Beauty from Ashes…

Turkish Spindle with a Merino/Silk
fiber being spun.
Life in a body which will not function as instructed is one of the primary reasons for Healing Fibers.  I live my life in a body that will not cooperate.  On a good day, I can maintain a semblance of a normal life… I get up, I eat extremely restricted foods, I work from home on Healing Fibers, helping my husband and going back to college, I enjoy my children, I take cancer treatments, I live the life I have and I then I head to my bed.  For me, this is a ‘normal’ day when I am doing well.  Going outside of the house can be tricky.  For the most part, I am capable as long as I have assistance, but even on a good day, going out always sets me back.  It requires at least a day of recovery and additional pain so I restrict my movement to whatever I can do to be there for my family. 

On a bad day…I can’t move without severe and mind-blinding pain.  If I am having a day like that, it is probably a Flare from the disease or a Herx which is basically the die-off of bacteria, causing my body to rise to the occasion and fight, which makes my immediate life a living hell.  If one has never dealt with pain on this magnitude, it will be difficult for them to grasp just what I mean by all this but for those of you who live a life much like mine, you understand in ways no one else ever can.

Any of you who have fought cancer, or any disease, probably knows this drill.  You know, the one where sometimes the cures can be worse than the disease.  As I sit on the edge of my bed, as I often do, wading through the black night one spasm at a time, it could be overwhelming.  Instead, for me, I reached over and picked up my tiny Turkish Spindle.  Being as it is tiny, it is a little easier to control when I am in this much pain and my muscles are on hiatus and taking a day off from actually moving.  Having taken double doses of everything, sipping a 'Sunrise' to trying to bump the woefully inadequate morphine on nights like this, and being all too aware these are the loneliness nights in my life, I begin to spin. 

I cannot guarantee that at this point my yarn is as consistent as I would like, although that is always my goal, it is most likely closer to the thick and thin variety.  I could be upset about this or I could acknowledge its individual beauty and the gift it gave me helping me make it through the night.

As many of you will probably agree, our families try to understand our pain.  Mine are always there for me.  I only have to chat or text one of my children to have them appear before me in the middle of the night as if they had been beamed into my room by Scottie.  They are always there but then the guilt saturates me for having to call.  There are very few in this world who understand the scene I just described.  Most of you will try to sympathize, and it is beautiful of you to try to understand and stand with your loved ones that are ill, but this is truly written for those who live this life.  You have to be someone who cannot control their pain levels, which spend every single day of their life in pain that medication cannot touch, someone who struggles with cancer treatments and yet tries to make the world believe nothing is really wrong or someone in the depths of depression who strives just to get up in the morning.  If you are one of ‘us’ then it is likely you truly understand what it means to need to use a management tool to deal with your pain.

One late night I designed this pearl case for my
daughter.  It started as a swatch for a piece of
lace and ended up a beautiful little bag by morning.
We need something to help us to bridge the gap between sanity and going insane from our illness.  There are many coping mechanisms available but for me, I choose fiber.  I like the idea of using my pain to create something beautiful.  I love the textile touch of using fiber.  The feel of different natural fibers as they flow between my fingers going from a chaotic mess to a well organize strand of yarn.  I love watching the transition as the over-twisted singles magically become balanced as I ply it back on itself with one or more lonely strands of yarn creating a masterpiece that will bring joy to someone.  For me, that is the perfect way to channel my pain and turn something unbearable into something beautiful.  Beauty from Ashes.

Well, I am going to lay down my pen and pick up my knitting as I push on through the treacherous night that lays before me.  If you are searching for a management tool to channel your struggle into something positive, try a little fiber in your life.  Even beginners can feel a sense of accomplishment that may be missing in your life as you fight your fight. S imply knitting a small dishcloth or potholder, or a sleeve for a cup of Starbucks.  It is not about the size, or if there are twisted stitches or If you purled where you should have knitted, it is about the triumph over your struggle…the knitting is just the added bonus!

Serenity in Fiber,

Originally published 6/6/15