I'm not able to garden the way I used to - not in time spent, or even being in the right space mentally.
I remember clearly how it felt; I would leap out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and head outdoors.
It might be lunch time when I came back in the house.
Now, I'm lucky to be able to spend a few minutes wandering around the now overgrown garden and see what's survived. I am in awe that some of the plants I chose all those years ago are thriving, even through the droughts of 2015.
I was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in 2010 after years of experiencing some extremely weird and scary symptoms. However, I refuse to be defined by my illness.
MS is the gift that keeps on giving; you never know from one day to the next what form it will take.
It might be dizziness and vertigo.
Or weakness in one side of your body, hands included.
Numbness of hands and/or feet...
Fortunately, it hasn't affected my imagination. I can still come up with some of my trademark funky crafts, although I'm somewhat slower to put them into production and write about them.
Over the past several years, I've come to the conclusion that I'm a lot like water; the force of water is one of the strongest in nature, and can change the landscape dramatically by simply dripping on a stone, with determination.
Just think what I could achieve with periodic floods, continual annual spring freshets and persistence.
I may not have the dogged attitude of times past, not quitting unless I was totally wrung out and just physically couldn't do any more; now I ration my energy and choose my battles.
Learning how to use voice recognition software is a task to tackle in the next little while, just so I can continue to write - I've been prolific, as my websites show, but I'm determined to carry on making my voice heard.
Just so you know, this whole page was typed with two fingers. Gone are the days of 60 words a minute touch typing.
Update; it's April 2017, and things are looking up. The benefit of having a cyclical and seasonal topic for my websites (gardens) means that I often have a bit of time to do other things during the winter.
Fortuitously, I came across some information about thyroid issues - that's one thing I was told I have when I was going through the process of finding out what on earth was wrong with me - seven years ago.
At that time, a rheumatologist who I saw mentioned in passing that I had Hashimotos Thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition where the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed by antibodies.
There is no cure, I was told, but you can take synthetic hormone for the rest of your life, and that's all you need.
In my research this winter, I came across some mention of Hashimotos Thyroiditis as the first step in a long process where it wakes up the immune system, and can cause other systems to also start failing - resulting in MS, Lupus and other autoimmunity.
Now I'm realizing that the Hashimotos came first, then the MS.
The root cause of this kind of autoimmunity can range from toxins in the environment, excess stress, leaky gut and several others.
The result of all this?
I'm working on detoxing from my years of being exposed to pesticides and other harmful environmental pollutants, learning how to de-stress, and eating an Auto Immune Protocol Paleo diet.
My journey isn't over yet.