(undoubtedly one of my favorite past time), I came across an amazing store called Mermaid's Dream. Take a moment and check out these beautiful handmade clutch purses! I reached out to the artist (Sherry), explaining what Loving with Chronic Illness was all about. I asked if she might be interested in offering one of her purses as a giveaway and, as it turns out, she has a very personal connection to the idea of living and loving with chronic illness. Sherry was diagnosed 15 years ago with Osteoarthritis. Before I explain more about this giveaway, please take a few moments and meet Sherry...
I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis 15 years years ago at age 41. I started to suffer severe pain in my knee, which led to surgery on my knee. The cartilage was diseased from arthritis and most of it was removed. I was then diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
What would you tell someone who has been newly diagnosed with your condition and/or a chronic illness in general?
The best advice I could offer someone is to keep busy.......keep moving. I try to get out for a walk every day. I love the feel of the sunshine on my face. The combination of exercise and sunshine helps keep my serotonin levels up, which is a very important part of maintaining a sense of well being. A positive attitude is key, and of course so is maintaining your sense of humor. My sense of humor has taken me a long way through this journey.
Please explain a bit how your condition affects you.
The biggest adjustment is not being able to do things like I used to. Running, gardening and being able to go, go, go all day are things of the past. The steady pain in my joints makes it difficult for me to do things I once took for granted. I've learned that, if I need to lift or move something heavy, I have to ask for help. If I try to do it myself, I'm sure to pay a steep price. Learning to ask for help has been difficult, since I've always thought if I need something done, I'll do it myself! I've come to accept the fact that sometimes I need help, and I've learned to ask for it (but I still don't like to). Over the years the pain has grown worse and the arthritis is not only in my knees, but also in my feet, hips, back and hands. Some days are not too bad, other days...well, let's just say I cope.
I draw a lot of strength from my inner self. Keeping my situation in perspective is a big help. While I suffer chronic pain, I keep in mind that many people cope with chronic conditions much worse than mine. I can still get around, work and live a full live...many people can't.
What are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of my resilience, not only in terms of the chronic pain, but I've also had to deal with mental pain that various difficulties in life have caused me. Prayer, sunshine and laughter all help me tremendously
What are three things you couldn't live without?
A few months ago my dog would have topped my can't live without list. She has since passed and I'm still here. There are times when the pain of losing her far surpasses my arthritic pain. So the three things I couldn't live without would be my children,my husband and my sense of humor.
If you could send one message to medical professionals around the world, what would it be?
The one thing I'd say to medical professionals is listen! Have some patience and truly listen to what people are saying to you. Chronic pain is a very difficult thing to live with and sometimes it's very difficult to explain. There are situations that may not be "textbook", but believe me - when someone tells you they're in pain, they mean it.
Now...how beautiful are these purses?
For entry #2: Head on over to Sherry's Etsy shop, take a look around, and leave a comment on this post telling me which purse you'd choose if you were to win. Would you give it to someone as a gift or treat yourself? Where would you go with it?
You may enter this giveaway until 11:59pm on August 28th (2 weeks from today). A winner will be chosen at random and announced on this blog the following day. As always, thanks for reading, feel well, and GOOD LUCK!