Health issues and Attitude adjustment #1: The pity party is over

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Blog entry by Sandra posted 10-20-2012 03:19 AM 2019 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Health issues and Attitude adjustment series Part 2: Back in hospital- need a good laugh »

Was in Halifax this week for testing, and FINALLY it’s been confirmed that there is something serious going on with my nervous system.

Without going into mind-numbing detail, I’ve spent the past 18 months in a big cloud of uncertainty. I was hospitalized, initially diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, then that was tossed, hospitalized again, maybe MS? Not MS. Hospitalized again, more tests, more waiting. Back to work, off work again, etc etc etc.

I don’t have lupus, I don’t have MS, I’ve been tested more times for Lyme than I can count. I’ve had 6 MRIs. I don’t have syphilis!!!! (That one was funny) I don’t have moye moye disease, or sjorgren’s syndrome and a plethora of other things I didn’t even know I should be worried about. I’ve been poked, prodded, scanned, tapped, and x-rayed.

Since this all began, I’ve been gradually losing sensations in my feet. I now can’t sense hot or cold. They still work, I can still walk, I just have to be careful. In the past few months, my left hand started to bother me, and in Halifax I found out that I’m not sensing vibrations in that hand much at all.

I have a lot of neuropathic pain and crushing fatigue among other things. Prior to all of this, I was very healthy, running marathons.

Why am I posting this here? Because the silver lining is that I have discovered woodworking by being sick. When I’m in pain, I do not want to be around anyone but I can’t stand being idle. If I”m going to feel lousy, I might as well feel lousy and get something done. So I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garage. I can’t return to my job until this is all sorted out, so I’m home most of the time.

Finding out that my hands are now affected scared the crap out of me. I love making things with my hands. I always wanted to get into woodworking, and I’m learning that it’s now or possibly never.

Buying tools has been a blast, learning new skills has kept my mind occupied. I’ve always had a healthy respect for power tools, but now I have to factor in my fatigue among other things.

So now I wait for the specialist to interpret the tests and see where we go. The waiting is enough to drive me around the bend.

The trip to Halifax took a lot out of me, and I spent the last two days feeling rather sorry for myself. And then tonight I decided to get back out into the garage (maybe I’ll start to call it my shop?) and cut some MDF into strips to make a circular saw jig and the ink storage shelf I’d planned. It felt wonderful.

So a heartfelt thanks for giving a newby like me a place to come to ask for suggestions and learn without being told that I should eat more kale, go gluten-free, meditate, eat less kale etc etc….

This has been the best therapy yet.

Hmmmmm, I guess that was plenty of mind-numbing details.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

20 comments so far

View patron's profile


13650 posts in 3823 days

#1 posted 10-20-2012 03:30 AM

glad you have an interest going forward

that’s what it takes
keep the mind and body ocupied

i practice prono yoga myself
when things are confusing

lay down
close your eyes
clear your mind
and think of nothing

when you wake
you will feel better

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4169 days

#2 posted 10-20-2012 03:39 AM

I’m going through a lot of pain myself , but sounds like you got me beat .
Best wishes that they find out what is wrong and that there is a quick cure for you.
Woodworking is my escape as well.
God bless you : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3416 days

#3 posted 10-20-2012 03:40 AM

You are going through a lot…

Reading your story I wish I had a magic wand (:

I just want to wish you luck.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View thedude50's profile


3610 posts in 2959 days

#4 posted 10-20-2012 04:43 AM

Sandra I go through many ails my self and although I know what is wrong with me I know that I wont be getting better. I also know I am doing much better because of my devotion to my shop. I am very pleased with this believe me there are days I simply cant get enough done to warrant me doing woodworking for a living but I cant return to my Nursing job either. So I work hard and try to sell more goods new items in the store every day. If I can do it you can to because you only have to keep pace with what you can do.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View Jim55's profile


184 posts in 2548 days

#5 posted 10-20-2012 04:50 AM

Hello Sandra. I’m a disabled vet and have some health issues myself. But, I’m fortunate. My primary complaint is severe debilitating arthritis- crippling but, not life threatening. I spent years getting diagnosed and my condition confirmed. I remember the agonizing wait for test results to come in. I sympathize with you for I have at least some little understanding of what you’re going through.

I was a machinist and worked with my hands, usually 12 hours a day often 7 days a week. That is gone. But it lets me know perfectly the desire to do something with my hands, the desire to create something. I have always liked building and making things from wood but I do not call myself a woodworker- not yet. Maybe some day with the help of these folks.

I understand too the desire to tell somebody, anybody your hopes, dreads and fears. So don’t regret it. It is better to let it out rather than internalizing it.

I’m glad you have found some escape, relief, in something healthy and productive. Too many turn (intentionally or otherwise) to self destructive means of escape. Try to stay close to Family too. I wouldn’t be here, going forward with building my shop like I am w/out the full fledged support of my wife and kids. I am very fortunate to have them.

Good luck to you!

Hang in there, keep doing what you can as long as you can.

View indianwoodchipper's profile


12 posts in 2528 days

#6 posted 10-20-2012 04:51 AM

Hi Sandra. You sound like a strong person and will power through this. Keep the faith and hope the powertools drown all the negative thoughts and feelings. sending positive thoughts

-- With ambitions always far exceeding my skill

View a1Jim's profile


117713 posts in 4059 days

#7 posted 10-20-2012 05:20 AM

I’m so sorry to here of your health problems ,I hope they find out what your problem is and can help you back to good health very soon.
God bless

View DocSavage45's profile


8859 posts in 3324 days

#8 posted 10-20-2012 07:45 AM

Glad you are here! Keep your eyes wide open. Move slow. Savor the moment! Go where you have never been. Meditate on the wood! Did you see Phenomenon with John Travolta? Be one with the tree.

Above all be safe!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30428 posts in 2820 days

#9 posted 10-20-2012 10:05 AM

I am blessed. My main problems are simply being too heavy and too old. Your determination shows that you’re the kind of person I admire. I wish you the best and if there are any questions I can answer, please feel free to ask. This is my sanctuary as well.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2994 posts in 3919 days

#10 posted 10-20-2012 11:11 AM

Sandra, you’ve got the right attitude to get through this. I certainly wish you the best and we’ll all be praying for your recovery and for someone to find out exactly what’s causing this.

On another note: all those tests and 6 MRI’s. Anyone who says Canadian health care isn’t good must be missing something. I had one mri on a finger. one finger and it was $3400. Having a health care system that will do 6 of them for something larger is amazing.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2774 days

#11 posted 10-20-2012 12:15 PM

Congratulations on having the right attitude. Health issues can be a real challenge, and my experience has been that you are the only one who can find a way and the determination to fight through it—which you obviously have. My wife and I have a saying: “three steps forward and two back”. Just don’t loose your determination and sight of what you’ve learned. LJ s is a great source for inspiration and learning. Best wishes.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View kepy's profile


293 posts in 2755 days

#12 posted 10-20-2012 01:25 PM

I sympathize with what you are going through. Hang in there as they will surely figure it out. I went through something similar as they thought it was my heart so I’ve had every heart test imaginable including 3 hrs in the MRI machine. Turns out it was my lungs all along and as long as I keep on my inhalers, I am doing fine.

-- Kepy

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2557 days

#13 posted 10-20-2012 01:54 PM

Thanks everyone. I don’t have days like the last few very often. I’ll be working at posting a new project soon.


-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3567 days

#14 posted 10-20-2012 03:40 PM

Sorry to hear about the problems, but happy that woodworking is helping you cope with them. Will be waiting
for the next project, and hopefully good news. How do you know you do not want to buy the pink hammer,
did you pick it up and test it for balance and comfort? You never know about some tools or wood until you
check them out a bit. There is a lady electrician that has pink pliers, has not had as many tools grow legs
around the male workers since she chose pink. Have fun in the shop.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3172 days

#15 posted 10-21-2012 02:09 AM

Best of luck to you and always remember that the whole LJ community is here for you. Anything we can help with, just ask. I think a pink hammer would look fine (my daughter has a pink handgun in .357 mag).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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