand up or sit down.  I thought of using my hands to ease myself up or down to help my knee, but that would hurt my arm.  I finally figured out a way to use my left hand, and put most of my weight on my left foot.  Awkward, but doable.

The Social Action Committee of our temple talked about some of the projects they are involved in.  It got me thinking:   I may have pain, fatigue and other symptoms, but I also have a safe and comfortable home, enough food and other necessities, a job, and a family that loves me and helps me.  I went to a workshop on stress a few years ago, and the main thing I remember from it was the instructor telling us to say to our selves, "At least I'm not..." and find 3 things with which to fill in the blank. That really helps to put things in perspective. 

Helping other people helps you as well as them.  Donating money or other goods helps, but actually doing something helps more.  It doesn't have to be anything big. I like doing Random Acts of Kindness, such as complement a stranger on something they are wearing, or pull out a shopping cart and give it to the person who came into the store behind me.

I went to a new PCP (primary care physician) on Thursday.  He told me to always wear an insert in my shoe to support my foot, and to wear braces on my elbow and knee.  (My elbow and knee should have really nice smiles after this.) I already had these things from previous attempts to heal body parts. I pulled them out and put them on this morning.   They are blatant reminders that I have several body parts that are out of whack.  So once again, I was feeling sorry for myself.

We like to go to our Temple's Saturday morning Torah study class.  Before the class is a short service, which is always mostly singing.  I love to sing.  I don't have the best voice, but it isn't the worst voice either.  I don't care.  I sing because it feels good.  I have often heard people say, "You don't want me to sing, everyone would run out of here screaming",  (or variations on that theme).  Nonsense.  Unless you are in a performing choir, singing isn't about how it sounds It is about how it feels.  As my husband said, "When you get a room full of people singing off key, it sounds pretty good."  Children often sing, and no matter how it sounds, it makes us smile.  Worship in most religions throughout history has included singing.  I heard somewhere (though I can't remember where) that singing releases endorphins, the same 'feel good' chemical that our bodies release with exercise. When I am down, I like to put on a cd that is so familiar that I can sing every line.  It always turns me around.  This service did, too. 

The message of this post is to go out and sing while you commit Random Acts of Kindness.  Or you can do them separately, and spread out your 'feel good' activities. 

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