One of the most common things I hear is that chronic illness is cruel. I totally agree with that statement, but it is always in reference to the major things, the things everyone knows about. To me, the cruelest things that it does to us, are the ones most people don’t even know exist, like the subject I chose for yesterdays post. It isn’t the symptoms, it’s more the side effects if you like, that normally quietly hurt us the most. As on top of all those horrors, they present to us in lists, are things that present themselves firstly and often only, to us. I had read a post from someone else about a week ago, sorry if it was you that wrote it, but I can’t remember who you are. Within that post, they had noted that their hands were looking aged. So I did what we all would, I looked at my own hands. To my horror, they looked as though they belong to someone at least 10 to 15 years older than I am. Normally, I wouldn’t look at my hands unless they were causing me pain or one of those odd sensations, that we all know about but have no reason. There they were, two aged hands, with skin that looked almost scaly and wrinkled, were there right in front of me. I held my left hand up to the light and there was no denial, it was the hand or an old woman and worse still, it was quite firmly attached to me. I pinched an inch of skin across the back of my hand, then let go, it did snap back to its normal position, instead, it sort of slowly morphed into the space it covered. My hands are old. Of course, that leads on to just one question, does that mean I am old? No, it doesn’t. Well, I don’t think I am, I recently turned 55, that isn’t old in my book.
It was about a year ago, that I first thought that I was heading into premature aging. There were odd things that I had noticed back then, not just the way I now walked, but there was the aura of age when I looked in the mirror. At the time, I wrote a post, which of course, I can’t find now. I had done some checking on the web and I had found that it seems to be a somewhat normal thing to happen to a lot of us who live with chronic illness. When I wrote that post, I was mainly writing about the fact that I felt that my life was that of someone so much older than myself. In fact, I felt that I was no better off than many people in their late 80’s and 90’s, so finding that my hands are doing their best to reach that age at speed, is distressing, but expected. Just because I am housebound doesn’t mean that I don’t care about how I look, I care now, just as much as I did when I was 30. But there are no two ways about it, my health, the medications I throw down my throat daily, are now taking their toll, and not just on my hands. The bulk of what I care to ignore is hidden beneath the loose clothing that I wear, but without feeling stupid and wearing both gloves and a balaclava, I can’t hide the rest. A lot of people would quite wrongly translate the fact that I don’t wear makeup as someone who has either given up, or is depressed. Well, I for one can say that that, is so far from the truth.
The facts are quite simple. I don’t have the energy to spend time in front of a mirror trying to draw lines under your eyes, with hands that shake so much, that that line would be a squiggle. My eyesight in my right eye is close to useless, so when it comes to eyeshadow, my right eye will look great, my left, so far from it that it was often quite comical. Being a perfectionist, if my make up was anything less, it meant that I just took it off again. There is only so many times you find yourself in that position before, you quite simply stop trying. It quite simply isn’t worth it. Not just because of what I have just told you, but I have so many things these days that I can’t do, being reminded of another one daily due to something as unimportant as makeup, is something I really don’t need. Just as I have given up cooking, not just for my own safety, but for everyone who lives in our block, doesn’t mean I’m depressed, nor does stopping wearing makeup. I wish I could get my mind around that odd connection between depression and makeup, that far too many people seem to have. If I’d given up, I wouldn’t cleanse and moisturise my face every day, in an attempt to hold off some parts of this horrid ageing process. To be honest, if I had the money and if I could find a plastic surgeon mad enough to give me an anaesthetic, I would without a doubt have the full range of operations available, to remove every sign of ageing there is.
Just because we are ill, doesn’t mean we don’t care, I care deeply, but what can I do about it? Nothing. If anything is depressing, it’s that. Seeing yourself slowly falling to pieces and turning into something you never thought you would see, would pull anyone down. It is, though, like everything else in our lives, we have to either learn to ignore it, or to live with it. I suppose that it isn’t really that surprising that this is happening now. My PRMS has stepped up a gear, I have less energy, in fact, I have less everything than I had just even a year ago, so to find I am ageing faster as well, should really be something I should have equally expected. I guess it’s like everything else, just because I was aware of the possibility, I had it marked down as something else that happened to other people. Well, we all have to have a little hope, but that hope has run out on this one as well. It would be really nice if just for once, that hope would win out. Chronic illness is cruel, but so can life be, it’s up to us, though, just how we are affected by that cruelty. I have got through so much that I doubt this is the one that going to get the better of me, old or not, my hands still work, well, sort of, and as long as they do what I need them to, I can turn a blind eye, to how they look, for now.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 05/05/2014 – That old issue of money
Once again my legs are really painful this morning, I woke as I often do for some reason with my right foot not in the bed, but on the ground. Why I keep doing this I don’t know, but I am now guessing that when I am asleep I somehow don’t have the strength to pull it back in under the covers, as often it is freezing cold and painful when I wake. It only started happening a couple of years ago, never in my life have I been aware of it before and I really don’t think that for some mad reason, my body has suddenly decided it’s a good place to put it. That might explain some of the pain in that leg, but it has no bearing on the other one, which was comfortably tucked up and warm all night. I have to admit the whole house is cold today, the temperature dropped suddenly on Thursday and since them, well there has been little improvement, I refuse to switch the heating back on, as it is now far enough into the year to not be spending…..
Great post!! So many people forget about the aging that # invisible Illiness & #chronicpain cause us. I’m going to be 55 in June & used to look in my 30’s or early 40’s. Now my skin don’t fit..lol. Thanks for reminding people what goes on inside & outside.
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It does sometimes feel as though we’re not to supposed to win anything. I like you looked young for my years. I try to remind myself that if I hadn’t, well I probably wouldn’t be with my husband, since he’s 17 years my junior. I tell myself, I had the good and it brought me the great. There is my win, and that one is with me for life. 😀
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AT 55 YOUR BODY STARTS TO FALL; EVEN THE HEALTHY. BEING ILL, MAKES IT 1000 TIMES WORSE.NAILS, HAIR, SKIN, LOOKS OLDER THAN IT IS. I DON’T RECOGNIZE THE PERSON IN MY MIRROR ANYMORE. SHE’S A GHOST OF THE PERSON I ONCE WAS.
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It some how seem so unfair, as if we don’t have enough to deal with.
Take care (((Hugs)))
THANK YOU. SORRY, I CAN’T COMMUNICATE MORE OFTEN. IT’S BEEN HELL…BUT I KNOW IT COULD BE WORSE; SO I’M GRATEFUL FOR ANY CHANCE I GET TO TALK TO YOU.
Sorry to hear things aren’t any better. Take it easy and I hope that you will be back with us soon on a more permanent bases (((Hugs)))