Sorry if this appears to ramble at points or if I forget to explain something. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a writer and it's hard for me to get the details in order sometimes.
As some of you already know, I've been dealing with arthritis for a few years now. I was told by my orthopedic doctor that the kind I have, psoriatic arthritis, attacks all the joints at once. But the rate that the joints erode depend on where the joints are and their size. So basically, small joints go first, starting at the tips of the toes and fingers. In my case, my (dominant) right hand appears to be the most affected. Though, this year, my left hand started showing symptoms as well. A couple years ago I had to get my first joint fusion in my right hand. This year, my doctor injected steroids into another joint of my right hand, in the hopes of stopping a flare up in it. But since the steroids didn't seem to work, it's probably too late to do anything except fuse it as well at this point. I'm seeing my doctor again later this week to discuss it some more. (Note: Joint fusions are only done on the end joints of digits. Other joints are replaced with artificial ones.)
There are usually medications people suffering from this form of arthritis can take. These meds, in one form or another, suppress the immune system to prevent it from attacking the body - causing the joint/organ deterioration. Due to other complications, I can't take these prescriptions. Unfortunately, this leaves me with few options. I'm currently testing out a remedy that scientists have been studying more lately - frankincense. Apparently it's been showing promising results as an anti-inflammatory, with none of the side effects that common medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen have with long term use.
Understand, as much as I may seem to share online, I'm a relatively private person. I'm only sharing this because I have a few people who've expressed an interest in me doing some artwork for them. They've been so very patient with me on this, and I'm so very grateful for that. At this point, it's safe to say, I'm not sure when/if I'll be able to get any of it done. It's just become too difficult to hold anything in my hands for extended periods. I have been planning out future projects. I'm an artist dammit. I will find a way to express that. During the short periods when I can work, I pick and choose projects that make me the happiest to work on.
Anyway, I'm going to wrap up this entry here. As I said above, if there are questions, feel free to ask and I'll answer the best I can. Thank you to those who've been so supportive. (Especially my family, and above all my partner. You are quite possibly the biggest reason I've been able to stay so optimistic. Thank you for helping when you can, not letting me feel guilty for needing it, and for giving me the space when I needed that as well. You are the best.)
ETA: If anyone can offer me suggestions on equipment, preferably digital (such as types of cameras), classes or any advice on how I might begin experimenting with photography, it would be greatly appreciated! This is beginning to look like one of the few artistic outlets I may be able to do for a while.