May 2018, ink on paper
After living with chronic, unexplained hand, jaw, chest, and foot pain for nearly five years, I was finally diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in September 2017. I was put on Methotrexate for a period of 28 weeks and nothing. So that was another seven months of pain.
In March 2018 I was put on Enbrel, an at-home injection, and it provided almost immediate relief. (Working up the courage to stick
A few months in, I finally felt good enough to draw - something I hadn't been able to enjoy for years, which was torture. (The pain in my jaw and chest and feet were terrible, but the hand pain was first, and worst, and the most upsetting - it took so many things away from me... the ability to hold things, carry things, shake hands, hold hands, make the bed, pick up my nephews, pick up my cats, tie up my hair, open a door, hold a pencil, hold a paintbrush, etc. etc. etc.)
The first thing I drew once I felt better was this series: A celebration of my
Scroll down, click on an image to enlarge it, and then keep clicking through to view the entire series.
A note for those of you with chronic pain: I began sharing this series on Instagram and was overwhelmed by the positive response, particularly from strangers with different autoimmune diseases who found me through a variety of health-related hashtags. It made me feel less alone. It made them feel less alone. Chronic pain can be extremely isolating, especially if you don't know what's wrong. You can feel like you're going crazy. That it's all in your head. That you're exaggerating the discomfort. That you could feel better if you just tried.
If you're living with chronic pain, you are not alone. If you are undiagnosed, don't stop fighting and researching and talking with people and meeting with doctors until you find the cause. Don't stop trying medications if a few don't work. Rheumatological illnesses can be hard to diagnose and it can take time to find meds that will work for you. Always be an advocate for your health, both physical and mental! You are not alone!