Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A Year In Review

Another year is coming to an end. As I look back on 2008, I do so with ambivalence. I am not unhappy to see it go. It was a difficult year for me, in terms of health issues. In the first few months of the year I totally lost the ability to walk. I began having trouble taking care of my personal needs, such as dressing and bathing.

I was in constant pain. I could not get out of a regular chair and I could no longer get in and out of my bed. As a result, I spent my days and nights in an electrical reclining chair. It became impossible to get up and down the stairs. I could no longer leave my house.

The doctors were stymied. I saw a total of six neurologists. They could not agree on a diagnosis. There seemed to be no treatment, except painkillers, which I ate like candy. It was hinted that perhaps my symptoms were psychological. In May I entered Sunnybrook Hospital for a course of intravenous steroid treatments.

From there I was sent to West Park Healthcare Centre, a rehabilitation hospital. I still did not have a definite diagnosis. Things like MS, Lou Gehrig's and Guillain Barre Syndrome were thrown around as if they were just minor discomforts. It was frustrating! I spent many hours on the hospital's computer, looking for disorders that fit my symptoms. I no longer trusted the doctors, or their treatments.

I finally saw another neurologist at a large teaching hospital in downtown Toronto. This doctor finally diagnosed my condition as a rare auto-immune disorder. My body was identifying the nerve cells in my body as foreign invaders and killing them off!

I left West Park in much better spirits than I had been in for the first half of the year. I now had all sorts of gadgets to make my life easier - like a stairglide, a hospital bed and a scooter. Since then I have been exercising and trying to get my life back in order. I am getting stronger each day. The nerves in my back, legs and feet are growing back.

I am lucky to have a family that is understanding and helpful - a husband who looked after me and took over the housekeeping chores (cooking, cleaning, caring for our furry critters, the aquarium, my indoor plants and garden... the list is endless) during my illness - my friends who were there for me to talk to and of course, my fellow bloggers! You guys are the greatest! I get so much inspiration from reading everyone's blogs and from seeing your beautiful creations!

And when I have a problem, all I have to do is ask and someone is willing to help. Someone recently asked what I love most about blogging and I said it was the fact that the whole world fits into my computer and is only a keystroke away.

In a few more hours the new year will arrive. I am very postive about 2009. Things can only get better! I know I will regain my strength and ability to walk again. I have too much living left to do.

I wish everyone a Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!


Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Oh Hetty, I had no idea, you never complained or let on how much pain you were in, you are right it can only get better now, especially now that they know what it is, my prayers and thoughts will be with you, for a better and brighter 2009hugs

Anonymous said...

Dear me, you definitely did have a terrible 2008. I'm glad you didn't give up on trying to fine a proper dx. All to frequently, doctors are eager to jump on the "it's all in your head" dx. Here's to a new year of gaining back your strength.

LizzieJane said...

You poor dear, 2008 was not a nice year to you. My wish for you is that 2009 will be a wonderful one, you surely deserve it. Keeping you in my prayers.

Rachael Rabbit said...

Best wishes for 2009 - I'm glad to hear your positivity! Stay strong x

John said...

I hope you continue on the road to recovery in 2009. Best wishes for the new year!
P.S. I love the new look of your blog. It is much brighter and more cheerful.

ranke said...

Well Hetty, You will overcome. Waar een wil is is een weg. That looks nearly like English.
I went through your new blog and now I know how many quilters there are in this world. Thousands and thousands and more.But even though I am not a quilter, I love those blogs and I hope to finally find a way to publish this on your blog.
Wish me luck! I wish you strength and joy for the coming year.

Opal said...

best wishes for 2009, hetty. you're in my thoughts and i hope your health continues to improve.

i love the new look of your blog, btw!