The Old Grey Mare ain’t what she used to be. That’s how I feel these days. Like an old grey mare. (and no comments from the peanut gallery, while I do colour my hair, my roots don’t have as many greys as you might think, so shush!)
It’s no secret that the beauty industry is physically demanding, and wearing upon our bodies. Complaints of carpal-tunnel syndrome, back issues and more plague most of us. For many, however, the issue is compounded by pre-existing conditions. Such as, arthritis.
Isn’t arthritis an old person’s disease? NOPE. In fact, there exists “Junior Arthritis”. It’s estimated by the CDC that 1 in 250 children under the age of 18 have arthritis or related rheumatological conditions (http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/childhood.htm). I was one of them, that went undiagnosed until the age of 21. For years I suffered with aches and pains and was emphatically told (by even my own doctor) that I was a hypochondriac. We now know that I have Raynaud’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis . Early on, I didn’t give it much mind except that it gave me a valid reason not to suffer outside in the winter, and to crank up the heat while everyone else complained that they were hot. I’ve never needed the weather network to forecast if it was going to rain or snow, my own built-in barometer made sure that I knew to get the umbrella out.
In recent months, my arthritis has kicked it up several notches. As in I have been diagnosed as being in “Athritic Crisis”. What does that mean? It means that not only are my hands and knees affected, but from my head to my toes. This includes arthritis in my jaw and in my feet. I have a Rheumatologist and she has been sending me for this test and the other, taking x-rays and referring me to a physiotherapist. She also suspects that I have Fibromyalgia (which I won’t address since it’s not yet confirmed) Recommendations are that I take medication to reduce inflammation, take up exercise and make changes to my diet.
I’m taking all their recommendations on board because yes, I’m in crisis. I can’t argue it because upon opening my eyes in the morning without even moving, I am in pain. Simple, daily tasks such as opening a jar, squeezing toothpaste, cutting cabbage in half, pulling a zipper up are difficult, painful and sometimes flat out impossible for me to manage. I have lost count the number of times I have enlisted the help of a family member or even my neighbor to do something that I couldn’t manage on my own. A couple of months ago, I removed pedicures from the service menu because I am simply incapable of tolerating the pain from performing the service. I am even frequenting nail tech boards/forums less often because the act of typing is painful.
I joined a gym. Whereupon I learned that all I can manage at this time is the treadmill. I did try a class. One class. Only 30min long. Umm hmm famous last words. I was crippled for a week and yelped any time I had to engage use of my thigh muscles to sit. Despite that I was incapable of doing half the routine! I started using the WII Sport/Fit that we have. That nasty, rude machine told me that I have a WII-FIT age of 60! If you didn’t know, I was born in ’71 so that makes me 45. Needless to say, the WII and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment.
Wait a minute. Back it up. What? You want me to go on a diet? I’m only 122lbs!!! We learn something new everyday. I have learned that salt and sugar also adversely affect inflammation. Houston, we have a problem! My entire life I have eaten what I wanted, when I wanted without a single thought. I enthusiastically enjoy 3-4 pots of coffee per day with 2 sugars and cream per cup PLUS about 1/2 bottle of coke per evening. Let’s not forget hard candy. I LOVE hard candy. Despite this, I refuse to be a victim and I am determined to be proactive because the alternative simply doesn’t suit me at all.
Enter the Dragon. Yes. I have become a fire-breathing dragon. I don’t suffer sugar & caffeine withdrawal very well. In fact, I’m downright horrible and impossible to live with. I have been forced – by the need for pain reduction – to reduce sugar in all areas of my kitchen. I’m not enjoying food very much at the moment. My family isn’t enjoying the Dragon. Oh well, sucks to be you. No one said that you had to live here.
I’m sharing this with you because if I seem to be a foodie these days, or I give the impression of being a health-nut; I’m not. I simply don’t want to be a victim to the disease anymore. I’m sharing this because I’m embarking upon a journey and I would like to record my progress. I’m sharing this because there are many nail techs, like myself, who suffer needlessly in silence – THERE ARE resources out there to help you. Lastly, I’m sharing this to raise awareness among clients/consumers.
When your nail tech asks you to relax your hand…. please do it. You can’t imagine the physical pain she suffers when she has to wrestle with your stiff hand, nor can you imagine how that is multiplied over several clients in one day. In one week. Let me assure you, it’s a lot of pain.
If you don’t relax your hand, and/or make her ask you repeatedly to do so, don’t act surprised when she goes Zena on you.