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Where do you find joy in life?

Happy throwback Thursday, to happier times, when I was still able-bodied! I was in my early twenties & this was at the park. I had given birth to two girls before getting sick. Well, before being diagnosed I should say! I’ve been sick most of my young life. It just wasn’t until later on that it became more readily apparent. I used to love the outdoors & grew up near a lake. I was always very adventurous & outdoorsy growing up. It was my refuge. Now I’ve been entirely cut off & rarely if ever venture out. I stay isolated in my dark bedroom with little to no stimulation. My only access to the outside world is an iPhone. Ever since getting it a couple years ago my hands became deformed from arthritis. I have swan neck deformaties in my right hand & dupuytren’s contracture in the left. My elbows stay permanently bent & I have ankylosis of the shoulders. I have visited many orthopedic surgeons & upper extremities specialists to no avail. I have lost so much range of motion & mobility from chronic widespread inflammation. I’ve been trying to seek an official diagnosis for Sarcoidosis on top of my other rare disease. It’s very disheartening. #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #ChronicFatigue #ChronicFatigueSyndrome #MyalgicEncephalomyelitis #Spoonie #CommonVariableImmuneDeficiency #Arthritis #ankylosis #Anxiety #Depression #Agoraphobia #BipolarDisorder #MentalHealth

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The Pain Passes

When Pierre August Renoir began to develop rheumatoid arthritis in 1892, he was concerned that it might prevent him from painting his beautiful impressionist canvases. He described the pain as unbearable, and his afflictions began to claim his legs, his right shoulder and both hands. He was one of the artists leading the Impressionist movement in Europe, and he had many paintings left to complete.

Then, in 1899, a product was marketed commercially for the first time, and Renoir managed to acquire a supply of it. The difference it made in his life was remarkable, he said.  He called it a miracle drug, and his joy of painting returned.  He painted for another 20 years, due to the relief this pharmaceutical offered him.

In 1907, he moved to a farm near the Mediterranean coast to take advantage of the climate, and continued to paint, in both oil and with pastels, although he had to adapt his technique due to the ankylosis that had seized his right shoulder.  He managed to grasp his brush between his fingers, but he fought the pain in every moment, and in every movement.

His contemporaries asked why he would continue when the act of painting caused him so much anguish.

He replied, "The pain passes; the beauty remains."  

And that miracle drug?  It was acetylsalicylic acid, better known as Aspirin.