Crochet and Chronic Pain

I've been absent, guys, and I'm sorry.

I keep hoping that tomorrow will be the day -- but after a month of tomorrows, I'm beginning to lose hope. See, here's the thing -- I have a disorder called Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). It's categorized as an autoimmune disorder, which means that my immune system attacks healthy cells because it thinks they are the enemy. In RA, the attacks focus on joints and the tissue surrounding the joints. Untreated, the continued attacks can lead to pain and swelling, loss of tissue, deformation around affected joints, and eventually, loss of motion.

I've been on a successful treatment plan for almost 10 years. It has been a really, REALLY good run. I have the occasional "flares" (an RA term for the attacks) -- but after a few days' rest, I am able to return to the activities I enjoy most.

This has not been the case with my most recent flare. I noticed the pain in my left index finger after completing my red amigurumi bear and did what I usually do. I put the hook down, treated myself to a new Kindle book, and spent a few nights reading instead of crocheting. I got through the book and my finger still hurt. But it was a short book, so I treated myself to another.

I've read four new books now.

I crochet because I need an outlet. It's a break from everything else in the world and it gives me a place to be creative. After four books, I really needed my outlet back, but didn't want to risk aggravating things with those tight amigurumi stitches. I picked up a scarf instead. Don't get me wrong -- I love how it turned out (so much that I started on another one)... but scarf maker I am not.

I have patterns and designs in my head that NEED to come out. There's a new freebie up there and a rabbit pattern that I have been wanted to tackle for months. The yarn sits ready in my craft room. And yet, today is not the day.

I have contacted my rheumatologist and am trying a course of ibuprofen and a topical medication. They take the pain away for a while, but as soon as they wear off, it's back. I have a feeling that I'm going to be scheduling an office visit as soon as the Little Miss is back in school.

So, now you know why I've been so quiet. I'll be back to blogging and stitching as soon as I have something to share, but for the time being, I guess I'm going to go back to making another scarf. It looks like everyone in my family is going to have warm necks this winter.

P.S. The scarf design is from a fellow Knit Picks Independent Designer. You can find it here.


  1. I too have had to leave the crochet behind due to arthritis in my hands. :( , but have been able to channel my creativity into soap making and most recently polymer clay.

    1. I used to love working with polymer clay, Kathy! I just checked out your Google+ and saw that adorable little hamburger key chain -- nice work! And thank you for the encouragement and the reminder that sometimes taking a break to do other crafts isn't such a bad thing :-)

  2. great blog you have here! love the cupcake you made, and thank you for sharing your adorable patterns!

    i know the feeling of not being able to crochet, and it stinks! i have issues with soreness - feels like it could be the early stages of ra (i'm 32). i'm seeing a chiropractor and it's helping. his explanation was something like if nerves are being pinched between the discs in your back, the pain will radiate throughout the body. so the weekly adjustments (and also stretching and simple deadlift exercises he recommended) are providing relief. he also recommends turmeric and boswellia complex to help the inflammation.

    hope you find some relief!

    1. Thank you, Kelli. I have heard of several natural ingredients that help -- in fact, my cousin (Ask.com RA expert) recently did a post on the benefits of olive oil on inflammation ==> http://arthritis.answers.com/diet/anti-inflammatory-properties-of-olive-oil

      I do like turmeric... might have to look up that bean salad I have that uses it!

  3. o boy my brother had ra in his knees and ankles. really caused a lot of suffering. im putting you on my prayer list

  4. I had to take a break from pattern designing and knitting, because of joint pain in my hands (most likely secondary to IBD, urg). I took the whole summer off, and I'm a little afraid to start back up. But I miss knitting, especially since it is getting cooler. I hope that you can quickly find a treatment plan to help!

    1. I've missed seeing your projects, Mama. I guess now I know why. I hope your re-start is as painless as possible!